2/4 – Response 1.2

February 1, 2019

Reading Assignment:

Read the entire Poetry Packet 1. You should read each poem several times, noting in the margins ideas or lines that interest you.

Writing Assignment:

These poems are each, in their own ways, difficult. Choose one poem and write a response (250 words) about what makes it difficult. First try to accurately describe the form of the poem using the vocabulary of literary analysis. (This website may help with your vocabulary.) Pay attention to the length and number of lines, the shape of the poem on the page, the rhyme scheme (or lack of rhyme), the regularity of the meter, and so on. As you describe the form of the poem, you should draw conclusions about the purpose of the form: what does how the poem is written have to do with how you might interpret it? Or with how the poem resists interpretation? The point of this response is not to develop a fully formed analysis of a poem, but to begin to understand how to formulate interpretative questions to ask about a poem’s form. If a poem utterly confuses you, it can be useful to describe exactly why it confuses you.

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17 Responses to “2/4 – Response 1.2”

  1.   JiaJun Lin said:

    Poet William Carlos Williams incorporated anaphora and enjambement when writing the poem “Danse Russe”. The repetitions of “If I” and “lonely” misdirected me when I thought he was a despairing husband and isolated from his family. However, I began to notice that he was enjoying solitude and the times just by himself. In the first six lines, the poet wrote how he was awake at early morning while rest of the family members were asleep, then he continued and said he would “dance grotesquely in front of a mirror while saying he is lonely and he is best left alone”, If a guy was dancing in public, people would judge his anomalous actions. However, if a guy were dancing in private, he doesn’t need to care about other thoughts or opinions. The messages that Williams was conveying.is Sometimes, it’s better to be isolated. In the poem, he wrote “I am lonely, lonely. I was born to be lonely” these two lines emphasizes on the gender isolation in this household, as the first two sentences mentioned two female versus one male. Because of this, he might felt like distanced from his wife and Kathleen, due to the fact that he is the head of household and he has far more responsibilities than other two. In front of his own reflection, he then can only be true self. “If I admire my arms, my face, my shoulders….” He is aware of his responsibilities and instead of blaming or denying this loneliness, he embraced it.

  2.   Ayoub Janah said:

    The poem, “Design” by:Robert Frost is an intriguing one that questions the audience. To start off it’s a fourteen line sonnet and expresses the idea of how nature is connected to design. The poem begins with a spider that is dimpled which gives a tone of a creepy looking cartoon spider. This white spider decides to eat a white moth that has landed on a white flower. The last stanza is where things get interesting as we question how did these flowers turn blue, why did the moth land on this specific flower, and who designed this situation? You see, Robert Frost wanted to paint a picture of this spider eating this moth but put a dark tone to it. As the author uses literary terms as well to express his ideas. Such as, simile by describing how the spider holds the moth in Line 3, “Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth.” Or, “Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth.” Which in this line it is describing how the morning is right just like how witches create a harmful magical potent. An alliteration is found in lines 2, 7, and 13. Where heal-all, holding up-snow-drop spider-design of darkness. The first consonant sounds or beginning of words are repeated. This also sets up the mood for the poem and behind it’s meaning. But this deep dark meaning. Repetition is found in the last stanza where the author questions the flower and the spider. Uses the word “What” in lines 9, 11, 13. This creates some traction for readers to grasp to the idea of design. The last sentence of this poem is where it all comes together in one piece. Robert Frost states, “If design govern in a thing so small.” This line personally has a dark and deep meaning to it. As it questions not only how did this situation happen; how did the spider, the moth, and the flower be in the same exact location at the same time. But it also makes the audience question the existence of god. This dark design that was created usually will spark some thoughts related to how nature is really created. Is it constructed from this dark design from this poem? Robert Frost had questions of his own and wanted to put this small idea of how mother nature’s cycle could be a dark one. This poem just leaves uneasy and disturbing remarks but encourages the audience to question how nature is designed.

  3.   Rose Fattakhov said:

    In the poem, “The Pool,” by Hilda Doolittle, there are a few different types of imagery used. Each line uses a specific type of imagery. The lines “Are you alive?” and “What are you–banded one?” are examples of auditory imagery. “I touch you.” is an example of tactile imagery. Visual imagery is used in the third line which says, “You quiver like a sea-fish.” Lastly, “I cover you with my net.” displays kinesthetic imagery. There are five lines in the poem, and every line makes use of imagery. The poet is trying to discover something and is taking the reader along with her when she is using imagery. We do not know if she is trying to discover herself or whether she is failing or succeeding in her discovery. But, the use of imagery helps the reader with connecting to the poem.

    The poem is not written with a regular meter and Doolittle does not make the use of rhyme. She also used very simple words. There are no unnecessary words or phrases used when composing the poem. Even with all the simple words, it is still difficult to summarize the poem. The setting of the poem is the pool as given by the title, and the speaker of the poem is carrying a net which is then used to cover a sea-fish like creature. The speaker of the poem wonder if the creature is alive before covering it. But, then cannot make out what the creature is after covering it with the net. The poem ends off with an unanswered question of what the creature is. The poem is difficult to decipher because it poses more questions than it provides. This can be said literally because the first and last lines of the poem are questions.

  4.   jennifer gavilanes said:

    The poem i decided to write about was “Nightmare Boogie”. The title caught my attention because it seemed as if it had a deep meaning or something tragic maybe scary like a “nightmare” would normally be described as. The word boogie is used as a name associated with scary most of the time for kids. One thing i did realize throughout the poem was how the word “Dream” was repeated symbolizing and making it known that this in fact was a dream. As well as the rhyme in the word light with white. In the beginning of the poem the narrator states he had a dream that he could see a million black faces just like him. This comes off to me as if the person associates himself with having the skin tone dark or even being a dark figure. That could be used or seen as racism because he is describing faces being of one skin tone. However it could mean joy to him because it is making him feel not isolated but accompanied by others just like him. It then continues, “a nightmare dream” and this could represent him suffering or being terrified. “Quicker than light all them faces turned dead white”, could mean the nightmare was something as fast as light using exaggeration to compare speed to a dream that probably did not last long, so it was a short one. All the faces turning dead white could be all the people in the dream died and looked white maybe skin tone turning pale once dead. But what confused me was how the poem ended, “whirling treble of a cat gut lace” treble and catgut meaning harmonic sounds as if it was peaceful and somehow the nightmare ended and he felt at peace is what i understood from this.

  5.   Rawdah Rahim said:

    The one stanza, five-lined, unrhymed 23-word poem, “The Pool” by H.D is a minimalist piece that is difficult to comprehend because of its vague description and unanswered questions. The obvious setting of the poem is taken place at a pool, maybe a tide pool given the fact that the speaker is carrying a net. In the poem, the speaker sees something in the pool, and questions, “Are you alive?” (1) They touch it and using simile to compare the reflex to one that “quiver like a sea-fish.” (1), they then cover the thing with a net. The poem concluded with the person wondering what the thing is. It is unclear who the person is, what the thing is and what it has to do with the individual. The details are straightforward, yet so involved with its hidden messages.
    The poem poses a couple of questions, more than it provides as indicated in the first and last line of the stanza. The million dollar question, “What are you?” (1) What is it that she is looking at? Is it themselves as they look back at her reflection through the water? The person might have been referring to themselves as “you” to explain the difficulty they are having to self-discovery. Or is it something physical that is being held in their hands that reminds them of something? The “you” might be referring to a literal object that may trigger their hippocampus to reflect on their past, present or future. The lack of detail, description, and history of the speaker leaves the reader to have a million interpretations of this simple poem.

  6.   Navneet Kaur said:

    The poem I decided to write about is Danse Russe written by poet William Carlos Williams. This poem is a in a form of one stanza that portrays many views on one characters life and then one sentence at the end that seems t tie everything together. First the poet depicts a picture of a young man who seemed to isolated from his family. I come to realize this when the the poet in the first stanza describes the early morning as his wife and kid is asleep and he is in the north room that he calls his own. This gave me the vibe that he is alone in then morning and he maybe wants the company of his wife, but as I continue to read I come to realize that he maybe comfortable with being alone. I think this because when the poet states “dance naked, grotesquely before my mirror waving my shirt around my head.” But shortly after this the poet goes on describing the character being maybe unhappy with the way he looks. This poem seemed to jump from feeling to another feeling and showed the average confusion a person feels sometimes in their life. But looking at the concluding statement the poet made “Who shall say I am not the happy genius of my household?” I came to a final conclusion that the poet is happy with the closeness and isolating feeling his household provides for him.

  7.   Alinoor Rahman said:

    The poem I decided to pick was “Not Waving but Drowning,” by Stevie Smith. The title actually was what caught my attention at first. It sounded like something that would come from a horror movie. It has a total of three stanzas. Each stanza has a total of 4 lines each, total of 12 lines throughout the poem. There is a clear rhyme scheme going on throughout the poem, rhyming at the end of specific lines (abcb rhyme scheme). Lines 2 and 4, lines 6 and 8, and lines 10 and 12 rhyme. There is a clear pattern in each stanza. There was a repetition of line 4 and 12, “and not waving but drowning.” The author who wrote this poem seems to purposely made it dark and depressing on purpose. With many words repeated such as “drowning,” “dead,” moaning.” From the first stanza I can understand that there was a man drowning, and that no one heard him. He still cried for help. Second stanza seems it gets confusing almost like there’s an outside person speaking now. “Poor chap” is said to make me believe that. I’m not sure if it’s a narrator, or a group of people that saw the man die. The third and final stanza the speaker goes back to the man or seems to. He’s still laying and “moaning.” He doesn’t seem to be drowning in the sea, but his own grave. I assume this from the words, “I was too far out all my life.”

  8.   Terry Chen said:

    The poem Danse Russe by William Carlos Williams has nineteen lines and two stanzas which includes enjambment and image. Danse Russe is interesting in a way that it only has two stanzas, one long stanza and one short stanza. Every line doesn’t pass a certain length and just continues on to the next line without periods or semicolon. William also uses metaphor but the comparison made it more confusing because William uses “flame-white disc” (4), something that is not commonly heard of or known. Additionally, William uses diction such as grotesquely and north room. The word choice north room puzzled me because I wasn’t sure what north room meant or why William chose this term. This poem doesn’t rhyme and don’t have equally divided stanzas as mention before. Based on the way William wrote this poem I assume that he wants to highlight the last stanza. The way this poem is laid out it seems that William is contradicting what he is saying in the last stanza. I assume that he is implying that he is suppose to be happy but he is not. William also creates an image by saying “Silken mists above shining trees” (5). I believe that William is trying to create an image of a sunny day with clouds because the light is reflecting off trees making it shining. When William uses compares sun with a very unique term which makes me believe that he wants the reader to be confuse the reader.

  9.   Natalia Paredes said:

    In the poem, “To a Snail” by Marianne Moore, the author presents this poem as a single paragraph composed of only three sentences. In its twelve lines, the poem does not show any kind of rhythm and do not address the title directly and that’s what makes it difficult. In the first sentence when Moore says “If “compression is the first grace of style” you have it.” She alludes the readers will recognize the quote, but in this case, without previous knowledge of the author, it was hard to make a connection. In the second sentence, Moore uses simile to compare the contractility of a snail with the modesty of a human, and this in a way changes the direction of the poem. In other words, it does not feel like the poem is directly talking about a snail or anything related to nature as it is expected to be. For example in the last nine lines, the author employs a curious word choice that anticipates the real theme she was trying to address in the poem. Moore, on the last lines of her poem, said “in the absence of feet, “a method of conclusions”; “a knowledge of principles,” in the curious phenomenon of your occipital horn.” She concludes with this assertive phrases wrapping up and clarifying her theme that was how to property write poems. This poem was complicated to analyze, not only because it takes many reads to understand the point the writer was trying to make, but because it was a somewhat complicated idea compressed into only a few sentences.

  10.   Jenson Hu said:

    The poem that I decided to choose was “Harlem” by Langston Hughes. This poem consists of four stanzas. They are broken up into the following: the 1st stanza has 1 line, the 2nd stanza has 7 lines, the 3rd stanza has 2 lines, and the 4th stanza has 1 line, for a total of 11 lines. There is a rhyme in the poem, however, it is only in the second stanza. There is a rhyme at the end of every other line. For example, line 2 ends with sun and line 4 ends with run. In addition, line 5 ends with meat, and line 7 ends with sweet. I believe that the meaning behind this poem is to see the possible outcomes of a person’s dream and what it can become. I believe this because the first stanza says “What happens to a dream deferred?”. In other words, this raises questions as to what would happen when someone has given up on their goals. The second stanza supports this idea by using simile to compare a dream to something that is becoming bad. For example, “Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore — and then run?” This could mean that if somebody has given up on a dream, they would never go back to try and achieve it. After reading this poem over a couple of times, I feel that this poem has a negative connotation because almost all of the lines indicate possible results of a dream being given up.

  11.   Stephanie Simondac said:

    The poem I chose to analyze was “Motto,” by Langston Hughes, I randomly picked this poem to challenge myself because I knew if I specifically picked out a poem I would want an “easy” one. After reading the poem for the first time I immediately recognized the words rhymed. I also noticed that it has repetition throughout the poem; it repeats the word “I,” such as “I play,” “I dig,” “I stay alive,” and “I live and learn,” which gives more emphasis. The poem itself isn’t too lengthy; it has two stanzas and I think maybe it was short because mottos are usually brief and straight to the point.
    In the first stanza, Langston Hughes says, “I play it cool I dig all jive. That’s the reason I stay alive,” this indicates how the character keeps himself calm and collected for his own protection. Also in his second stanza, Hughes says, “Dig and be dug in return,” is his motto. I think this suggests that because the character “plays it cool” they “stay alive,” it shows the relationship between actions and consequences. Therefore it shows the connections between the first stanza and his motto. Hughes says “Dig and be dug in return,” which I think refers, based on everything I analyzed so far, to good karma maybe? It gives me the impression that if one does good, they should receive good as well.

  12.   Matthew Outar said:

    The poetic piece that resonated heavily with me was “The Pool” by H.D. This one stanza poem serves as an immediate attention grasper. Upon first glance it is apparent that this piece leaves most of the description at the readers discretion. He began the poem with a question, “Are you alive?”, presumably talking to the pool. He then continues to develop the lifelike characteristics of the pool through the use of figurative language. In lines two and three he introduces a simile, “I touch you. You quiver like a sea-fish.” The lines in this poem are very clear and paint a vivid picture of the pool however there is still some level of uncertainty. It’s very difficult to find the author’s purpose of writing this piece. The simplicity of this poem leaves much of the interpretations up to the readers imagination. This is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this poem; its simplicity is what allows it to be so complex. The lack of detail mostly due to the length of the piece definitely serves as an obstacle in its analyzation. One interesting poem in this poem is the last line, “What are you-banded one?”. The very simple details in conjunction with this cliffhanger ending left me as the reader riddled. I believe the simplicity of this poem causes it to be viewed through a multitude of perspectives. This is what causes this very simple poem to become this complex masterpiece.

  13.   Jason Jiang said:

    The poem that intrigued me was a poem by Stevie Smith called “Not Waving but Drowning”. In the poem Stevie uses apostrophe as when I first read the poem it seemed like Stevie was talking about somebody else drowning, but then at the end of the poem he starts mentioning how he is the one drowning. This makes me wonder if he was talking about himself the whole time in the poem since he mentions “poor chap, he always loved larking and now he’s dead’ which makes it seem like he’s referencing another individual. The shape of the poem isn’t out of the ordinary as it is made up of three stanzas without many rhymes involved. I don’t think the structure of the poem will change how the reader interprets the poem, but the words definitely do, as the poem makes you question who the writer is referring to.

  14.   Wenhui Ding said:

    The poem I choose for this assignment is “Lament of the Frontier Guard” translated by Ezra Pound. This poem seems to be free of any rhymes. It is clear that images postulated from lines made up the whole poem. Those pictures reveal the cruel truth of warfare. People suffer from warfare no matter soldiers or civilians. Thousands of soldiers stayed on the battlefield forever. What they left for their families were those unrecognizable bones. Villages involved in the war were no longer villages but shabby remnants of bricks and trees. Among those long lines of the poem, one short line stays out, which is “Barbarous Kings”. This is the ultimate causation of all warfare at the Northen Gate. Before this line, the author is depicting an exact image that how ruined the place was. With broken walls and deary lands, the only thing would remain in that desert is countless bones. After the short line, there is a long sentence separated into several lines. These lines expressed that sorrow was contagious among civilians of the entire empire. “Three hundred and sixty thousand” seemed to give an accurate number of soldiers. But numbers here were vague in their meanings. There might be more soldiers assembled. With this amount of soldiers, it means that there would be no more healthy young men to do cultivation. I would say that the author wants to convey the idea that what warfare would bring to those mundane civilians are not only death but also starvation. Also, it could be interpreted that the king of this empire was indifferent to those sacrificed soldiers. The king just treated them like simple figures on the paper and kept assembling more soldiers. Rihoku was a remarkable general in the military force. Without such a marvelous general, barbarous men were like tigers hunting for their easy dinners. They were like invincible for soldiers without a brilliant leader. Soldiers were destinated to die once they confront those barbarous men. More brilliant leaders shall be selected to protect people and their wealth. As what I would say after I read this poem, sorrow was not only for the loss of countless soldiers and villages but also for the starvation that civilians may suffer and the indifference which they had already suffered from the king. More importantly, the sorrow was also for the great loss of the excellent general, which was furtherly suggesting that more appropriate candidates for generals should be promoted to protect people and the country more effectively.

  15.   Veronica Pena said:

    At first glance Marianne Moore’s poem, To a Snail, looks short and simple. It is made up of 12 lines creating 2 sentences. This poem doesn’t rhyme and when first read, it is hard to understand what Moore is trying to convey. In order to try to understand this poem it must be read more than once. This is what makes it so difficult, and even then it is hard to understand her full meaning. To try to understand it I began with the assumption that she is talking about writing poetry. I tried to compare it to her poem “Poetry”, to see the similarities. The more I read it I began to notice her language would make sense if talking about how to write poetry. Sentences like “Contractility is a virtue as modesty is a virtue” I took to allude to her compressed, straight to the point poem. With the poem she is saying all she needs to without making it long and dragged out. I believe she is questioning the rules of poetry and how poems are seen as lengthy. I believe she is trying to say poems should do more than just try to fit into one superficial style.

  16.   kyle swedin said:

    The poem I chose to write about was, Design, by Robert Frost. The reason I chose this poem was because out of all of the poem this one I think I actually understood. The whole poem talks about a white spider and a white flower and a white moth. I think the poem is about life and death because I feel like the color white is supposed to symbolize life since each thing that is white is living and I think that the spider killing the moth in the poem shows an important part which is death. this poem follows a rhyming scheme of A, B B, A A, B B. This rhyming helped me interpret the poem to because I think when a poem rhymes it is not as difficult to analyze. Im not sure if the spider and moth are supposed to represent something else.

  17.   Shayna Laya Frankel said:

    Stevie Smith’ s, “Waving but Drowning”, conveys much meaning and emotion with few words and stanzas. It’s structure and repetition mirror it’s content. To start, The dead man described in the first two lines of “Waving but Drowning”, is the embodiment of an anonymous other. Whereas the second two lines describe a personal experience, or the idiosyncratic voice/angle.
    This the first stanza sets the stage and tone of the poem. “The Dead man lay moaning”,
    I understood the voice of I to be the dead/dying man’s perspective. He perceives his reality as drowning and realizes others simply see a wave. Individuals are engulfed in their own experiences, perhaps even those of depression. This perspective is highly personal and the other may just see a happy wave. The perspective of other is often warped from what lies beyond our own surfaces. I believe this line to be employing a more metaphorical spin on drowning. For instance drowning in work. Because in the last line the poet crafts the Idiosyncratic voice to state, “I was much to far out all my life and not waving but drowning”. In this context I understand the poet is crafting a parallel between drowning all his life and actually drowning. So this poem utilizes metaphor, I also think that it employs anaohora, or repetitive lines. Aswell as a form of a chiastix structure. First two lines a, second two lines b
    Four lines of the second paragraph is a
    Four lines of the second paragraph is b
    This reflection of self and other mirrors the self introspection of the poems meaning aswell as it’s own format.

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