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March 16, 1969 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-03-16

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Sbunday, March 6, ITE969 THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Pag

Poetryo
h ysterectomy
By ELIZABETH WISSMAN
Love Poems, by Anne Sexton. Houghton Mifflin Company,
$1.95.
It's no one's fault-perhaps it's even Jane Austen's overwhelm-
ing virtue. But somehow, the prime-the only-creative faculty asso-
ciated with literary women is "Sensibility." The male poet is drunk
with his inspiration; the female is a "little tippler" (in the words of
Emily Dickinson.) Like any esthetic categorization, this one destroys
as ipuch as it describes: the" brawling Bronte sisters, forI instance,
and Sappho, that beautiful butch.
With all its falsification, the Victorian framework remains, and
its constraints are nowhere more evident than in the work of those
who battle their confinement. The so-called "Scribbling Women" of
nineteenth century America fought back with Gothic fantasies, but
their melodramas too often confused the sanguine with the saccharine.
Sexton's latest volume, Love Poems, follows her Pulitzer Prize
winning effort, Live or Die. Her development has been towards a
rigorous control of the .delirium which characterized To Bedlam and
Part Way Back, finding containment within .a rich, if somewhat
pathological, tenderness. In her most recent collection, the emotion is
all the more intense for its inwardness: the soft belly of the poem
enfolded beneath the stinging, porcupine circle of her diction. "Catch
me. I'm your disease,' is Sexton's Epithalamion.1
The major effort in Love Poems seems to be to find a visceral
formula which will stand for the full experience of love. The passion
is given an "artifical" context, since the poetry is filtered through
a characterization; this drama perhaps helping to liberate the speech
from any last fears for feminine decorum. Singing of masturbation
and hysterectomy, Sexton attaches her metrics to the life-rhythms of
copulation and gestation. At times, the naked reference is forced,
and the Natural metaphor too faciles:
... My one dozen rozes are dead.
' They have ceased to menstruate.
But there are dther moments, happily more often, when the
anxiety to be audacious gives way to real wit: "even a notary would
notarize our bed."
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Today's Writers **
STUART GANNES, a Daily
night editor and junior in the
literary college, published a
long piece on Eldridge Cleaver
on the Daily's magazine page
last' year.
ELIZABETH W I S S M AN,
known byI some for her own
"hysterical meta-sensability,"
is currently a teaching fellow
in the English department.
WALTER SHAPIRO is a fre-
quent contributor to Books. A
senior majoring in history, he
amuses himself (antl some of
his readers) by commenting on
the political scene.

The
By STUART GANNES
Eldridge Cleaver, by Eldridge Cl
dom House, $5.95.
Eldridge Cleaver's essays are fun t
they have to be swallowed with ai
For anyone who has read Soul on
er's first book - or for those ril
buoyount and obscene jargon, his /I(
word "pig" (to identify members
power structure), his sincere indig
racist society, and his utter human
society which deprives blacks of their
alienates all people from true hu
Cleaver's essays offer and experier
hard to forget.
Cleaver's writing style captures
before you can put up a solid resista
ons are so unreal that you have to sr
something indescribably amusing a
whdn he challenges "Mickey Mouse'
ald Reagan) to a duel to the death a;
the choice of weapons.
Unfortunately, Cleaver's rhetoric
ing as it is beautiful - for when h
forecasting violent confrontations wi
in order to "create conditions so tha
the power structure will be force
more and more repressive in order
their exploitation;" his rhetoric iso
Last year, Nat Hentoff posed a
question to Cleaver: "You seem to0
tween revolutionary violence and
the possibility of social reform with
Which is it going' to be?" Cleave:
quately answers the question in all of
These essays offer sincere and rea
to our present society. Cleaver sees
alienation of blacks and the raci:
toward them as a manifestation of a
problem, a disease which can only b
radical transformation of society -
a society based on "cooperation -
tition," where people will no longe
"mindless substitution of the rat
humane life . . . Only then will p
capable of relating to other people
of individual merit, rather than on
stature, property and wealth."
Cleaver writes: "IThat I'm saying i
one needs a new understanding of]
ture, mental and physical. OnlyZ
black and white, start seeing the
acting as total individuals, with bodie
will they stop assigning exclusive
to one set of people and exclusive ph:
another."
Social criticism is only one aspect
writing. He also speaks of violent c(
with white and black radicals confron
power structure" on the streets. A
strange that, as Robert Scheer note
troduction to the book:' "The med
have madd so much of his, name -
ignored his ideas."
It seems that the only thing th
interested in was his revolutionary
not his social analysis. Cleaver becan
in the image he had created - he
by his own rhetoric. People saw hi
" dog bent on creating a race war
ignored his constructive criticism o
Eventually, Cleaver drifted into mE

consequences
which only policemen, J. Edgar Hoover, and
HUAC could believe. He wrote: "The violent phase
eaver. Ran- of the black liberation struggle is here, and it
will spread. From that shot (the shot which
killed Martin Luther King), from that b1o o d,
o read - but America will be painted red. Dead bodies will lit-
pillar of salt. ter the streets and the scenes will be reminiscieqt
Ice - Cleav- of the disgusting, terrifying, nightmarish news
tited to his reports coming out of Algeria during the height
oining of the of the general violence right before the final
of the white breakdown of the French regime."
ation at our Julius Lester, a black author, noted how
ity toward a Cleaver was typecast into his destructive image
identity and when he wrote: "To become a public personality
aman values, in Western society is to become a prisoner of a
nce which is media-created image. Revolutionary conscious-
ness is lost and is replaced by a cult of the per-
your fancy sonality which in itself is cut off from the people,
nce. His put- the people it needs to become a legitimate'power."
mile. There is Once Cleaver and the Black Panther Party
bout Cleaver were locked into a "pig-defying" image by the
" (Gov. Ron- media, some of the pigs in Oakland decided to
nd offers him try out the credibility of these announced revolu-
tionaries. At first the Panthers tried to take the
is as damag- .police head-on - they had become so imbibed
i as amag- with their own (Cleaver's) rhetoric that t h e y
ith the police actually believed they could take on the police.
it the pigs of The results were disastrous. Young Panthers on
d to become both coasts were harassed by the police until
d to continue violent confrontations were inevitable. Although
deadly. the Panthers decided to avoid shoot-outs with the
dn important police, they happened nevertheless. Panthers
Lirant e- died in these shoot-outs - fighting for a revolu-
alternate be- tion of rhetoric.
out violence The sympathy which Cleaver expected as a
r never ade- result of police repression came in' part, but it
f his essays. has been more than offset by a massive white
l alternatives reaction in favor of the forces of law and order.
the current Even more humilitating, the black masses across
sm exhibited the nation remained generally apathetic to the
much larger Panther's cause. For all their publicity among the
)e cured by a media, the Panther's notoriety was limited to
-structuring college campuses and white middle-class neigh-
not compe- borhoods. Most poor blacks outside of California
er practice a had never heard of Cleaver, let alone the
-race for a Panthers.
eople become Was Cleaver so drunk that he didn't realize
on the basis what was happening? I think not. The New Repub-
the basis of lic reports Cleaver saying last summer, "We know
who has the most guns. We can't win that game.
s that every- We want to talk, we want to communicate."
his total na- But, the article continues, "The majority (of
when people, white people) seem to agree that white reaction
emselves and to the Panthers and Cleaver is hung up on words
es and minds, -militancy, violence, revolution, black. Even the
mental roles obscenities. People are so involved with the lan-
ysical roles to guage they ignore what is being said."
These essays are perhaps the final denounce-
of Cleaver's ment of the dazling, frustrating, and bewildering
onfrontations twelve months since Soul on Ice appeared on the
iting the "pig streets last spring.
Mnd it seems When you read these essays, you feel Cleaver's
es in his in- intense humanism, you identify with his struggles,
ia - which and you admire his literary talent. But in the
have largely final analysis, you are forced to reject as obscene
the same obscenities and revolutionary rhetoric
e media was which first appealed to you when you realize that
rhetoric - innocent young blacks have died futile deaths in
ne caught up their attempts to emulate the rhetoric which
was trapped Cleaver never believed in himself. The rhetoric
m as a mad which probably has caused the black power move-
while they ment as a whole to take a painful side-step from
f society, their goals at a moment when time can not be
aking threats spared.

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the Michigan's Men's Glee Club in
White Tie and Tails
Saturday, March 29, 8:30 at Hill

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INTERFRATERNITY COUNCIL
SUPPORTS the following Candidates for President and Vice-President of STUDENT GOV-
ERNMENT COUNCIL feeling their assets are:
* Representative of a wide range of campus viewpoints
* Capable of effecting harmony in SGC
* Competent and experienced in Student-Faculty-Administration relations
I Innovative and receptive to individual student welfare

~i1

1f

or o t t.an Frost-
By WALTER SHAPIRO
A New Foreign Policy for the United States, by Hans a
Morgenthau. Frederick A. Praeger, $6.95.
It is rather unfair to review a b'ook by an orthodox politi
scientist in the emotional wake of Joan Baez's visit to Ann A
last Thursday.
She and her husband, David Harris, each with a distinct b
deeply haunting way of speaking, brushed aside the comnplexities
politics and continually returned to the simple, but basic, concept
the sanctity of human life.
Like Joan Baez, Hans Morgenthau was an early opponent
the Vietnam War and a fixture on the teach-in circuit throught
1965. Yet as a man who views the world in terms of balances of pov
and national interests, Morgenthau's opposition to the war (ste
from pragmatism rather than moral outrage.
The initial problem with Morgenthau's latest book is that
title is somewhat deceptive. For the University of Chicago the profe
sor is offering not a new foreign policy, but rather the latest inodi
cation of standard Cold War theories in light of the end of monoliti
Communism and a recognition of the follies of Vietnam.
In order to formiulate a new foreign policy one must return
such seemingly simple questions as precisely what do we want,. X
what means we are willing to employ to obtain it. Morgenthau d
not really attempt to define our national interests until the last f
pages of his book and even here the discussion is sketchy at best.
Morgenthau sees America with one primary external natlo
interest, "the security of its territory and institutions." He also poE
that "the United States has a number of secondary interests" rang
from altruisitic ends to "the containment of Communist govermnpe
and movements."
Morgenthau's approach, is typified when he states that th
secondary interests "can be pursued only within the rather narr
limits of available wisdom and ipower."
Returning to what I believe is the highly relevant perspect:
of Joan Baez reveals that this schema lacks any expressed conc
over the loss of human lives in pursuit of those "secondary interest
which are unrelated to our national security.
Disembodied nations, rather than human lives, comprise M
genthau's international system. This view almost suggests that natic
pursue national interests without regard to any possible bepefi
because the system is there and such competitive behavior is expect
This peculiar level of abstraction concerning international affa
ocasionally leads Morgenthau to some rather callous observations
For instance, in the midst of an otherwise excellent discussi
of nuclear war, Morgenthau notes, "The alternative of conventior
war . . . seems to assure the nations concerned a chance both
survive and to pursue their national objectives."
And at another juncture Morgenthau comments, "Thus the
is a certain logic on the side of that small group of Americans w
are convinced that war between the United States andhChina
inevitable and that the earlier it comes, the better will be the hane
for the United States to win it."
While "practical judgement" induces Morgenthau to reject t
last alternative, even his consideration of it makes Joseph E. Levi
movies a far more fruitful-sources for any new foreign policy ide
one might need.
"When I'm elected we won't have any more wars, because
won't have any more foreign policy," Max Frost, the 24 year
Presidential candidate promised in last year's satiric film, Wild
the Streets.
Despite these criticisms, there are large portions of this bo
which are highly perceptive, if not shockingly original. One of t
most thoughtful of these parts is Morgenthau's discussion of t
lessons of Vietnam.
Too often in articles and symposia on the lessons of the w:
public, officials and political scientists suggest that all they ha
learned from this continuing debacle is that in the future we ma
not unilaterally intervene in Asian countries beginning with t
letter "V.
-5

1
I

MI LLER-Rosenbaum

NELSON-Livingston

I'L*i

a

the inimitable

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for
COURSE
EVALUATION!

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