Harold Bloom: On "Evening Hawk"

[Bloom’s overview of Warren’s career finds its focus on the images of the hawk or hawks repeated over several poems. Among a number of things it represents, the hawk is, Bloom suggests, "an emblem of certainty in pride and honor."]

… ["Evening Hawk"] is surely one of his dozen or so lyric masterpieces, a culmination of forty years of his art.

[Bloom quotes the whole poem.]

The hawk’s emotion is that of a scythe reaping time, but Warren has learned more than his distance from the hawk’s state of being. I know no single line in him grander that the beautifully oxymoronic "the head of each stalk Is heavy with the gold of our error." What is being harvested in our fault, and yet that mistake appears as golden grain. When the poet sublimely cries "Look! Look!" to us, I do not hear a Yeatsian exultation, but rather an acceptance of a vision that will forgive us nothing, and yet does not rejoice in that stance.


Criticism Overview
Title Harold Bloom: On "Evening Hawk" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Harold Bloom Criticism Target Robert Penn Warren
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 02 Jun 2020
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication "Sunset Hawk: Warren’s Poetry and Tradition"
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