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House of Dust: A Symphony

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By: (1889-1973)

House of Dust: A Symphony by Conrad Aiken is a haunting and beautiful piece of poetry that explores themes of time, memory, and the passage of life. The collection is divided into sections, each representing a different stage of life, from childhood to old age.

Aiken's language is rich and evocative, drawing the reader into his world of crumbling buildings and forgotten dreams. The imagery is vivid and powerful, creating a sense of unease and wonder as the reader navigates the shifting landscapes of the mind.

One of the most striking aspects of the book is the way Aiken weaves together elements of music and poetry, creating a symphonic quality that flows through the entire work. The repetition of certain phrases and motifs gives the collection a sense of rhythm and structure, much like a musical composition.

Overall, House of Dust: A Symphony is a deeply moving and thought-provoking work that lingers in the mind long after the final page is turned. Aiken's exploration of the complexities of human experience and the passage of time is as relevant today as it was when the collection was first published.

Book Description:
The House of Dust is a poem written in the four-movement format of a classical symphony. Hauntingly beautiful despite its bleak post-World War I depictions of human mortality and loss, the poem develops its movements around central images such as Japanese ukiyo-e ("floating world") woodblock prints, touching the reader's senses with endlessly evocative allusions to wind, sea, and weather. In this underlying Japanese sensibility and dependence on central perceptual images, Aiken's poem is similar to poetry of Imagists of the time such as Amy Lowell. Also deeply influenced by the concepts of modern psychology, Aiken delved deeply into individual human identity and emotion.

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