microphone   Nicholas Christopher

author reading


  Nicholas Christopher

Nicholas Christopher reads his poetry:

The Last Hours of Laódikę, Sister of Hektor (a poem of September 11) [MP3, 1 MB]
Lake Como [MP3, 1.5 MB]
Midsummer [MP3, 1 MB]
Uncle Phillip's Funeral in Las Vegas [MP3, 2 MB]

"The Last Hours of Laódikê, Sister of Hektor" is a poem written in response to 9/11. I had actually composed the beginning of the poem some time earlier. It concerned a city under siege, and civilian victims of warfare. Laódikê is a minor character in The Iliad, a sister of Hektor who is murdered after her brother's death in battle and the subsequent fall of Troy. She seemed to me an archetypal victim of war, an innocent bystanderŃthe kind of person who today, in the sanitized, euphemistic language of the military and the mass media, is referred to as "collateral damage." I live in lower Manhattan. I witnessed the fall of the Twin Towers. I smelled the smoke from Ground Zero for many weeks. During that time, in the shadow of that tragedy, I completed this poem.

"Lake Como" is a poem that began as two stories in my head: a man who has lost his wife, and apparently much else, and the life he now leads, anonymous and isolate in a big city; and Lake Como in Italy, both as a real place--beautiful unto itself--and an elusive, ethereal destination with, perhaps, another kind of beauty. The sort of place, simultaneously real and imagined, part memory and part dream, that is crucial to every person, and can offer a glimpse, however fleeting, into that person's spiritual life.

--Nicholas Christopher

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    Photo credit: Marion Ettlinger