I speak down in the long blood
Katy Didden on the “Great Distance” Poems of Marianne Moore, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Layli Long Soldier
Say how it is, to be named?
I could always hold the longest underwater
by Zach Savich | Contributing Writer
Probably the first thing to say about this “poem” is that I didn’t write it. All the words here belong to Kurt Waldheim, the former Secretary General of the United Nations who was later discovered to have been, also, a former SS officer in Hitler’s Germany. (So if you don’t like the writing here, blame Waldheim, not me). I composed this text by deleting words from Waldheim’s memoir, In the Eye of the Storm, and closing up the spaces left by my “erasure.” Then I took the liberty of visually arranging the resulting word-sequences into the “step-down” tercets that William Carlos Williams used for his poetic sequence on the underworld, but I didn’t rearrange the order of words in Waldheim’s original text. The second thing to say, I think, would be that this is an excerpt from a longer passage in my book, Voyager, that depicts Waldheim’s imaginary descent into the underworld. I was trying to find a story under the surface of the story—about the United Nations and Cold War geopolitics—that Waldheim tells in his memoir. …