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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1answer
82 views

Are the names J. Alfred Prufrock and Hugh Selwyn Mauberley completely arbitrary?

T.S. Eliot's first professionally published poem was "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", in which Eliot narrates the experience of a character named J. Alfred Prufrock. Similarly, Ezra ...
4
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1answer
111 views

How to scan the “Clark” poem from “One Fish, Two Fish”?

One of my favorite things about Dr. Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is the combination of rhyme and rhythm or meter in its poems. I think I've found satisfying rhythms for reading all ...
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32 views

What is the significance of 36 in the Vietnamese poem “Learning Late Letters”?

"Learning Late Letters", a poem 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 ...
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34 views

What do the silks and tattoos represent in Sui-Yun's poem about Eve?

One of the Peruvian writer Sui-Yun's Four Short Poems (translated from Spanish by Jennifer Shyue) is written as addressed to "Eve, my eternal mother". I hope I'm not being excessively dirty-...
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3answers
350 views

What does “rime of alien dreams” mean in Maya Angelou's “The Mothering Blackness”?

In Maya Angelou's poem "The Mothering Blackness", there's a verse that goes like this: She came down creeping        here to the black arms waiting        now to the warm heart waiting rime ...
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103 views

Who is the 'one who had lifted it' in Shelley's sonnet about 'the painted veil'?

In Shelley's famous sonnet, which begins 'Lift not the painted veil', the "turn" is placed - unusually - in the seventh line. Lift not the painted veil which those who live Call Life: ...
4
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1answer
43 views

How is capitalization being used in Maya Angelou's “On the Pulse of Morning”?

I was looking through Maya Angelou's "On the Pulse of Morning", and noticed that there's an interesting use of capitalization in the poem. (I checked multiple version to make sure that this ...
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1answer
64 views

Starting a poem with a “small letter”

I read a poem entitled Archery by Carl Phillips: The first few lines read as: was still a thing, then. To have timed your arrow perfectly meant watching the air for a moment... As a basic reader I ...
4
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1answer
96 views

Meaning of Lorca's “Romance sonámbulo”?

What does Lorca mean in his poem "Romance sonámbulo" when he says: Tiny tin-leaf lanterns were trembling on the tiles. A thousand crystal tambourines were wounding dawn's dark sky. (...
3
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1answer
60 views

Why is Szymborska's “Tarsier” sometimes written (in translation) with simplistic grammar?

Szymborska's poem "Tarsier" ("Tarsjusz" in the original Polish) has been translated, in a version that says "Translations and Comments by Magnus J. Krynski and Robert A. ...
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29 views

How does the change in syllables change the reading in Maya Angelou's “Still I Rise”?

In the opening stanza of Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise", the syllables go 9 / 7 / 9 / 6. The second verse goes 8 / 7 / 9 / 7. All of these are within two or three syllables of each other, and ...
4
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1answer
56 views

Title of poem by Wisława Szymborska

Does anyone know the title of the poem by Szymborska which contains a line worded something like “whose life has ever turned out as they thought it would anyway”? I believe that the poem was published ...
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1answer
174 views

How are colors being used in Maya Angelou's “The Mothering Blackness”?

In Maya Angelou's poem "The Mothering Blackness", there are a bunch of different colors mentioned. For instance, the first verse goes like this: She came home running    back to the ...
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3answers
1k views

Why the word “sootikin” in a children's poem “Choosing Their Names”?

In a poem entitled Choosing Their Names by Thomas Hood a stanza is: One is black, with a frill of white, And her feet are all white fur, too; If you stroke her she carries her tail upright And ...
2
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1answer
270 views

What does “Fills now my cup” mean?

In Rilke's poem "Pietà", there is this sentence: Fills now my cup, and past thought is my fulness thereof. I harden as a stone sets hard at its heart. What does "Fills now my cup"...
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130 views

The motif of Tom O' Bedlam

The 17th-century motif of Tom O' Bedlam has always been one that I hold much affection and wonder for (as can be assumed by the choice of username on my part.) The motif most famously makes an ...
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1answer
70 views

What does this quote in Don Juan by Lord Byron mean? “Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet The unexpected death of some old lady”

Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet The unexpected death of some old lady I saw this quote in C. S. Lewis's The Inner Ring and I'm having trouble figuring out what it means. What does this quote in ...
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1answer
184 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, ...
2
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1answer
44 views

What does “even so did I” mean?

I am reading Oscar Wilde's poem "The House of Judgment" and it uses the phrase. I have seen it in other older texts. What does it mean? Here is a copy of the passage. The phrase is bolded. ...
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32 views

Understanding the meaning of “Eructation of unhealthy souls” in T.S. Eliot's Burnt Norton

In the third section of Burnt Norton we find these lines Eructation of unhealthy souls Into the faded air, the torpid Eructation have two meanings Belching Eruption So, if we take up the second ...
4
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1answer
547 views

What does “balks account” mean in Walt Whitman's “I Sing the Body Electric”?

Walt Whitman's poem "I Sing the Body Electric" is a sort of celebration of the human body. A phrase that recurs a few times is "balks account": The love of the body of man or ...
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3answers
5k views

What is the meaning of “Both wry with the laboured ease of loss.” and “And of this circumstance… Its silence silences.” in 'A Photograph'?

In the poem A Photograph (written by Shirley Toulson), I didn't understand some sentences. In the first stanza, the poet says, The cardboard shows me how it was When the two girl cousins went ...
4
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1answer
64 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 ...
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1answer
68 views

Why do all the lines of Burnt Norton seem unconnected?

I'm reading Burnt Norton by T.S. Eliot. I have read its background (that manor house theme) and a few months ago read Murder in the Cathedral (as Wikipedia says says, "He created it while working ...
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2answers
305 views

What does “radium” mean in Confessions of a Born Spectator by Ogden Nash?

The fourth line of the last stanza (stanza 6) in the poem "Confessions of a Born Spectator" by Ogden Nash is: Buy tickets worth their radium What does 'radium' mean here? What does the ...
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1answer
87 views

Numbering of Petrarch's sonnets

I have a question regarding the numbering of the Petrarch's sonnets. The Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt transcribed for piano three of the Sonnets: 47, 104, 123. We can be sure of which ...
6
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1answer
84 views

What does it mean for Venus to 'read my case' in Drummond of Hawthornden's madrigal?

I came across a madrigal by William Drummond of Hawthornden (laird of the same) yesterday. It's an astonishingly beautiful poem, but I'm having trouble making sense of some of the phrases and ...
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80 views

What is a central theme in Robert Frost's “After Apple-Picking,” and how is it revealed in the poem?

Robert Frost's After Apple-Picking, published in North of Boston (1914) is, at least at the surface level, a poem about harvesting apples and sleep. But what is actually its central theme and how is ...
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1answer
41 views

To which 'Argive queen' was Ben Jonson referring in his verse letter to the Countess of Rutland?

I came across a couplet today in Ben Jonson's verse letter "Epistle to Elizabeth Countess of Rutland" which I'm still trying to understand: How many equal with the Argive queen, Have beauty ...
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116 views

Meaning of capitalized nouns in a Lord Byron poem

I am in reference to Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (see: wikipedia article). Here is the opening stanza of the work (TO IANTHE): Not in those climes where I have late been straying, ⁠Though ...
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1answer
2k views

Why is London 'the town which Brutus sought by dreams'?

In his short poem which begins 'Tagus, farewell', the English poet Sir Thomas Wyatt wrote of his longing to return to an unnamed city. For anyone familiar with the rudiments of either Wyatt's ...
6
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1answer
89 views

Why is a sorrowing heart called “Sultan” and a stone heart called “burial site” in this verse of Saint Kabir?

I came across this verse of the great Indian poet Saint Kabir: बिरहा बुरहा जिनि कहौ, बिरहा है सुलतान। जिस घटि बिरह न संचरै, सो घट सदा मसान॥ birahaa burahaa jini kahau, birahaa hai sulataan jis ghaTi ...
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2answers
4k views

Bilbo’s song of Eärendil in “The Fellowship of the Ring”

In The Fellowship of the Ring, the character Bilbo Baggins recites a poem beginning with these lines: Eärendil was a mariner that tarried in Arvernien; he built a boat of timber felled in Nimbrethil ...
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120 views

Understanding the plotline of “The Smile” by Ted Hughes

I'm reading Ted Hughes' "The Smile" (text version), and I'm trying to understand its plotline. More specifically: what's the nature of the scenes wherein the poem's protagonist, the smile, ...
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4answers
3k views

What does stanza 4 of Defeat by Kahlil Gibran mean?

I love Defeat (by Kahlil Gibran) but I don't understand these lines in the fourth stanza of this poem: Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion, You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences, And ...
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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 ...
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1answer
181 views

In how many ways can you interpret this haiku poem? [closed]

What may be the possible (hidden) interpretations of this poem (written by me), which uses a form of Japanese poetry called 'haiku'? a filled bow, stretched with zest- the smile flies How would the ...
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1answer
242 views

Interpretation of “ Time as a stuff can be wasted” in Sandburg's A Father to His Son

In the poem A Father to His Son, the poet says, "Time as a stuff can be wasted'. In most of the summaries of this poem, it is mentioned that the poet says that time can be wasted as if the poet ...
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1answer
996 views

Who is Tich Miller? What has happened to her? Why was this poem written about her?

My literature homework about poetry involves the poem 'Tich Miller' of Wendy Cope. it is as follows: Tich Miller wore glasses with elastoplast-pink frames and had one foot three sizes larger ...
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38 views

Outline the symbolism of “The astronaut in Isolation” by Rosalind Morris

“The astronaut in Isolation” by Rosalind Morris is a poem that was published on Daily Maverick on 30 April 2020. It's a new poem and there is no interpretation of this anywhere on the web. I would ...
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45 views

Is Williams's This Is Just to Say an imagist poem, an objectivist poem or neither?

The Wikipedia article about the short poem "This Is Just to Say" claims the text is an imagist poem without backing up that claim. Williams contributed to the anthology Des Imagistes, published in ...
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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 ...
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2answers
264 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 ...
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1answer
83 views

What are the “animal heads of the flowers” in Allen Ginsberg's Transcription of Organ Music?

Here is the original text: The rambler vine climbed up the cottage post, the leaves in the night still where the day had placed them, the animal heads of the flowers where they had ...
3
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1answer
145 views

Does “the” only serve to preserve metre in “The Tyger”?

William Blake's poem “The Tyger” from Songs of Experience utilizes "the" in an interesting manner in two separate couplets of the 4th stanza, lines 9 and 11: What the hammer? what the chain, In ...
2
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1answer
60 views

What does the last line of Daniel Borzutzky's “Managed Diversity” mean?

I wonder if anybody could help me to understand the last line of the poem “Managed Diversity”, written by Daniel Borzutzky: The global economy brightens my room with the surveillance of my rotten ...
3
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1answer
36 views

“By the lives of all who’d come to console and assist the stricken” What does it mean?

I was reading the poem "The Miracle at Sea" by Shmuel HaNagid (translated from Hebrew by Peter Cole), and I came across a passage that really confused me. This is the second stanza of the poem: By ...
7
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1answer
229 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 ...
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2answers
184 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
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1answer
216 views

Origin of the title of “La Dragontea” by Lope de Vega?

Why Lope de Vega titled his poem La Dragontea, what were the prerequisites? I tried to search the etymology of this word but was not successful. Yes, I know that Chinese Dragon Tea exists, but I ...

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