Monday, May 23, 2011

Two Rivers

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Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Two Rivers" is about the Concord, or Musketaquit, River, and also about a metaphorical river. In this poem, form is indeed function. I like how the rhythm and repetition give a sense of movement -- of a flowing river: through flood and sea, and firmament/ through light, through life, it forward flows The word "through" indeed carries us through.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nobody Knows this Little Rose

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What does we usually think of when we come across a rose in literature? Beauty -- even a bit of glamor perhaps. In "Nobody Knows this Little Rose" Emily Dickinson humanizes the rose and makes it a vulnerable little thing, someone who could die without us ever noticing. What is the significance of it being a rose, and not some other living thing?

Some suggest that the rose stands for Emily herself -- someone who possesses some lovely qualities, but could die and simply be forgotten. It could well be, but what I get from the poem is a strong sense of empathy for another.

I am realizing that I now have several poems with personified flowers: by Robert Frost, Robert Service, Emily Dickinson. They could make an interesting text set!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Your Poem

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Robert William Service's "Your Poem" is a simple A-B-A-B rhyme. The metaphors are straightforward and accessible. Still, it expresses something about poetry that I believe deeply. It's not just what's on the page, but what we bring to the reading. (What's the tone of the poem? Does it change, even slightly, based on how we read it?)

And what of the sound itself? The meter and rhyme scheme affect how we read -- yet that's not all there is. You can play with individual words quite a bit without destroying the effect of the rhyme scheme.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fable

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Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Fable" is just that -- a little story with animal characters and a moral. It's a moral that's acceptable even to young children: It's okay to be you and not someone else who's larger and more imposing! Emerson's choices give the poem a bit of a playful tone. He has paired together some unusual images in rhyme, and also suggested a rather squirrel-centric purpose for a mountain (as a squirrel track). this could be a fun poem for a bit of beginning rhetorical analysis.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

There is Another Sky

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The Austin referenced in "There is Another Sky" is Emily Dickinson's brother, one year her senior. The two were very close in youth, but grew apart (though he was at her deathbed). This poem has a wistful feel -- we get a sense of the speaker trying to pull her brother in and comfort him.