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The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein by Lichtenstein

Produced by Michael Pullen

The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein

(a critique by Lichtenstein himself)

I

Because I believe that many do not understand the verse of Lichtenstein, do not correctly understand, do not clearly understand--

II

The first eighty poems are lyric. In the usual sense. They are not much different from poetry that praises gardens. The content is the distress of love, death, universal longing. The impulse to formulate them in the "cynical" vein (like cabaret songs) may, for example, might have arisen from the wish to feel superior. Most of the eighty poems are insignificant. They were not presented to the public. All except one (one of the last) That is:

I want to bury myself in the night, Naked and shy. And to wrap darknesses around my limbs And warm luster. I want to wander far behind the hills of the earth. Deep beyond the gliding oceans. Past the singing winds. There I'll meet the silent stars. They carry space through time. And live at the death of being. And among them are gray, Isolated things. Faded movement Of worlds long decayed. Lost sound. Who can know that. My blind dream watches far from earthly wishes.

III

The following poems can be divided into three groups. One combines fantastic, half-playful images: The Sad Man, Rubbers, Capriccio, The Patent-Leather Shoe, A Barkeeper's Coarse Complaint. (First appeared in Aktion, in Simplicissimus, in March, Pan and elsewhere). Pleasure in what is purely artistic is unmistakable.

Examples: The Athlete: in the background is a demonstration of a view of the world. The Athlete... means that it is terrible that a man must also intellectually move his bowels.--Rubbers: a man wearing rubbers is different without them.

IV

The earliest poetry forms a second group:

Twilight

The intention is to eliminate the difference between time and space in favor of the idea of poetry. The poems want to represent the effect of twilight on the landscape.

In this case the unity of time is necessary to a certain degree. The unity of space is not required, therefore not observed. In twelve lines the twilight is represented on a pond, tree, field, somewhere... its effect on the appearance of a young man, a wind, a sky, two cripples, a poet, a horse, a lady, a man, a young boy, a woman, a clown, a baby-carriage, some dogs is represented visually. (The expression is poor, but I can find nothing better)


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