Tuesday, April 14, 2009


"Unknown" by Anna Cormorant

Why am I standing here, alone,
When outside you are knocking, knocking?
I cannot come to you-
My feet are glued to the floor.
Forgive me, but I feared you!
Would that you could open the door,
But I have locked it!
Ah! What sorrow I have brought upon myself!
How you shout, how you plead for entrance
And how I want you to enter,
But you have not the strenth to break the door.
Well, come on then! Find another way in!

This monologue is quite similar to my post on the Spenserian Sonnet, in that it deals with a deep inner conflict within the speaker. In this instance, the conflict is how to get a visitor into the house. The way the speaker argues and talks with herself gives the impression that they don't really know what they want. He/she has locked the door and won't move to open it, yet tells the person knocking to find antoher way in. To me this seems that the person is weak and unable to make decisions for themself. The line, "Ah! What sorrow I have brought upon myself!" suggests a defeatist attitude, instead of attempting to rid themself of the sorrow the person simply wallows in self pity. The dramatic monologue is a great way to get a more in depth view of a character that may have previously been puzzling.

Spenserian Sonnet

"I Can't Win"
by Helga Ross
I take a stand and I’m stubborn, you say.
Okay, I am. So are you. What are we to do?
When impasse comes to pass to our dismay
forestalling allies-at-odds, (nothing new),
whose blood see-through bond obliges breakthrough?
The debate's a draw--not worth losing sleep—
see, (S)He who can't be reasoned with, is YOU!
Okay, my friend, you win, so I may keep
my peace of mind, sow only as I’d reap.
I have no choice but learn to get along—
there is no trade—sometimes you make me weep.
Still, our combination’s made me strong:

Thanks to you, Conscience, I can look at me:
Some One I like, despite your victory.

The first thing I noticed about this poem is the personification of the speaker's conscience. Throughout the poem he/she is fighting with their conscience, as evidenced by the capitalization of "YOU!", which adds more emotion to the line. This inner battle is the main conflict of the poem and is an interesting clash between external and internal forces within the speaker.

The epitaph at the end (does that qualify?), drives the purpose of the sonnet home, saying that our conscience guides our thoughts and actions. We are better off for it in the end, even if it feels like we are fighting with ourselves at times. This is best evidenced by the speaker describing herself as "someone I like" at the very end.

Monday, April 6, 2009


David Justice- Pantoum of the Great Depression

Our lives avoided tragedy
Simply by going on and on,
Without end and with little apparent meaning.
Oh, there were storms and small catastrophes.

Simply by going on and on
We managed. No need for the heroic.
Oh, there were storms and small catastrophes.
I don't remember all the particulars.

We managed. No need for the heroic.
There were the usual celebrations, the usual sorrows.
I don't remember all the particulars.
Across the fence, the neighbors were our chorus.

There were the usual celebrations, the usual sorrows
Thank god no one said anything in verse.
The neighbors were our only chorus,
And if we suffered we kept quiet about it.

At no time did anyone say anything in verse.
It was the ordinary pities and fears consumed us,
And if we suffered we kept quiet about it.
No audience would ever know our story.

It was the ordinary pities and fears consumed us.
We gathered on porches; the moon rose; we were poor.
What audience would ever know our story?
Beyond our windows shone the actual world.

We gathered on porches; the moon rose; we were poor.
And time went by, drawn by slow horses.
Somewhere beyond our windows shone the actual world.
The Great Depression had entered our souls like fog.

And time went by, drawn by slow horses.
We did not ourselves know what the end was.
The Great Depression had entered our souls like fog.
We had our flaws, perhaps a few private virtues.

But we did not ourselves know what the end was.
People like us simply go on.
We had our flaws, perhaps a few private virtues,
But it is by blind chance only that we escape tragedy.

"Pantoum poems are an ancient Indonesian verse form, which consist of four stanzas with lines set up as follows: 1-2-3-4, 2-5-4-6, 5-7-6-8, 1-7-8-3. Because the lines are repeated, the poem has a lovely flow. The trick to writing a good pantoum poem is writing lines that will nicely go both before and after adjacent lines".

The Pantoum is a style that I have never seen before but it is certainly very interesting. I think that this style's greatest effect is the emphasis it places on certain emotions through the repitition of lines. Known as anaphora, these lines being used more than once creates an even gloomier situation than if they had just been used once. Hearing "oh, there were storms and small catastrophes" multiple times has a great effect on the reader. It seems that there is absolutely no hope for anyone in the Great Depression. The final line sums it up best, "But it is by blind chance only that we escape tragedy". Nothing the people do can save them, they have lost all control over their own lives.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


The House on the Hill, by E. A. Robinson

They are all gone away,
The house is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one today
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away.

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

"Villanelles have been around for at least three hundred years. Its name derives from the Italian villa, or country house, where noblemen went to refresh themselves, perhaps dally with the locals, and imagine that they were back to nature. It seems to have grown out of native songs, with their frequent refrains and complex rhyming"

This is a very straightforward example of a villanelle. The ABA rhyme scheme is repeated throughout five stanzas and is easy to understand. The tone is immediately understood to be very dark and gloomy. It is clear that whoever "they" are have left the house long ago and leave only a wooden skeleton of what the house formerly was. The use of anaphora emphasizes this point. Both there and they are used repeatedly at the start of many lines in the poem. "They are all gone away", if through nothing than repitition, it is known that the inhabitants of the house are definitely gone.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Comment on this- Imagist Poem

The City

In the morning the city
Spreads its wings
Making a song
In stone that sings.

In the evening the city
Goes to bed
Hanging lights
Above its head.

--Langston Hughes

This is an example of imagist poetry because the poem paints a picture in the reader's mind. Although very short, Hughes provides enough detail to give the reader their own idea of what the city looks like. The employment of euphony gives the poem a pleasing effect when it is read and seems to have a positive mood as a result. The good vibes that the poem gives off are also supported by the image of the city spreading its wings. This symbolizes growth and progress. The city singing also makes it seem as though all is well in the world described to us by Hughes. These instances of personification greatly contribute to the positive tone.

Comment on this- Free Verse

Ingreedience by Graeme King

Luigi loved to feed upon spaghetti,

and served it at his wedding feast, of course,

insisting it be thrown as though confetti -

his first step on the long road to divorce.

Lu Pang enjoyed the tang of fiery chili,

and crushed it into everything he ate,

but adding it to coffee? That was silly.

No wonder that he died at twenty-eight.

Old Jock abhorred the shocking price of stilton,

they asked too much for such a modest cheese,

he strode into the store without his kilt on,

and showed them all some Highlands expertise.

As Sikhar ate his chicken au Tandoori,

the neighbors all discussed his missing wife,

the recipe could not convince the jury,

so now he's in a Bombay cell for life.

When Dixie mixed elixir out of Pepsi,

she noticed that it caused her throat to melt,

deciding it was simply epilepsy,

she laughed it off and took another belt.

Poor Dougie's spicy nuggets in a bucket

had got him running hard, his throat in flames,

he broke the record: New York to Nantucket,

you'll see him in Beijing's Olympic Games.

Ali prefers his tea brewed in a turban,

he squeezes it till just the leaves remain,

washed down with several shots of Gypsy bourbon,

he says he reads the future in the stain.

Jemima mixed up lime and green banana,

then fed it to her fish, who quickly died,

she smoked a half an ounce of marijuana,

then sat through Finding Nemo till she cried.

A crippled long-haired hippie craved a pigeon,

to put into a pie with fried raccoon,

he looked into the sky and found religion,

he preaches every Saturday, at noon.

This is a free verse poem marked by constant caesura, breaks in thoughts in the poem. The purpose of this is to show the wide variety of ways in which people both interact with and get in trouble as a result of their food. Each stanza is marked by a definite divide in thought process. It seems as though the author was trying to make many points all within the structure of one poem. This style reminds me of reading "Song of Myself in the summer. That was certainly far longer than this but was similar in regards to fitting so many ideas into one poem.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Favorite Poem

"Here I Am" By Roger McGough
page 1046 in Norton

Yes, I just can't get enough of these shape poems."Here I Am" is interesting to me because it reminds me of the motto of the gym where I work out, "What is worse? The pain of hard work, or the pain of regret?". Many people feel that regret is the most painful of all human emotions. In the opinion of McGough, it most certainly is. He lists all the things that he's never done and comments on how dull his life was. Very cynical, but also true. I think that when you're in the moment it's hard to appreciate the oppurtunities that are available to you. It's only after they're gone that you are able to truly know what you had. Cliche, yes, but certainly applicable here.
The shape of the poem was also quite interesting. After analyzing closely and reading the comments of others, I think the poem forms an hour glass. Regret after regret slowly build up to form what we are all working against in the end; time. It's easy for the author to reflect on times gone by now that he is "getting on for seventy".