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Questions tagged [poetry]

This tag should be used on questions about poetry in general or about any specific poem. Please use this tag with the appropriate author tag, and, if applicable, the language tag (such as [french-literature].

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243 views

How did T.S. Eliot's literary criticism affect his poetry?

T.S. Eliot wrote influential essays in New Criticism, a literary theory movement that if I understand correctly tried to revive formalism and focus on close reading and the text itself, as a response ...
8
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154 views

Why did iambic pentameter become so 'standard' in classical English poetry?

Iambic pentameter is probably the most prevailing and widely used meter in classical English poetry, and it's the 'standard' form of verse in many forms of poetry such as sonnets. From Wikipedia (...
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97 views

Who is the author of this contradictory poem starting “The night was dark and stormy”?

Does anyone know the name of or the author of the poem below? My grandfather used to say it all of the time and I would like to read it at his funeral. It's very silly and goes something like this: ...
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239 views

What is the deeper meaning of Blake's “The Lily”?

The poem "The Lily" by William Blake must be one of the shortest of his Songs of Innocence and of Experience collection, only four lines long: The modest Rose puts forth a thorn, The humble sheep ...
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4k views

What's the origin of the rhyme “My friend Billy had a ten foot willy”?

A simple rhyming song which I heard growing up and which still gets stuck in my head every so often: My friend Billy had a ten foot willy. He stuck it through the neighbour's door. OR He showed ...
8
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140 views

About Sappho's epigram for the little girl Aithopia: first line (manuscript tradition and experts' take), and authorship

Background and research As I am planning to post this poem on my blog relatively soon, I was doing some research on the first line. From what I had written previously, I seem to have found two ...
8
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226 views

Why was Welsh nationalist poet RS Thomas so critical of the Welsh people?

Welsh poet R.S. Thomas was an ardent Welsh nationalist and advocate for independence. Although a native English speaker he learned and conversed in Welsh, although he never felt fluent enough to use ...
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321 views

In Baudelaire's “Chant d'automne”, why isn't the hidden rhythm better known?

I noticed something remarkable about one of Baudelaire's poems that I can't find any mention of on the web. My question is whether anybody has noticed this before, and whether there's some reason why ...
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46 views

'Endymion' - Keats

And such too is the grandeur of the dooms We have imagined for the mighty dead; All lovely tales that we have heard or read: An endless fountain of immortal drink, Pouring unto us from the ...
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441 views

What does “in the Ring” mean in Because I could not stop for Death?

3rd stanza: We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess – in the Ring – We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – We passed the Setting Sun – I've heard of attempts justifying an ...
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386 views

Is the comparison in “The Clod and the Pebble” between different types of love?

The poem "The Clod and the Pebble" from William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience (which you can read online) is just three verses long and compares two different descriptions of love, ...
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60 views

What does “And others, whose breasts love the feel of scapulars,” mean in Baudelaire's “Damned Women”?

Et d'autres, dont la gorge aime les scapulaires, Qui, recélant un fouet sous leurs longs vêtements, Mêlent, dans le bois sombre et les nuits solitaires, L'écume du plaisir aux larmes ...
6
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84 views

What does Tiriel's blindness symbolize?

In Tiriel, it's mentioned several times that Tiriel is blind, first in Chapter I, line 27: Look at my eyes, blind as the orbless skull among the stones! And later again in Chapter II, lines 61-65: ...
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45 views

What do you call a break in rhyming in the middle of a book / poem for dramatic effect

Here's what I'm trying to say. I'm creating a children's book for a school project. I've been tasked to identify some literary devices used throughout the book. There is a section of the book which ...
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154 views

Is my controlling idea for my poem analysis accurate?

This is my current controlling idea of my essay on the poem "On Pleasure": "The speaker challenges the idea of pleasure in the minds of the audience, and argues that pleasure is an unavoidable ...
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21 views

Is there a name for poems where each verse is a time period?

I'm having a hard time finding examples of this, but I found one by a man named Darryl Davis, called Almanac of a man, that goes like this: When I was five, I was supreme ruler of a boundless ...
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85 views

Who wrote the poem that begins, “The Yeti, experts will attest . . .”

The Yeti, experts will attest, is physically unkempt at best. And due to this may go for weeks, alone amidst the snowy steeps. (Goes on to tell how he is looking for his "yet unmet counterpart".)
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113 views

Bright or brightly?

A little known fact is that William Blake was a talented musician who would sing his poems. Unfortunately no sheet music of his poems exist, meaning the actual melodies he specifically used are ...
4
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152 views

Who said “Poetry is the art of giving different names to the same thing”?

Over on Skeptics, Laurel found some partial information in a quote from Mathematics as a culture clue and other essays: I once quoted that mot to a poet, and got the quick response: "Poetry is ...
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150 views

What form of poem is “A Child of Mine” by Edgar Guest?

What form of poem (ie. sonnet, limerick, haiku, etc.) is Edgar Guest's "A Child of Mine?"
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659 views

Does the poem 'In Just' (e. e. cummings) allude to innocents being led astray by the devil?

In the poem in Just, (1) the balloon man whistles and children come running. On the surface, this could simply be about a man selling balloons and children wanting to buy them. But we know that e. e. ...
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78 views

How is the connection between the picture on page 59 and the last line of “Allison Beals and Her 25 Eels” shown in other publications of the poem?

"Allison Beals and Her 25 Eels" is a poem in Falling Up by Shel Silverstein. It describes how Allison uses 24 eels -- as shoelaces, earrings, ladle, etc. The 25th, however, is different. The poem ends ...
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56 views

Help finding poem about a red tide coming in which mentions “memory”

I'm trying to find a poem. I thought it was a Mary Oliver poem, but I can't find it when searching the few words I know along with her name. The poem talks about a red tide coming in. There is a part ...
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45 views

'meter' vs. 'rhythm': How do their meanings in poetry differ from those in music?

'meter' and 'rhythm' are termed in poetry and music. So what are their parallels? Their differences? Source: Listening to Music (2013 7 ed, but ∃ 8 ed) by Yale Prof. Craig Wright: [p. 463] meter: ...
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122 views

Is there a name for version of trochaic tetrameter with lines of 8|7|8|7 syllables

Is there a name for the meter used in Clementine: Drove she ducklings to the water Every morning just at nine Struck her foot against a splinter Fell into the foaming brine or in Schiller's Ode to ...
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229 views

What does the six-legged dog in Charles Simic's poem “Country Fair” represent?

The poem "Country Fair" by Charles Simic centers around a dog with six legs. I'm sure the dog is supposed to symbolize something important that the speaker feels the presupposed audience is ...
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92 views

How did the text of “First They Came …” evolve?

I have read and heard people read many different versions of "First They Came ..." and according to the Wikipedia article, it was originally published in English by Milton Mayer. This led me to wonder ...
2
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0answers
27 views

Is there some cultural significance in the “chhanna” or metal bowl?

The Punjabi poem "Chhanna, the Metal Bowl" is about a "flat-bottom metal bowl" which is apparently some kind of family heirloom, "filled with memories". What's so special about a metal bowl? Is it ...
2
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0answers
49 views

What is the difference between emotions and feelings in Eliot's essay Tradition and the Individual Talent?

In his most famous essay, "Traditional and the Individual Talent", T. S. Eliot appears to make a distinction between emotions and feelings. Read especially the following passage (emphasis mine): ...
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0answers
136 views

What did Gray mean by “where ignorance is bliss,'tis folly to be wise”?

Here's the last stanza of Thomas Gray's 1742 poem, 'Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College': To each his suff'rings: all are men,       Condemn'd alike to groan, The tender for another's ...
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76 views

What is the metrical style of Hungarian poetry?

While reading about Hungarian poetry, I came across the claim that: pure syllabic/quantitative metre is very rare = Hungarian, Greco-Roman ‘időmértékes’ metre I don't know what "pure syllabic/...
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0answers
81 views

Meaning in Margaret Atwood's “My mother dwindles”

The second stanza of Margaret Atwood's "My mother dwindles", in which there is a boat metaphor, has gotten me a bit confused as I analyze this poem. If she were a boat, you’d say the moon shines ...
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42 views

What does Lorca mean by ‘the oppressed reds’ and ‘garnet violence’ in his poem ‘The King of Harlem’?

I've already asked one question on this poem and I did think to include this question along with it but decided against it as the poem is quite long, though of course not as long as some ancient epics ...
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0answers
118 views

What is the effect of using “silver” to describe the “horn” in “Madman's Song” by William Rose Benét?

Here is the poem "Madman's Song" by William Rose Benét: Better to see your cheek grown hollow, Better to see your temple worn, Than to forget to follow, follow, After the sound of a silver ...
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0answers
169 views

What is “ache-and-pain-a-me back-o-hardness” in “We the Women”?

I need an explanation for what Grace Nichols is trying to say in the following stanzas from her poem "We the Women": We the women who cut clear fetch dig sing We the women making something ...
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21 views

Why did O’Shaughnessy write Ode?

Are there any theories on what motivated O’Shaughnessy to write Ode (also called 'We are the Music Makers') ? Basically, he was not a "world-forsaker" himself. I read that he worked as a ...
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0answers
199 views

What is the difference between emotions and feelings in Wordsworth's Preface to Lyrical Ballads?

In the Preface to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads (1800), Wordsworth famously wrote that all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: (...). He later adds (my emphasis): ...
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0answers
28 views

Does Shakespeare steer the reader's sympathy towards Venus or towards Adonis?

In the narrative poem Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare reuses a story from Ovid's Metamorphoses (which he often used as a source of inspiration), but gives it an original spin: Venus's desire is ...
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0answers
27 views

What does 'reflection of love for the soul' intend to say?

Source: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism (2013 1 ed). p. 90. From the medieval period through the Renaissance, Plato's argument that physical beauty should be seen as ...
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135 views

What metaphor(s) are represented by the mysterious figure in Charles Causley's “Innocent's Song”?

The other day, I came across this rather sinister poem by Charles Causley, set to music. Innocent's Song Who's that knocking on the window, Who's that standing at the door, What are ...
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0answers
17 views

Thomas McElwain as Ali Haydar?

On this website of translated Turkish poetry, a traditional hymn of sacrifice from a Turkish Alevi village is included in its English translation, with a note at the top signed "Ali Haydar", although ...
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0answers
36 views

Poem Identification from a stanza(?) containing “the midnight train” repeatedly

And in the midnight train A cold wind blows through the rain A child laughs an adults cry Leads to pain and sacrifice Toward the tracks of the unknown The icy river icy cold flows Trapped ...
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55 views

Significance of the name Annabel Lee?

"Annabel Lee" is one of many pieces of writing by Edgar Allan Poe which explore the theme of a beloved woman who died young. As with other such works, most famously "The Raven", critics have ...
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15 views

How does Dee Raain use the Mirrors to highlight negative human traits in the poem “Mirror of Truth”?

The poem "Mirror of Truth" by Dee Raain is as follows: What is seen in the mirror is nothing more than a person with lies and hate. With sadness and traits Of discrimination and disgrace. ...
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22 views

Is there any significance to the choice of similes for poetry in “Some Like Poetry”?

The poem "Some Like Poetry" by Polish writer Wislawa Szymborska is a musing lament about the unpopularity of poetry among the general population. The middle verse consists of a series of similes which ...
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724 views

Why is Allen Ginsberg's “Howl” dedicated to Carl Solomon specifically?

The poem "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg (which can be read online) is partly a savage general commentary on society and partly an expression of solidarity for the institutionalised fellow writer Carl ...
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31 views

Whitman's idea of democracy

There are two lines which disturbs me a little on One's self I sing from Whitman. It reads: One's self I sing, a simple separate person, Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse. ...
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0answers
120 views

Nicanor Parra line: “Nothing important is learned from books. (I read this in a book.)”

This is one of Parra's "anti-poems" but I can't recall the exact wording, or which book it appeared in, and can't seem to find it online. The poem says something along the lines of Nothing ...
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0answers
60 views

Source of “Immortalised in Prose, A God Among the Pages”

I'm pretty sure this comes from an English poem, referring a woman's beauty. The author suggests that roses fade and wither, and that by describing her in written word keeps her alive forever. That ...
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28 views

Who is Pound's Hugh Selwyn Mauberley?

Who is Pound's Hugh Selwyn Mauberley? I get that he's a failure, but not if the modernist Pound thought that Mauberley was "wrong from the start". Should he, Mauberley or people like him, not have ...