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The Pequod
Dr Alistair Brown
Associate lecturer in English Literature; researching video games and literature

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Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more


Pass Over

Somehow it seemed out of place, a piece
Of driftwood, snagged on the bank by the new Spring weed,
Plumb-line dead between the two grey towers.
Rotten ringed, it should have glided past
Buoyant on the Wear's grey sliding mass.
It seemed anachronistic, sea-bound waste
Seen against that monumental mass
Of mortar, stone and earth Millennium dry.
Perhaps that explains why
I lay on my back and levered it away
With a long left leg. Off it span slowly about
Its thick, lump end. I watched it pass away
As long as the current would carry it which was,
I knew, beyond the Cathedral hugging curve
Where the weir fractured flow and only lumps,
Of polystyrene, bobbing light,
Would float over, and pass away.

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Your Comments on "Pass Over"

Name: De Waal Venter    Website: http://bit.ly/poeson    Date: March 27, 2010

Comment: Hello Ishmael,
I like your poem: N listening to Queen\'s song on the radio, washing dishes, and his (her?) thoughts take their own course. The strength of the poem lies in die metaphor of a word taking the shape of a tank shell and smashing into \"them\". The poem suggests that this word is \"death\". One infers that the war images are invoked in part by this section of the Radio Ga-Ga lyrics:

\"You gave them all those old time stars Through wars of worlds -- invaded by Mars\"

The poem falters a bit towards the end where \"full-stop shells\" and question marks are introduced. The metaphor is being overworked a trifle here, I think. Another problem I see here, is that the reader is uncertain at whom all this aggression is aimed - academia? fellow poets? the broad populace? Perhaps a rewrite should rectify these points. Although the poem is rounded off nicely by N coming out of his reverie and finding his hands full of suds, it is a bit of a let-down. In my opinion the poem\'s strongest point is the the word \"death\" being hurled into the \"midst of the \"enemy\". It would be gratifying if the poem could end at a dramatic high point like that.

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This page was published on June 15, 2008 | Keywords: wood, river, Cathedral, poem

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