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Tradition, Translation, TraumaThe Classic and the Modern$
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Jan Parker and Timothy Mathews

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199554591

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199554591.001.0001

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No Consolation

No Consolation

The Lamenting Voice and Public Memory

Chapter:
(p.211) 11 No Consolation
Source:
Tradition, Translation, Trauma
Author(s):

Gail Holst‐Warhaft

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199554591.003.0014

This chapter considers the question of whether poetry is useful as a public statement of grief. It focuses on an elemental poetic response to death: the lament. Laments were performed by women who were professional or semiprofessional mourners; they were intended to evoke a strong response in the community gathered at the funeral. Making pain audible through their wept songs, and visual, through their dishevelled hair and lacerated cheeks, lamenting women orchestrated a spectacle of mourning that was part theatre, part spontaneous response to the anguish of grief.

Keywords:   poetry, poems, public statement, laments, mourning, grief, lamenting women

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