In a stunning cycle of persona poems, Daneen Wardrop offers us a panoramic view of the inner lives of those forgotten among the violence and strife of the American Civil War: the nurse and the woman soldier, the child and the draftee, the prostitute, the black slave, and the Native American soldier.
Each one speaks out to be seen and heard, bearing witness to the mundanity of suffering experienced by those whose presence was ubiquitous yet erased in the official histories of the War Between the States.
Cyclorama takes its name from the theater-sized, in-the-round oil paintings popular in the late nineteenth century, and with each poem, Wardrop adds a panel to her expansive, engrossing portrait of the bloodshed and tears, the tedium and fear experienced by the Civil War living and the dying.
With pathos and lyric force, she brings sharply into focus perspectives on an unfathomable experience we thought we already knew and understood. from "Women's Sanitary Corps"Sister, I link arms with youas we enter this log-steepled tent,white on the outside, but on the inside the deep maroon of thick-spackled, internal things.
How can it be so simple here? Bed,man-- bed, man-- where the pain leaves no room for anything else.
My mouth is dry. No, stay with me, these sheet-smoothed boys need us with their nocturnal eyes,not predatory but grieving,as good animals the body, not ready, not able to be ready.
La, where did they put their good body?