Carolyn Forché

Carolyn Forché is an American poet and human rights activist. Besides her work in El Salvador and her travels in Spain, Forché has also traveled to Beirut and wrote about her experiences there in the book The Angel of History, published in 1994. According to the Poetry Foundation, “The title figure, the Angel of History—a figure imagined by Walter Benjamin—can record the miseries of humanity yet is unable either to prevent these miseries from happening or from suffering from the pain associated with them. Kevin Walker, in the Detroit Free Press, called the book “a meditation on destruction, survival and memory” (Poetry Foundation). During her time in Beirut, Forché reported for National Public Radio and worked for Amnesty International during their civil war. During this time, she was struggling to find her poetic voice and did not publish another book for 14 years. Carolyn Forché reflects on her emotions during this struCarolynForche_NewBioImage_Credit-SeanMattisonggle when she says, “I was writing something that was unrecognizable to me….The work on the page was rather fragmented and unusual looking…Because I was still laboring under the assumption…that a poem was a first-person lyric narrative free-verse construct…. And what I was doing was not that at all….I was very frustrated, and I put it all in boxes and didn’t know what to do” (University of Illinois). The Angel of History was her return to poetry as she continued to develop her persona of a political poet.


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1 Response to Carolyn Forché

  1. zoeyzheng13 says:

    Hi, Juhi. I really like the picture on the bottom, which helps to illustrate the poet’s work. The story of ” The Angel of History” is very clear and you made it easy to understand. What is the influence of this work? I think it is a great introduction to the poet and her work. It maybe could be polished to say that “The Angel of History” is an important work for Carolyn Forché to attract reader’s attention.

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