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].

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3
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0answers
21 views

Who are the pronouns referring to in the Mauritanian poem “You Will Tell Them”?

Mariem Mint Derwich's poem "You Will Tell Them", available in English translation from Words Without Borders, appears to be about a Mauritanian woman, perhaps "the" woman of ...
3
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0answers
41 views

Who is “you” in “The Waking”?

I'm trying to understand Roethke's "The Waking", and one of my problems is that I'm not sure who "you" is. Most of the poem uses "I" or "my", etc.. There are a ...
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3answers
137 views

What do you call the “message” written before a poem?

From Re Judicial by Baticuling (Jesús Balmori) in El libro de mis vidas manileñas (1928) Before the first stanza, the author begins with a little message: "Antonio Manipula, juez ... y ...
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87 views

Edna St. Vincent Millay's “Figs from Thistles: First Fig”

Edna St. Vincent Millay's very short poem "Figs from Thistles: First Fig" goes as follows: My candle burns at both ends;    It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—  ...
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60 views

Effect of enjambment in “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams

In "The Red Wheelbarrow" the poet William Carlos Williams uses enjambment to great effect (or so I have read): so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the ...
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27 views

What is going on in the first stanza of Audre Lorde's “Never to Dream of Spiders”?

The first half of the first stanza of Audre Lorde's "Never to Dream of Spiders" goes like this: Time collapses between the lips of strangers my days collapse into a hollow tube soon ...
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Walter Malone's “The World is My Home”

Walter Malone's poem "The World is My Home" is, on the face of it, openly a plea for humanity to come together as one united brotherhood rather than engage in disputes and wars: Travel to ...
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42 views

Poem-parody about O'Hare airport, written as though it were the Odyssey

I'm trying to find a poem that I'm relatively certainly was published in The New Yorker. I think I read it around 10 years ago, but definitely a margin of error of a couple of years on either side of ...
11
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1answer
1k views

What is the “a-” prefix in “a-flying” and “a-getting” in Herrick's “To the Virgins”?

From Robert Herrick's "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time": Gather ye Rose-buds while ye may,     Old Time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles to day,     To morrow will ...
10
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2answers
784 views

Is there a term for epic poetry’s detailed, successive introductions of multiple characters?

I’ve noticed a topos in a few epic poems I’ve read where a long list of characters is given, each receiving practically a paragraph of description. In The Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, Jason’s ...
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45 views

Why does Sir Harry like Matthias's poem and not Basil's?

In Mattimeo, Chapter 29, the rescuers' party encounters Sir Harry, an owl who speaks in poetry for much of his dialogue. For one example, this is how he introduces himself: "Why, pray, do you ...
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1answer
114 views

What does “a star” symbolize here?

Each morning gives thee wings to flee from hell, Each night a star to guide thy feet to heaven. This verse has been taken from the poem "Opportunity" by Walter Malone. What does "a ...
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1answer
122 views

What is the figure of speech used in this part of “Cataract Operation”?

What is the figure of speech used in these lines taken from the Simon Armitage poem "Cataract Operation"? the olé of a crimson towel. the cancan of a ra ra skirt, the monkey business of a ...
4
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1answer
85 views

What's the first appearance of the rhyme about “He died defending his right of way”?

There's a little poem that goes something like this: Here lies the body of Thomas Grey, Who died defending his right of way. He was perfectly right as he sped along, But he's just as dead as if he'd ...
2
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1answer
60 views

What do superscript circles mean in poetry?

I am reading a book on the collected works of Alexander Pope. Peppered throughout his poems are little superscript circles or degrees symbols, seen in this image of the text (transcribed below) What ...
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1answer
2k views

What meter are “I lik the bred” poems in?

I'm trying to determine the meter of "i lik the bred" poems: "i lik the bred" is a series of short poems about a domesticated cow written by British author Sam Garland, better ...
3
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2answers
81 views

In what way can a utility coat be a mockery in a Ted Hughes' “Crow” poem?

In Ted Hughes' Examination at the Womb-door (of the Crow collection), Crow's organs are listed with certain kinds of descriptions (bold is mine): Examination at the Womb-door Who owns these scrawny ...
2
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1answer
56 views

English translation of “Encargo”

Is there an English translation of "Encargo" by Julio Cortázar? I've not been able to find one online.
3
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1answer
120 views

What do the yellow banners in Edgar Allan Poe's “The Haunted Palace” symbolize?

The story "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe contains a poem, "The Haunted Palace", which starts like this: In the greenest of our valleys,     By good angels ...
8
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2answers
692 views

What might “And God, for a Frontier.” mean in “I am afraid to own a Body—”?

I don't understand the second stanza of I am afraid to own a Body— by Emily Dickinson. Double Estate—entailed at pleasure Upon an unsuspecting Heir— Duke in a moment of Deathlessness And God, for a ...
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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 ...
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Symbolism in William Blake's The House of Death is unclear to me

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/blake-the-house-of-death-n05060 While I'm asking about a colour print it's as much about Blake's poetry. I haven't been able to find much analysis of this ...
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3answers
2k views

What does “But… They went home” mean in Maya Angelou's “They Went Home”?

Maya Angelou's "They Went Home" opens like this: They went home and told their wives, that never once in all their lives, had they known a girl like me, But... They went home. The end of ...
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25 views

Which version of William Blake's “Jerusalem” did John Reith recite to celebrate the end of the General Strike?

In his 1PM radio broadcast on 12 May 1926, John Reith, managing director of the BBC, recited William Blake's "Jerusalem" to celebrate the end of the General Strike which had lasted for nine ...
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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 ...
2
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1answer
47 views

William Ernest Henley's “Invictus”

I am not able to understand William Ernest Henley's poem "Invictus" properly, except the last two lines. Can someone explain in detail the meaning of this poem? Out of the night that covers ...
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0answers
24 views

I'm looking for a certain haiku about kusarigama in Japanese

The haiku I'm looking for is probably of an anonymous author. I got a hint on a Japanese message board that it's maybe Musashi's one and I should find it in Eiji Yoshikawa's famous novel, but it's not ...
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0answers
29 views

Meaning of three phrases from “An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum”

The poem "An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum" by Stephen Spender is given below Far far from gusty waves these children's faces. Like rootless weeds, the hair torn round their pallor: ...
4
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1answer
89 views

Why are the lotos-eaters “mild-eyed” and “melancholy”?

In Tennyson's famous poem "The Lotos-eaters", a group of mariners find themselves on an island inhabited by "Lotos-eaters", and themselves decide to stay after eating lotos has had ...
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1answer
34 views

What do these lines mean in Ivor Gurney's “Laventie”?

Could you please help me understand the meaning of a poem by Ivor Gurney, an Englishman who fought in the First World War. From his "Laventie": Of Maconachie, Paxton, Tickler, and ...
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42 views

What's the significance of the name “Johnnie” in “The Bridge by the Tay”?

There's only one named character in this translation of Fontane's "Die Brück’ am Tay" ("The Bridge by the Tay"): "Johnnie". Johnnie shows up twice in the poem: Now, ...
5
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1answer
66 views

Why does “The Tragedy of Afghanistan” suddenly switch to second-person in the second-to-last verse?

Here's the second-to-last verse from a translation of Fontane's "Das Trauerspiel von Afghanistan" ("The Tragedy of Afghanistan"): They played all night and the following day, They ...
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0answers
58 views

The first line of “God's Grandeur”

The first line of Gerard Manley Hopkins's sonnet "God's Grandeur" is: The world is charged with the grandeur of God. What I found on the Internet regarding the analysis of this line was ...
5
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1answer
94 views

What is the dialect in “The Origin of White Folks” and what does it add to the poem?

I found "The Origin of White Folks" by Annie Virginia Culbertson (it's pretty far down the page) while reading a news article and became intrigued by its accent. The poem is clearly written ...
4
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1answer
69 views

What does the line “You're all that I can call my own” mean in Maya Angelou's “Woman Work”?

The first half of Maya Angelou's "Woman Work" details the extremely busy life of the narrator, ranging from taking care of a baby to mending clothes to picking cotton. The second half ...
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0answers
63 views

Why are William Mcgonagall's poems considered so terrible?

While writing up the wiki excerpt for william-mcgonagall a couple of weeks back, I came upon a rather surprising remark about him in Wikipedia: He won notoriety as an extremely bad poet who exhibited ...
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2answers
406 views

Meaning of “Where the return stands by disdain” in a poem by Thomas Wyatt

From "Who list his wealth and ease retain", by Thomas Wyatt: Who list his wealth and ease retain, Himself let him unknown contain. Press not too fast in at that gate Where the return stands ...
7
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1answer
139 views

Is Keats' swan with “neck of arched snow” an allusion to Milton's “swan with arched neck”?

I discovered something quite interesting today in John Milton's Paradise Lost. Here is Milton (this is the Archangel Raphael relating to Adam and Eve the creation of the world):                       ...
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1answer
38 views

How does “The Second Coming” form the background for “A Prayer for My Daughter”?

I was reading William Butler Yeats's “A Prayer for My Daughter”. The book which I was reading had a box named “Aid to Comprehend the poem” and in that box were written these lines: The poem [A Prayer ...
5
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1answer
204 views

Why was John Keats called a poet “who was kill’d off by one critique”?

In Canto XI of Lord Byron’s magnificent work Don Juan, romantic poet Keats is mentioned as a poet who was kill’d off by one critique. Why he was referred to like that? And which critique was it?
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12 views

How is the poem “Gerontion” affected by being told in the first person?

The poem ‘Gerontion’ by T.S. Eliot is about an old man and his life. The very first lines if the poem are as follows: Here I am, an old man in a dry month, Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain. ...
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1answer
27 views

What did Keats mean by “it is not without a feeling of regret that I make it public” in his preface to “Endymion”?

John Keats, in the Preface to Endymion, wrote: Knowing within myself the manner in which this poem has been produced, it is not without a feeling of regret that I make it public. Why did he express ...
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1answer
92 views

Who is “close bosom-friend of the maturing sun”?

John Keats, in his ode "To Autumn", writes Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun. Who is the close bosom-friend of the maturing sun?
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6 views

Did Robert Frost stop to see the beauty of woods or for some philosophical thinking? [duplicate]

Robert Frost stopped by a wood on a snowy evening and thought whose woods they were, he thought he knew, the owner lives in his village. Then in the poem he talks about how the woods look with snow on ...
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0answers
48 views

Comprehending “how but in custom and ceremony are innocence and beauty born”

“A Prayer for My Daughter” is a poem written by W.B. Yeats on the birth of his daughter. One of the themes of the poem is contrasting the future he desires for his daughter with the life of Maud Gonne,...
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1answer
26 views

How can pleasant thoughts bring sad thoughts to the mind?

“Lines Written in the Early Spring” is English Romantic poet William Wordsworth’s meditation on the harmony of nature and on humanity’s failure to follow nature’s peaceful example. However, in the ...
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1answer
20 views

Do the opening lines of Frost’s poem “After Apple-Picking” contain a biblical reference?

Robert Frost's poem ‘After Apple-Picking’, collected in North of Boston (1914), is a well-known poem on man’s encounter with the natural world, probing the dilemma of his existence. The first two ...
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1answer
52 views

Is this line from Shelley’s A Lament an allusion to his Skylark?

The poem A Lament by P.B. Shelley goes like this O world! O Life! O Time! On whose last steps I climb, Trembling at that where I stood before; When will return the glory of your prime? No more, —O ...
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1answer
38 views

Why did Tennyson write “The Brook” from the brook's first-person perspective?

In the poem "The Brook", Tennyson speaks about the journey of a small brook which later joins a mighty river. The poem is narrated in the first person by the small brook: I come from haunts ...
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1answer
22 views

Can Edgar Allan Poe’s Alone be analyzed in the light of Existential Loneliness? [duplicate]

Can Edgar Allan Poe’s Alone be analyzed in the light of Existential Loneliness? The very first lines From childhood’s hour I have not been As others were—I have not seen As others saw—I could not ...

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