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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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3
votes
4answers
2k views

Who is the falcon, and who the falconer?

In Yeats' greatest of poems, he writes that "the falcon cannot hear the falconer." Who is the falcon and who is the falconer? Why might Yeats have chosen this metaphor? The Second Coming ...
3
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1answer
480 views

Who inspired Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem “Mother and Poet”?

"Mother and Poet" is an emotional and moving poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning about a woman poet who loses both her sons in battles in Italy. The emotions seem so raw that one might assume it ...
1
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0answers
65 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 ...
4
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1answer
148 views

Paradise Lost pagan gods

In Paradise Lost, Milton depicts the Greek and Egyptian "gods" as among the fallen angels. It does not seem to matter whether the individual god had an evil or good character in its original myths. As ...
5
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2answers
250 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 ...
2
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0answers
107 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/...
6
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2answers
421 views

What does “toby” mean, in London slang of Orwell's time?

In the George Orwell poem "A Dressed Man and a Naked Man", two men are haggling for the clothes of one of them (the other is naked). After a little research into the pounds/shillings/pence system for ...
4
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1answer
49 views

Calvert curricular poem

Many moons ago, I used the Calvert curriculum for something like 3rd-8th grade. I remember reading a poem about two brothers who had very different philosophies about how to accomplish their goals; ...
2
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0answers
115 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 ...
8
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0answers
223 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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1answer
57 views

What is the meaning of Georgian

I found this book titled, "The Book of Georgian Verse", by William Braithwaite. What is the meaning of Georgian? Search engine results provided nothing of use. Here is a link to the e-book on Google ...
1
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1answer
489 views

Opening lines of Gwendolyn Brooks' poem “Riot”

Please explain the following opening lines of Gwendolyn Brooks's poem "Riot": John Cabot, out of Wilma, once a Wycliffe, all whitebluerose below his golden hair, wrapped richly in right linen ...
1
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1answer
147 views

Significance of rising/falling meter

If I am analyzing a poem and I realize that it has rising meter, what does that say about the poem. Like do happy tone poems have rising meters whereas sad poems have falling meter?
5
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1answer
92 views

Why did Avicenna write his medical textbook in verse?

Avicenna (980-1037) was a Persian writer and scientist who is regarded as one of the founders of modern medicine. I found it interesting to discover that his textbook on medicine was written in the ...
1
vote
2answers
297 views

The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm by Wallace Stevens quote interpretation

I'll give the whole poem for context, but I'm having trouble making complete sense of a line in the poem. What exactly does Stevens mean by the phrase "wanted much most to be / The scholar to whom ...
7
votes
1answer
146 views

Poem about bedtime story for witch's child

I read this poem in the 5th or 6th grade or so, so that'd be 2012-2014 (somewhere in there). It was out of some packet copied out of a book for this language arts extension thing (I remember the book ...
2
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0answers
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 ...
7
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1answer
247 views

What did Lorca mean by ‘crocodiles’ in his poem ‘The King of Harlem’?

The poet Federico García Lorca, when he was studying at Colombia University visited Harlem with a friend of his, Nella Larsen, a black novelist. It made a tremendous impression upon him and its ...
3
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0answers
60 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 ...
2
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1answer
215 views

What is the effect of using “silver” to describe the “horn” in “Madman's Song” by Elinor Wylie?

Here is the poem "Madman's Song" by Elinor Wylie (from The Prose and Poetry of Elinor Wylie , by William Rose Benét): Better to see your cheek grown hollow, Better to see your temple worn, ...
3
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2answers
182 views

What do these lines mean in Tennyson's poem “Northern Farmer - Old Style”?

What does But summun ’ull come ater meä mayhap wi’ ’is kittle o’ steam Huzzin’ an’ maäzin’ the blessed feälds wi’ the Divil’s oaän teäm. mean in modern English?
2
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1answer
57 views

Symbolism in “The Jewel of the Secret Treasury”?

The poem "The Jewel of the Secret Treasury" by the famous Persian poet Hafez reads very much like a love poem, but I'm failing to pick up on the precise details of the metaphor: The jewel of the ...
2
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1answer
68 views

Writing/Poetry technique - Requiring reader to have prior knowledge

In the poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams, for the reader to infer the context of the poem - why so much depends on the red wheelbarrow, the reader has to know that William Carlos ...
2
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0answers
188 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 ...
8
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0answers
148 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: ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

Does Blake appeal to his readers' faith in the last stanza of “Holy Thursday”?

Here is the poem "Holy Thursday" from Songs of Experience by William Blake: Is this a holy thing to see, In a rich and fruitful land? Babes reduced to misery, Fed with cold and usurious hand. ...
0
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0answers
52 views

What does this phrase mean, “your touch left sweet accord in my frown”?

I recently read a piece of writing: "your touch left a sweet accord in my frown" Is this the right usage of the word accord? Am I missing something?
3
votes
1answer
416 views

What is the tone of “Spring” by Gerard Manley Hopkins?

Here is the poem "Spring" by Gerard Manley Hopkins: Nothing is so beautiful as Spring– When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; Thrush’s eggs look little low ...
4
votes
1answer
69 views

Why is God a “harshener”? What does this mean?

In Robert Hayden's poem "The Ballad of Nat Turner", the word "harshener" appears twice in reference to God/Jehovah: In scary night I wandered, praying, Lord God my harshener, speak to me ...
2
votes
1answer
208 views

What does flying represent in “O Daedalus, Fly Away Home”?

In "O Daedalus, Fly Away Home", Robert Hayden makes reference to flying back to Africa. In the second to last stanza, he says: My gran. he flew back to Africa, just spread his arms and flew ...
6
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1answer
159 views

How does the editor know that seven lines are missing from Wordsworth's Home at Grasmere?

The Wordsworth edition The Major Works, edited by Stephen Gill and published by Oxford University Press in 1984 (and revised later) was the first selection of Wordsworth's work (...) in which the ...
5
votes
1answer
428 views

In the Sonnet 29 by Shakespeare, does the speaker pity himself over lack of skill as an artist or contentment?

Here is the "Sonnet 29" by Shakespeare. When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

What does “rushy bed” mean in this context?

The poem 'The Song of the Reed' by Rumi includes the lines: Hearken to this Reed forlorn, Breathing, even since 'twas torn From its rushy bed, a strain Of impassioned love and pain. (From ...
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0answers
17 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. ...
2
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0answers
22 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the meaning of these lines about love from “Desiderata”?

What is the message being delivered through these lines in "Desiderata" by the poet Max Ehrmann? Especially do not feign affection Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity ...
2
votes
0answers
301 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): ...
3
votes
1answer
184 views

Does anybody know who wrote this poem, or where it is from?

I saw a poem on my friend's desktop background on his laptop, and took a screenshot of it because I thought it was cool. In fact, it was a poem. Does anybody know who wrote it, or where it is from? ...
11
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3answers
595 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 — ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

Why is John Betjeman's poem set on the A30 in particular?

John Betjeman's poem "Meditation on the A30" is about a man who is fuming at his wife and driving recklessly. Everything described in the poem itself is fairly universal, could take place anywhere, so ...
4
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1answer
192 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
128 views

References in the first stanza of Amiri Baraka's poem “Somebody Blew Up America”?

In the poem "Somebody Blew Up America" by the African-American poet Amiri Baraka, he references a few people at the end of the first stanza: They say it's some terrorist some barbaric A ...
1
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0answers
23 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
109 views

Relevance of Findlay's poem 'Stolen' to Hopkinson's novel Midnight Robber

Nalo Hopkinson's novel Midnight Robber (published in 2000) is prefaced by the poem "Stolen" by David Findlay. According to the novel's colophon, the poem's copyright is dated 1997. However, according ...
3
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1answer
215 views

What's the implied meaning of this poem by Russell Edson?

My friends are discussing what's the implied meaning of this poem: Fire Is Not a Nice Guest Some people feel like it insinuates a futile effort to save people around. But I think this is not accurate. ...
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0answers
1k 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 ...
8
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1answer
285 views

What is the relevance of the title of Nalo Hopkinson's “A Raggy Dog, a Shaggy Dog”?

I've just read Nalo Hopkinson's short story "A Raggy Dog, a Shaggy Dog" (available for free online from Apex Magazine). It's an odd, quirky tale about an orchid-loving lady who's constantly setting ...
2
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0answers
31 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 ...
4
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1answer
1k views

Interpretation of some lines in The Dolphins by Carol Ann Duffy

In the poem "The Dolphins" (see the summary on Beaming Notes), what does the following line mean: "for the world will not deepen to dream in". I am unable to understand the usage of "dream in" ...
3
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1answer
122 views

How many Elizabethan or Jacobean manuscripts of Shakespeare sonnets have come down to us?

When Thomas Thorpe published Shake-speares Sonnets [sic!] in 1609, the sonnets (or at least a subset of them) had already circulated in manuscript for some time. Francis Meres already mentioned these ...