Document Type

Junior Award Winner

Award Date

Spring 2012

Course Name

20th Century Poetry


Dr. Dan Gleason


Charles Bukowksi, one of the most controversial poets of the 20th century, loved very few things- alcohol, sex, his typewriter, and classical music. His poetry is considered down-to-earth and easily relatable, but it is still able to maintain a high level of artistic and literary merit. His skill as an artist becomes clear when his poem “Dostoevsky” is juxtaposed with Caravaggio’s famous painting, “The Sacrifice of Isaac.” This painting depicts an angel stopping Abraham from sacrificing his son, Isaac. Although these pieces come from different artistic media, painting versus the written word, their shocking similarities are a testament to the universality of human experience. They have the same characters, as both depict the story of a man struggling against forces he cannot understand. In addition, they have the same setup, with an intervention by a deity that delivers the protagonist to a higher state of existence. Finally, both have generally dark and despairing tones. These similarities show clearly that, thematically, both pieces glorify the idea of salvation by a higher power and are highly reverent of their respective gods.



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