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Michael Ondaatje$
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Lee Spinks

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719066320

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719066320.001.0001

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The Early Poems

The Early Poems

Chapter:
(p.20) 2 The Early Poems
Source:
Michael Ondaatje
Author(s):

Lee Spinks

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719066320.003.0002

This chapter explores Ondaatje's first four published books, which were volumes of poetry. The first, The Dainty Monsters, features tension between the evident stability of established cultural norms and values and the arrival of a ‘monstrous’ and destructive force found beneath the surface of things. This volume demonstrates that Ondaatje's early works are placed at the border between the inhuman and human worlds. The discussion then turns to Peter, which is concerned with domination and the dialectic of enlightenment, and the man with seven toes, a poem that accords with Ondaatje's conception of the unmediated power of the ‘point-blank’ narrative.

Keywords:   early poems, Dainty Monsters, cultural norms, destructive force, inhuman worlds, domination, dialectic of enlightenment, Peter, seven toes, point-blank narrative

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