An Unknown Shore: Variations on a Fragment by Oppen

By Andrew Allport Andrew Allport
Cortez arrives.
            he is absolutely lost
   at an unknown shore.
            an he is enraptured

(this is the nature of poetry


The poem:

Cortez arrives at an unknown shore
  he is absolutely lost
  and he is enraptured


Cortez arrives at an unknown shore
  he is utterly lost
  but he is enraptured


Cortez arrives too late.
  the shore is absolutely barren, the men lost
            to starvation and rapture


Cortez utters:
  “lost.”

  (this is the nature of description


Cortez walks upon the beach.
  the ocean is as still as a map
  spread out on a table.

  (he takes a nap.


  All the Cortezs arrive.
all the waves arrive

  (this is the nature of disaster

Andrew Allport, “An Unknown Shore: Variations on a Fragment by Oppen” from The Ice Ship & Other Vessels, published by Proem Press. Copyright © 2008 by Andrew Allport. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: The Ice Ship & Other Vessels (Proem Press, 2008)

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Poet Andrew Allport

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Biography

Andrew Allport is the author of the book the body | of space | in the shape of the human (New Issues Press, 2012) and the chapbook The Ice Ship & Other Vessels (Proem Press, 2008). He holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, and his poems and essays appear widely. The poem “An Unknown Shore” first appeared in ZYZZYVA and was later reprinted in Best New Poets 2006. Its first three . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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