“erasing absence”: Christopher Buckley’s “On the Eiffel Tower”

1909687_520858518315_5793_nAfter the terrible events in Paris last week, I found myself looking for poems about the city, but none of the ones I came across really conveyed everything I wanted them to, which makes sense—how could they when I wanted to much?

In the end, I thought I’d recommend this poem about the Eiffel Tower. Christopher Buckley’s “On the Eiffel Tower” isn’t about crisis, or free speech, or facing the worst among us with all that we can muster of our best. What it is about is the way human minds can fill the sky with something beautiful, a monument of iron lace that’s stood for more than a hundred years of war and peace.

Vive la liberté.

Correction (August 23, 2020): The original version of this post mistakenly conflated Christopher Buckley, poet, with Christopher Buckley, satirist. I regret the error, and thank the reader who brought it to my attention.

2 thoughts on ““erasing absence”: Christopher Buckley’s “On the Eiffel Tower”

  1. Right off the bat I can supply three reasons to like this novel: 1) it skewers Wikipedia; 2) it aims for the grand scale, but with a sense of proportion (too often fiction about whatever happens to be the most recent American military activity virtually begs you to accept and knowledge me as a MAJOR STATEMENT; there’s nothing of that kind here); and 3) it contains a vocabulary word none of us have ever seen before in our lives, “coprophagous”.

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