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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13
votes
1answer
7k views

Is the haiku in "You Only Live Twice" by Bashō?

Ian Fleming's Bond novel You Only Live Twice has one of my favourite poems: You only live twice Once when you're born And once when you look death in the face. According to the Wikipedia ...
26
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1answer
4k 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 ...
5
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1answer
297 views

To what extent is Aurora Leigh autobiographical?

I've been reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh, and as I read through Aurora's early life and adolescence, I came to wonder if the poem was inspired at all by Barrett Browning's own ...
9
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2answers
829 views

Why is 'beer' used in ''a parson much bemus'd in beer"?

In 1735, Alexander Pope wrote Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot. There is a line "a parson much bemus'd in beer." What has beer to do with it? I came across this in Merriam-Webster: In 1735, British poet ...
9
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2answers
3k views

In what way is the poem 'Tissue' by Imtiaz Dharker related to power / conflict?

For GCSE English in Britain, the language section involves 15 poems we have to write about in the exam. In 45 minutes, we get one of the poems, and we have to compare it to another of the 14 poems ...
8
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3answers
4k views

What is the significance of the magicians in the poem 'In The Bazaars Of Hyderabad'?

In the poem In The Bazaars Of Hyderabad, the poet Sarojini Naidu says: What do you chant, O magicians? Spells for aeons to come. Here aeons likely refers to eternal ages and the magicians are ...
8
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1answer
369 views

How is 'flash fiction' a distinctive genre?

"Flash Fiction" is an umbrella term used to describe any fictional work of extreme brevity, including the Six-Word Story, 140-character stories (also known as 'twitterature'), the dribble (50 words), ...
11
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1answer
17k 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 ...
6
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1answer
656 views

When did Robert Frost write "Two Tramps in Mud Time"?

Googling the poem, and utilizing Wikipedia, I could not find the answer to my question. The book I own ("101 Great American Poems") which contains the poem also does not give the year of its creation -...
9
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1answer
620 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. ...
9
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1answer
395 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 ...
22
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1answer
463 views

Looking for a poem about the (fictionalized) writing of The Canterbury Tales Prologue

A friend of mine used to quote a poem that told the fictionalized story of Chaucer writing the first lines of the Prologue of The Canterbury Tales: "Whan that Aprill with his ... ". When he ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Has Robert Frost ever written a poem that doesn't rhyme?

I know a few of Robert Frost's poems, though I'm not an expert, and I've noticed that they all have long and elaborate rhyme schemes. Is this true for all of his poems? Has he ever written a poem ...
14
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2answers
8k views

What does the raven symbolize (besides death)?

Whenever I ask a friend about the symbolism of the Raven from The Raven, they always seem to say death. Is that the only thing the Raven is meant to symbolize?
10
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2answers
777 views

Meaning of this line in "On seeing the Elgin Marbles"

And each imagined pinnacle and steep Of godlike hardship tells me I must die The "pinnacle and steep" represent the pillars of the Parthenon if I'm not mistaken. But the next line doesn't ...
20
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2answers
549 views

What circumstances is Bachchan referring to in this poem?

I came across a poem titled, Saathi, Sab Kuch Sahna Hoga (You have to tolerate this all, my friend) by Harivansh Rai Bachchan. I read this poem years ago and it is taken from an older book. Here is an ...
8
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1answer
3k views

What is the meaning of "To Autumn"?

Many poems are filled with metaphors and underlying ideas about deeper things and more broad issues or feelings. I personally feel that "To Marguerite" is an example of this, where the poem is ...
12
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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!...
15
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1answer
2k 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 ...
20
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1answer
5k views

What is the symbolism of the final rise of the Kraken?

I've been studying a lot of Tennyson, and I recently read The Kraken. The first 12 lines seem relatively straightforward, describing the giant beast that sleeps at the bottom of the sea, but the final ...
11
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1answer
3k views

Who is the speaker in "O Captain! My Captain!"

In "O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman, the speaker acts as if he has a close connection to Abraham Lincoln, saying: My father does not feel my arm This suggests that they are in such ...
16
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0answers
327 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 ...
5
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1answer
6k views

What is the distinction between Imagism and Symbolism as poetic movements?

I have recently been reading about symbolism and imagism and they seem to me to be connected in that they were in some ways the opposite of each other, one being the movement to add greater symbolic ...
12
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3answers
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 ...
5
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3answers
1k views

Is there any symbolism in Casey at the Bat?

Casey at the Bat is one of my all-time favorite poems. I always thought it was just about baseball. But is it? Is there a metaphor or an allegory hidden somewhere in the last inning of a baseball ...
3
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3answers
11k 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 ...
13
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4answers
5k views

What does "The Edge of Doom" mean?

The following stanza is from Robert Frost's Into My Own: One of my wishes is that those dark trees, So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze, Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask ...
17
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2answers
4k views

What does 'Gilead' mean in The Raven?

Poe's poem The Raven contains the following words in the fifteenth stanza: [...] tell me truly, I implore— Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!" What does 'Gilead' mean ...
7
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1answer
6k views

What do the "mirror" and the "lake" represent in "Mirror" by Sylvia Plath?

In "Mirror" by Sylvia Plath, the speaker in the poem says, Now I am a lake. But, also at times implies that the speaker is a mirror. However, since an object can not both be a mirror and a lake, ...
6
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1answer
4k views

What does "the sad height" represent in "Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas?

In the final stanza of Dylan Thomas's Do not go gentle into that good night, he says, And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go ...
16
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8answers
5k views

Why does Robert Frost contradict himself in "The Road Not Taken"

In Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" (which you can read online), the narrator gives two contradictory reasons for taking a particular fork in the road. At the beginning of the poem, the ...
-8
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1answer
485 views

Has Lorem ipsum ever been analyzed as a poem by literary critics or scholars?

Lorem ipsum is a popular filler text. Have any literary critics or scholars analyzed it as a poem? Here's an example of Lorem ipsum: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do ...
6
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1answer
3k views

Was "First They Came ..." a poem in German?

As I mentioned in another question, I have seen inconsistencies in the recounting of the poem, First They Came .... This led me to look it up and find out that the English poem comes from a collection ...
3
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0answers
128 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 ...
20
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5answers
3k views

What does it mean to laugh like the letter k?

In Abuelito Who by Sandra Cisneros, the symbolic meaning of one line is quite confusing. The narrator is referring to her grandfather (abuelo), and she says he: who used to laugh like the letter k I'...
4
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2answers
1k views

How is William Carlos Williams's affection expressed in "The Red Wheelbarrow"?

In the poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams, there is no specific mention of any person. However, he wrote that the poem "sprang from affection" for an old man named Marshall, to ...
11
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3answers
1k views

What is "This is Just to Say" about?

In "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams, the speaker appears to deliver an apology for stealing the plums of the person at whom the poem is targeted. I have heard some people analyze this ...
11
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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 ...
19
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1answer
3k views

Which is the 'correct' version of "The Lady of Shalott" and why are there two?

It seems Tennyson wrote two versions of "The Lady of Shalott". They are quite similar but have some big differences, for example, the first stanza of the 1832 version is: On either side the ...
20
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2answers
1k views

Why does the Lady of Shalott stay instead of stray?

In Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shalott" there is the following verse: There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay. She has heard a whisper say, A curse is on her if she ...
10
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1answer
4k views

What is "the Poetic Genius"?

In "All Religions are One", William Blake develops an argument around a concept called "the Poetic Genius". From the modern, surface meaning of the words, the Poetic Genius would ...
27
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2answers
2k views

Did Poe plagiarise someone else's work when writing "The Raven"?

I've read that Poe's been accused of lifting significant elements from many authors including Elizabeth Barrett, Charles Dickens, Leo Penzoni, and Thomas Holley Chivers (and "unknown," of course). ...
30
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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 ...
7
votes
1answer
806 views

Are Endymion and Hyperion by John Keats intended to be related pieces?

Hyperion and Endymion are poems by the famous poet John Keats, both based on Greek mythology. Hyperion talks about the Titan's despairing after their defeat by the Olympians, and was written in 1818-...
18
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6answers
7k 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 ...
-1
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1answer
476 views

Did a specific person inspire Lord Byron's poem "She Walks in Beauty"?

Did a specific person inspire Lord Byron's poem "She Walks in Beauty"? She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; Lord Byron's poem is a classic. Did someone ...
13
votes
1answer
505 views

Had Keats read any of Homer's works before reading Chapman's translation of them?

In "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer," John Keats writes: Oft of one wide expanse had I been told That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne; Yet never did I breathe its pure serene ...
9
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4answers
2k views

Understanding the key in The Waste Land

A passage from the fifth part of the poem The Waste Land (which you can read online) says: Dayadhvam: I have heard the key Turn in the door once and turn once only We think of the key, each in ...
23
votes
1answer
580 views

Is the mariner immortal?

I pass, like night, from land to land; I have strange power of speech; That moment that his face I see, I know the man that must hear me: To him my tale I teach. This is one of the last ...
8
votes
1answer
191 views

Why are some people dissatisfied with the titling of "The Red Wheelbarrow"?

I have read that many critics have been dissatisfied with the modern titling of XXII from Spring and All by William Carlos Williams as "The Red Wheelbarrow". Neil Easterbrook was displeased with the ...

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