“As narrator and witness, Balakian is like Dante in Hell, Ginbsurg in Howl, Williams in Paterson, an augur in ancient Rome, not just guiding us and reading the signs of the centuries but also interpreting them for us.”
– Gigi Marino
By Gigi Marino via Ararat Magazine
Peter Balakian’s newest book of poetry, Ziggurat (University of Chicago Press, 2010), is bold in its scope, a love song for the 20th century. Ancient Sumeria meets America at one of her worst moments in modern history, the destruction of the World Trade Center. The poet begins to make sense of the moment by evoking ghosts of great wars from Appomattox to Cambodia to Armenia to Sarajevo. The story is told by a young man on a bike, a bicycle messenger to be exact, who travels through New York City and time, delivering missives of capitalism and watching the construction of the Twin Towers in the early 1970s.