Black Laurel

Document
Description

Black Laurel is a book-length manuscript which has at its center poems that reveal and explore issues related to Michele Poulos's identity as a Greek-American writer, discovering the connections that

Black Laurel is a book-length manuscript which has at its center poems that reveal and explore issues related to Michele Poulos's identity as a Greek-American writer, discovering the connections that link the past and present of both Greece and America. These poems often work as a quest to recover identity. They explore the idea that it is her own privileged perspective as an educated Greek-American woman that both allows and in some ways prevents her seeing herself in the Greeks who today are struggling economically, emotionally, and psychologically. Many of the poems work to achieve a complex understanding of both an individual as well as a broader cultural history. These poems sometimes take on the personas of striking figures from other times and other landscapes, while others draw on materials which are somewhat more autobiographical. In one poem titled "Before My Mother Set Herself on Fire," the speaker is an imagined daughter in a modern-day Greek family. The poem, inspired by a news story about an elderly man who shot himself in the head in front of Syntagma Square in Athens to protest the austerity measures imposed on the Greek population, explores the various ways in which a national crisis may affect an individual family. Alternatively, Poulos delves into her personal family history in "When the Wind Falls," a poem about the Nazi invasions of northern Greece. At the same time, this focus on past and present Greece is only one strand in a wide-ranging manuscript woven of materials which also include a variety of subjects related to science, history, eroticism, mysticism, and much more.