Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review of "Hagar in the Wilderness" by Tyehimba Jess

"Hagar in the Wilderness" by Tyehimba Jess, a teacher at the College of Staten Island, was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on December 26, 2013.  A link to the poem, including the poet's notes, may be found here:

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23816?utm_source=PAD%3A+Hagar+in+the+Wilderness+by+Tyehimba+Jess&utm_campaign=poemaday_122613&utm_medium=email

"Hagar in the Wilderness" is an ekphrastic poem after a marble statue (pictured) carved by Edmonia Lewis (1845 - 1907) in 1875.  Lewis was an African/Native American expatriate sculptor who lived and worked in Rome.  More information about Lewis may be found here:

http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/online/lewis/lewisbio.html

There are two "gods" or "creators" in this poem.  There is God, who created the real-life Hagar and her destiny, and there is Lewis who created the marble statue of Hagar.  As an African/Native American expatriate, Lewis was in a certain sense an outcast just like the subject of her sculpture.


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