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
2
votes
1answer
25 views

Finally, the slick mountains of love break over us

This is the last part of Mary Oliver's poem "Her Grave", honoring the poet's dead dog. How strong was her dark body! How apt is her grave place. How beautiful is her unshakable sleep. ...
6
votes
2answers
435 views

What does “and bread loaf is not stone” 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
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
102 views

What are the poetic devices used in this poem and how do they relate to its meaning?

What are the poetic devices (tone, imagery etcetera) used in this poem and how do they contribute to the poem's overall theme? I would appreciate an answer based on a close reading of the text. ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

Meaning of “solving” in “Days” by Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin's poem "Days" contains the following lines: Where can we live but days? Ah, solving that question Brings the priest and the doctor What does "solving" mean here? I ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

Identifying allusions in Eric Jarosinski's poem “TWEET”

The attached picture is a poem by Eric Jarosinski in which he masterfully alluded to some literary and artistic works. Transcription of picture: TWEET The Tweet is not a genre. Rather: it is a frame. ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

In Ko Un's short poem “In the very middle of the road”, why does the narrator take a different path?

There's a short poem by Ko Un that, when translated, goes like this: In the very middle of the road two dogs are coupling I take another route (source; translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé) Why ...
2
votes
0answers
22 views

What does the sword represent in poem 52 of Tagore's English Gitanjali?

In poem 52 of Tagore's English version of Gitanjali, a female persona speaks of a gift that a man or lover left her: What token left of thy love? It is no flower, no spices, no vase of perfumed water....
3
votes
0answers
172 views

“Walking to Work” by Frank O'Hara

I'm looking for any insight on the poem "Walking to Work" (1952) by Frank O'Hara. I feel like the meanings are just escaping me, and I can't find any analysis on the Internet to support/...
1
vote
2answers
168 views

What's the significance of “Collegisse juvat” in Aurora Leigh's fan-mail?

In book III of Aurora Leigh (1856) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the narrator, who has published some popular poems, reads her fan-mail, which includes: … rarer tokens from young bachelors, Who ...
3
votes
0answers
53 views

Poems collecting African proverbs

When I was a student, many years ago, in the mid 1990s, I remember reading a fascinating piece about traditional African poetry. If I remember correctly, it was a scholarly article reprinted an ...
4
votes
0answers
22 views

Why does Petrarch's sequence of poems to Laura have three different titles?

Petrarch's celebrated sequence of 366 poems to Laura goes by three different titles. As far as I can tell, they're used interchangeably: Il Canzoniere, The Songbook Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta, ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

Why is it a mistake to “eliminate” rather than “analyse” in “Aurora Leigh”?

In book I of Aurora Leigh (1856) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the eponymous narrator describes the process of forming her values and beliefs out of a throng of idées reçus:                          ...
6
votes
1answer
254 views

Who coined the term ‘Shakespearean sonnet’?

So far, we have had at least two questions about the early history of the English sonnet: Who introduced the sonnet to English literature? Wyatt or Shakespeare? Why are Shakespearean sonnets called ...
4
votes
0answers
81 views

What are the originals of the poems Tagore has translated from English into Bengali?

Rabindranath Tagore's 1886 collection of verse কড়ি ও কোমল / ka.Di o komal, "Sharps and Flats", includes a set of 15 or so poems under the general heading বিদেশী ফূলের গুচ্ছ / videshii ...
3
votes
0answers
34 views

Why does Tagore not consistently use ‘thou’ when addressing the supreme being in Gitanjali?

The large majority of poems in the English version of Tagore's Gitanjali address a supreme being. Tagore uses the pronouns "thou", "thee" and "thy" in almost all of these ...
2
votes
1answer
228 views

How to figure out if something is iambic pentameter?

I have an assignment where I have to write a Shakespearean sonnet for my professor (who is very strict about the formatting of the assignment). Are there any ways/tricks in which I can figure out if ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

What does Elizabeth Browning mean by “turning up their under-natures”?

In book I of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh (1856), the eponymous narrator describes the experience of reading poetry:                                 But the sun was high When first I ...
3
votes
0answers
82 views

What is the relationship between Tagore's poems and his song lyrics?

Rabindranath Tagore composed and wrote the lyrics for approximately 2,200 songs, collectively known as Rabindra Sangeet, "Rabindra music". These songs remain immensely popular in India and ...
3
votes
0answers
48 views

Identifying a poem about life as a test

In my 8th grade social studies class two decades ago, we studied the following poem, recollected from memory: Life is but a savage test of who is least and who is best. Those who fall may lack the ...
5
votes
1answer
90 views

What is the significance of “southern” in Tagore's poem “A Hundred Years From Now”?

The Bengali poem "Aaji Hote Shata Barsha Pare" by Rabindranath Tagore, translated into English as "A Hundred Years Hence" or "A Hundred Years From Now", is a poem written ...
2
votes
1answer
185 views

Meaning of “Elizabeth Childers” by Edgar Lee Masters?

Here's the poem "Elizabeth Childers" by Edgar Lee Masters, published in Spoon River Anthology (1915): Dust of my dust, And dust with my dust, O, child who died as you entered the world, ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

How can I get better at remembering the subject in lengthy, complicated passages (poems or otherwise)?

I struggle, especially in poetry and older English books, with comprehension and I think one of the biggest problems is that I lose track of the subject that is in view during long passages that ...
3
votes
2answers
293 views

What is the original source of Rabindranath Tagore's “Endless Time”?

There is a poem "Endless Time" by Rabindranath Tagore as follows, which I interpret as being about a mortal human speaking to God, someone living a rushed human life and comparing it to God'...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

In which poem(s) in Day by Day does Robert Lowell describe erectile dysfunction?

Robert Lowell's Wikipedia page states that Helen Vendler, in contrast to certain other critics, praised Lowell's final publication, Day by Day, especially because of: his descriptions of impotence, ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

Did “drink to someone” imply the same thing back then?

In a popular song Drink To Me Only with Thine Eyes, first published in 1616 as To Celia by Ben Jonson, did the phrase drink to someone mean the same thing as nowadays, i.e. to say cheers for someone? ...
9
votes
1answer
799 views

What does “It is not meet” mean in “Idylls of the King”?

From Idylls of the King: The Passing of Arthur by Alfred Tennyson: To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere: 'It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus, Aidless, alone, and smitten through the helm— A ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Is Rabindranth Tagore talking about the actual wave nature of light here in Gitanjali?

The Nobel prize winning work Gitanjali by Rabdinranath Tagore quotes: Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light Is he referring to the actual electromagnetic wave nature of ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

What could “lavender-bag ancestors” mean in Ted Hughes' “Crow Improvises”?

In "Crow Improvises" (text version), the protagonist conjoins a list of disparate objects, where each pair of objects ignites a spark. Putting aside the symbolic meaning of each object, it ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

Poem about a joker with disorganized attire

[throughout this question by 'English' I only mean the 'language English' ] I remember from my childhood a English language poem from a middle/high school general English textbook (India). I can only ...
2
votes
1answer
75 views

What's with the dogs in Mark Strand's “Eating Poetry”?

In Mark Strand's poem "Eating Poetry", the first several lines appear to be about a person who has been consuming poetry - I interpreted this as metaphorical, "eating" poetry as in ...
3
votes
1answer
178 views

Is there a published English translation of Muhammad Iqbal's “The Parliament of Satan”?

Muhammad Iqbal was a 19th-to-20th-century Muslim poet, philosopher, and politican, one of the most important figures in Urdu poetry and also influential in Farsi poetry, who received a British ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

The Ballad of Rudolph Reed

I found different versions of the Gwendolyn Brooks´ "The Ballad of Rudolph Reed". Could someone provide me with a reliable version?
2
votes
0answers
60 views

Louise Glück's “Vespers”

The following poem "Vespers" comes from The Wild Iris, a 1992 book of poetry written by Louise Glück, the 2020 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. In your extended absence, you permit ...
3
votes
0answers
42 views

Emily Jane Pfeiffer’s “To the Blind Architect of the City of Life”

Emily Jane Pfeiffer’s sonnet ‘To the Blind Architect of the City of Life, whose Humble Homes are the Creatures of Earth, Water, and Air, and whose “Meeting-House” is Man’ was first published in Littel’...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

In Tagore's “Along the Way”, who is the entity that the “your touch” is referring to?

Rabindranath Tagore's "Along the Way" several times refers to "your touch", such as in this first stanza: As I walk along my way I receive your touch Now and then But I don’t know ...
6
votes
2answers
68 views

Why do the prayers stop in Tagore's “A Dream”?

At the end of Rabindranath Tagore's "A Dream", there's one part (the ending) that goes like this: At the gate The lamp went out In the temple On the banks of Shipra The prayers stopped. ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Seeking Title and Poet of Post WWI poem closing with “If there is no reward for devotion such as this, I'll take my chances in hell”

I'm seeking the title/author of a 1920-30s poem, closing with the phrase: If there is no reward for devotion such as this, I'll take my chances in hell. The narrator being a soldier returned from ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

What is the meaning and significance of “urubutinga” in Mário de Andrade's “O lundu do escritor difícil”

The title is suggestive enough to elicit an understanding that Andrade probably purposefully made this poem difficult to read for people who are not familiar with Tupi culture. A conscious effort of ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

What does “raised waves in my mind” mean in Tagore's “At the End of the Day”?

In Rabindranath Tagore's "At the End of the Day", there's one stanza that goes like this: To you I only pray – Before I go let me know Looking at the sky Why mother earth so green Gave me a ...
2
votes
1answer
284 views

Why was the narrator left alone on the shore in Tagore's “Sonar Tari”?

Rabindranath Tagore's poem 'Sonar Tari', written in Bengali, was translated into English as 'The Golden Boat'. The last stanza reads: ঠাঁই নাই, ঠাঁই নাই! ছোট সে তরী আমারি সোনার ধানে গিয়েছে ভরি’। শ্রা...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

Who is Tagore's “Cruel Kindness” addressed to?

Rabindranath Tagore's "Cruel Kindness" is written in the second person, addressing a "you": I seek so many things with all my heart But you have saved me denying. All through my ...
1
vote
0answers
945 views

“Yum yum pig's bum”

I saw a vernacular poem that appears to have been passed down and passed around in various parts of the UK. A couple of different versions: Yum yum Pig's bum Wrap it up In chewing gum Have a slice ...
7
votes
2answers
123 views

Why is love a “he” to Kahlil Gibran?

Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love. And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said: When love beckons to you, follow him, ...
2
votes
2answers
99 views

Why does the bow have to be stable in “The Prophet”?

I find the poetic imaginary in this verse from kind of disturbing: And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children. And he said: Your children are not your children. They ...
4
votes
1answer
169 views

Can you identify this poem about axolotl, fish, salamander

I have some lines from my dad's favourite poem, but they’re jumbled as he was 94. The lines may not be in the correct order. He couldn’t remember the writer, and several internet searches have not ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

Looking for a famous quote by William Wordsworth probably relevant to the concept of the Anthropocene

I've talked to someone who studied English literature and the concept of Anthropocene recently, and the person quoted Wordsworth during our conversation. Unfortunately I can not remember the quote, ...
3
votes
1answer
956 views

“The Laburnum Top” by Ted Hughes - poem explanation

I want to know the line by line explanation of the poem "The Laburnum Top" (written by Ted Hughes). Source (Page 31) The Laburnum top is silent, quite still In the afternoon yellow ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

Why is the short Vietnamese piece “Learning Late Letters” called a “poem”?

"Learning Late Letters", originally written in Vietnamese by Nguyễn Hoàng Quyên, was one of the winners of the 2020 Words Without Borders Academy of Americans Poets Poems in Translation ...

1 2
3
4 5
11