Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 3: The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart

Gabrielle Calvocoressi's book contains three long poems: The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, From the Adult Drive-In, and Circus Fire, 1944. The Earhart poem is split into sections, each from the voice of a different character commenting on the last time they saw Amelia Earhart, including a mechanic, miner, stepson, husband, and Susan James, a high-school teacher. The combination of the voices tells a personal tale of Earhart's life and disappearance, depicting her as both an absence and a symbol of hope. The poems consider the absence of a person when she is still there, and the presence of a person when she is gone. Several of the poems focus on children and their concept of absence closely tied with escape. In the seventh section of the poem "Joel Sullivan, miner" the miner speaks of his daughter:

She won't believe that woman's dead.
She says, I think it's romantic

to disappear.
I bite my tongue

My favorite section is the narration by the high-school teacher who wants her students to see Amelia Earhart fly, to see her wave at them. You do not need to be a regular fan of historical poetry to enjoy this piece.

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