Damnatio Memoriae

Nicholas Samaras

 “Damnation of Memory”

How smart the Roman Senate was
to remove from remembrance all those
who brought discredit to their State by various
causes of dishonor. How smart to close
the record of memory, to erase the existence
of anybody: no life, no influence or legacy.
And you, old mentor, alive in some distance—
who were you to earn no clemency,
being the guru in my impressionable youth,
to lead me to view the magazines you read,
the gossip you spread, nothing about you the truth?
I regained myself when I removed you, instead—
the misdemeanor in my life we don’t discuss.
Who were you? I don’t remember us.

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Nicholas Samaras is the author of Hands of the Saddlemaker (Yale Series of Younger Poets) and American Psalm, World Psalm (Ashland Poetry Press). He is from Patmos, Greece, and currently lives in West Nyack, New York, where he is completing a poetry manuscript on the body and working with refugees in Greece.


Spring 2018

Charleston, South Carolina

College of Charleston

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