The Cinnamon Peeler Essay

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In the following essay, Wakoski discusses the similarities and differences between the poetic styles of Ondaatje and Walt Whitman.

It is ironic that Michael Ondaatje is a writer who exemplifies every aspect of the Whitman tradition in American poetry, for he is a Canadian Writer, though once removed, since he was born and spent his boyhood in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). His exotic story is told in a work of prose, Running in the Family, which most people read as if it were poetry. Indeed, Ondaatje is a melting pot of techniques, and his work, as Whitman said of his own, "contains multitudes."

Ondaatje's writing can take the form of intense lyric poems, as in "Kim at Half an Inch":

Brain is numbed
is body touch
and smell, warped light

hooked so close
her left eye
is only a golden blur
her ear a vast
musical instrument of...







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This section contains 607 words
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The Cinnamon Peeler from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.