Questions tagged [poetry]

Questions about poetry in general or about any specific poem. Please use this tag with the appropriate author tag, and, if applicable, a language tag (such as [french-literature].

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
13
votes
1answer
851 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 (...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Catalectic trochaic tetrameter or acephaleous iambic tetrameter? Scanning “Kubla Khan”

I'm currently teaching myself to scan, and I'm practicing with Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" at the moment. You can read the entire poem online. I've arrived at line 32: "Floated midway on the waves;" and ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

Why does the poem “Naming of Parts” contrast war with nature?

Henry Reed's poem "Naming of Parts" (which you can read online) depicts a lesson used to teach soldiers the various parts of their rifles. (Hence the title "Naming of Parts"). Interspersed between the ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Who introduced the sonnet to English literature? Wyatt or Shakespeare?

Who brought sonnet to English literature? Thomas Wyatt or William Shakespeare? Their contributions to English literature: Shakespeare wrote a book that contains 154 sonnets, but I couldn't find ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Whose were the “best minds” being destroyed in Ginsberg's “Howl”?

In Allen Ginsberg´s most famous poem "Howl", he claims he was witness to the destruction of the best minds of his generation: I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving ...
9
votes
1answer
190 views

Accuracy of a translation: how to forge an opinion?

This question is directly inspired from this one on French Language stack exchange. To summarize it, the OP is wondering about the good translation for "chimiste" in Baudelaire's opening ...
8
votes
1answer
532 views

Doesn't Burns' use of parallelism reinforce “My Heart's in the Highlands” visual images?

Here is "My Heart's in the Highlands" by Robert Burns (https://www.bartleby.com/360/8/24.html). My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here; My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;...
7
votes
2answers
268 views

Edgar Allan Poe's “Alone”

The short poem "Alone" by Edgar Allan Poe was written in 1829 or 1830, when he was a young man, but only published in 1875 long after his death. Its full text is as follows: From childhood’s hour I ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

In what literature does Rumi say “You are the Soul of the Soul of the Universe. And your name is Love?”

In what literature does Rumi say, "You are the Soul of the Soul of the Universe. And your name is Love?" Any slight modification of the verse, e.g. "The soul of the soul of the universe is love" can ...
11
votes
1answer
5k views

How many of the Songs of Innocence and of Experience come in pairs?

Some years ago I studied many of Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Many of them are very clearly paired up, an Innocence song and an Experience song deliberately written to compare and ...
7
votes
1answer
680 views

Why is the robin “sobbing”?

Blake's "The Blossom", part of his Songs of Innocence which you can read online, is a very short poem about a sparrow and a robin. The part about the robin reads as follows: Pretty, pretty robin! ...
7
votes
1answer
230 views

Why do I have a different version of “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”?

The first stanza of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" reads as follows in its original publication in New Hampshire (1923): Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is ...
3
votes
3answers
7k views

Why does the narrator in “Stopping by Woods” stop by the woods?

In Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Frost: Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with ...
3
votes
2answers
154 views

Does translation take away from the meaning of verse and poetry?

I am currently reading The Heart of Haiku by Jane Hirshfield. In it, many examples of haikus translated from Japanese are given. However, in their English form, they lack the rhythm and meter of Haiku....
15
votes
2answers
89k views

What is the origin of this contradictory poem?

Does anyone know where this poem originates from: One fine morning in the middle of the night, Two dead men got up to fight, Back to back they faced each other, Drew their swords and shot one another....
27
votes
1answer
3k views

Why are haiku usually of 17 syllables?

One of the characteristics of Haiku is that the poems are usually of 17 syllables (5-7-5). Exceptions exist, of course, but 17 is the norm. Why 17? How did the originators of Haiku come to settle on ...
30
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the pun in Kipling's poem “The Three-Decker”?

In the poem The Three-Decker, by Rudyard Kipling, there is one line where the meter is slightly different from all the other lines. I Googled that line, not expecting to find anything, and Google ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

What are the “mind-forged manacles”?

From "London", a short poem in William Blake's Songs of Experience collection (free to read online): In every cry of every man, In every infant’s cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, ...
30
votes
2answers
3k views

Did Lenore merely leave or is she dead?

Edgar Allen Poe's poem The Raven has the narrator mourning the loss of his love Lenore. But it's actually not entirely clear to me if Lenore merely left the narrator (for whatever relationship-related ...
18
votes
6answers
6k views

Significance of the Phoenician Sailor having pearls for eyes in The Waste Land

In T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land (which you can read online), the "Phoenician Sailor" (an image on a tarrot card) is described as having pearls for eyes in lie 48: Is your card, the drowned ...
14
votes
1answer
194 views

The name of a poem about a poet being happy that someone has forgotten the title of their poem

I read this poem in a collection and now I can't find it. It starts with the poet talking about how they were approached by someone who had loved one of their poems. But the reader could not remember ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Does “The Soul selects her own Society” by Emily Dickinson have a simile?

Here is the poem "The Soul selects her own Society" by Emily Dickinson. The Soul selects her own Society — Then — shuts the Door — To her divine Majority — Present no more — Unmoved — ...
13
votes
1answer
479 views

What happened to the epic poem?

It's so strange to me that we all praised and adore things, but would never consider supporting them in a modern setting. There are many examples of this: poetry (very unpopular nowadays; not in the ...
12
votes
1answer
11k views

What did “Moloch” represent in Allen Ginsberg´s poem “Howl”?

In Allen Ginsberg´s poem "Howl", what did "Moloch" represent? What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Moloch! Solitude!...
11
votes
1answer
15k views

Why did the stars throw down their spears?

William Blake's poem “The Tyger” from Songs of Experience contains one couplet whose meaning has always puzzled me, lines 17–18, the first two lines of the fifth stanza: When the stars threw ...
7
votes
2answers
367 views

Are the illustrations part of Shel Silverstein's poems?

Shel Silverstein's poems are illustrated by himself. The illustrations often provide the 'punchline' of the poem, as in the following examples (all taken from Falling Up. Pictures are mine - feel free ...
6
votes
0answers
726 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to scan Robert Frost's “For Once, Then, Something”

I just read a fascinating blog post titled "Frost, Hendecasyllabics & For Once, Then, Something". The blog post describes the challenges of scanning Robert Frost's poem "For Once, Then, Something" ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

When and why did “No man is an island” start being regarded as a poem?

John Donne's "Meditation XVII" from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624) includes the following well-known passage: No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the ...
12
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the deeper meaning of “The Tyger”?

William Blake's poem "The Tyger" is part of his collection Songs of Innocence and of Experience, an extraordinary set of poems which explores ideas such as spirituality, love, poverty, repression, all ...
12
votes
1answer
177 views

Who put forward this completion to Sappho 94, and what is it actually supposed to read?

In Sappho 94 (τεθνάκην δ' ἀδόλως θέλω), there is this tercet at ll. 25-27, which is very incomplete, which Edmonds doesn't even have, and which Bibliotheca Augustana and Campbell p. 69 both read: ...
11
votes
2answers
23k views

Did Rudyard Kipling Write “The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon”?

I came across a poem on a forum, attributed to Rudyard Kipling called "THE WRATH OF THE AWAKENED SAXON" (the title seems to be often posted in caps). A Google search indicates that where ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What does the “good night” symbolize in Dylan Thomas's “Do not go gentle into that good night”?

Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas, he begins with "Do not go gentle into that good night". He also uses this as one of two alternating refrains. In this poem, what does the "good ...
10
votes
2answers
7k views

What are the “dark Satanic mills” in Blake's Jerusalem?

The short poem Jerusalem by William Blake - not to be confused with his much longer epic poem of the same title; I'm talking about the "did those feet in ancient times" one - contains the following ...
9
votes
1answer
581 views

How much of The Song of Wandering Aengus by Yeats is based on Irish folklore?

Yeats was a keen student of Irish folklore and it is clear that the titular character in his poem The Song of Wandering Aengus is based on the pre-Christian Celtic god of love, youth and poetry. ...
7
votes
1answer
99 views

In which year was Frühlingsbotschaft by Heinrich Heine published?

I have been searching the entire internet (or mostly) and can't find when Frühlingsbotschaft by Heinrich Heine was first published. I double-checked and it is not part of his collections Gedichte, ...
7
votes
0answers
176 views

Any significance to the “Dutch clock” and “Chinese plate” in Eugene Field's “The Duel”?

I just learned from an answer to an ID question about the poem "The Duel", or "The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat", in which Eugene Field describes a vicious fight between two stuffed animals as told ...
7
votes
1answer
225 views

The second line of “God's Grandeur”

The second line of Gerard Manley Hopkins's sonnet God's Grandeur is: It will flame out, like shining from shook foil. What I found on the Internet regarding the analysis of this line was rather ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Why rename Kipling's poem “The Beginnings” to “The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon”?

Several white nationalist and neo-Nazi websites have published a modified version of Kipling's poem "The Beginnings." In the new version of the poem, the title was renamed to "THE WRATH ...
7
votes
1answer
185 views

Did Julian Huxley write a poem about an axolotl, and if so, what was it?

Julian Huxley was an avid science populariser, researched into the metamorphosis of axolotls, and wrote poetry. I'm pretty sure that these interests were combined in a poem I once came across, ...
6
votes
0answers
83 views

When and how was the phrase “these dark Satanic mills” in Blake's “Jerusalem” first altered to “those dark Satanic mills”?

William Blake's lines of verse "Jerusalem", which appear in the "Preface" to his poem "Milton", were written c.1804 and first printed c.1808. They also appear, but with ...
5
votes
1answer
6k views

Meaning of “cloudless at dawn” and connection with Shakespeare's head?

I was reading one of the master-pieces by Stephen Spender, "An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum". Following are the starting lines of the second of four octaves: Our sour cream walls, ...
4
votes
1answer
129 views

What language was Tagore's “This Dog” written in?

Disclaimer: this is going to be a stupidly obvious question for anyone who speaks either Hindi or Bengali, but with zero knowledge of either language I can't really eke out an answer. Apologies if ...
4
votes
2answers
165 views

What does “where water is not thirsty” mean in Maya Angelou's “Alone”?

The opening stanza of Maya Angelou's poem "Alone" goes like this: Lying, thinking Last night How to find my soul a home Where water is not thirsty And bread loaf is not stone I came up with ...
4
votes
2answers
186 views

Who is being referenced in the opening line of “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”?

The first stanza of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" goes like this: Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping ...
4
votes
1answer
65 views

Understanding the second section of first part of Burnt Norton by T.S. Eliot

The first section of first part of Burnt Norton seems to be focused on "time", although it is too abstract and as I say "beyond my perceptible sense" but in the least we understand ...
4
votes
3answers
270 views

Two Interpretations of Robert Herrick's “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”

In his "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time", Robert Herrick concluded his carpe diem plea with: For having lost but once your prime, You may forever tarry. There seems to be two ways to ...
4
votes
1answer
342 views

Is the man about to die in “Meditation on the A30”?

John Betjeman's poem "Meditation on the A30" is about a man driving his car and fuming about his unloving wife. In the final verse, he finally turns to action: "You're barmy or plastered, I'll pass ...
4
votes
0answers
320 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
122 views

A sly parody of Eliot's later style

On a book named "The Poetry of Postmodernity" (written by Dennis Brown), on the chapter dedicated to Ted Hughes' Crow, the author comments (you can read it here): Crow read like some checklist of ...