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Openings

Robert Herrick

In the world of writing, there are many different forms of literature that exist. Of the different forms of literature, they all have their own style that makes them distinctive and unique from each other. One of these distinctive forms of writing would be poetry, a rather complex form of literature that is written in metric form. In poetry, a poem usually conveys an idea that is reinforced by the lines and words in the poem. It requires close attention of the reader to truly pull out the meaning of a poem. A poem that demonstrates this style of poetry would be To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time, by Robert Herrick. In this specific poem, the idea of taking advantage of one's youth is clearly expressed through the usage of the lines and words in the poem.

Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold, an English poet, wrote the poem "Dover Beach." This poem was first published in 1867. The setting of the poem is the English ferry port of Dover, Kent. This is the narrowest part of the English Channel and this is where Arnold honeymooned in 1851.

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot was the 20th century's foremost critic on Dante, and in turn Dante served as, "the most persistent and deepest influence upon [Eliot's] verse." (Manganiello,5). The poem begins with an epigraph from Dante's Inferno. As this is the first thing the audience reader encounters, it seems we are presented with a fundamental basis from which to approach the work. In this scene set in the epigraph, the speaker Guido overcomes initial reluctance and reveals to Dante his identity, assuming that Dante, since he is in Hell, will never be able to return to the world of the living to tell Guido's story. Immediately following the epigraph is the first line: "Let us go then, you and I." The speaker is Prufrock, but there seems to be some ambiguity with regard to who exactly the "you" is referring to. Although debatable, I believe the "you" is the implied audience. Just as Virgil guides Dante through Hell, just as Guido reluctantly relates his story to Dante, Prufrock will take us through his world, conveying to us, his audience, the sad story of a lonely unclaimed life.

Poets of past eras have given little consideration, if any, to the structure of time as a temporal arrangement of verse. If the element of time was ever involved, it was to emphasize the drama of nature. In such cases, the language would reflect the obvious linear progression of time's unchanging influence on living entities. The imagery of young maidens plucking roses from dirt that would soon enough reclaim them, or the building rhythm and meter of spring's triumph over winter illustrate the one-dimensional view of temporality well known in Romantic and Victorian poetry. The chronological aesthetic of older poetry contrasts significantly with the modernist style of the twentieth century, particularly that of T.S Eliot's. In his early poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", the titular character exists in a realm where past, present, and future relies only on the stability of his own timid and fragile psyche. Time is instead experienced in the mind; something perceived, transient, and immeasurable. Thus by altering the variables that traditionally give poetry a linear timeline (meter, imagery, language, etc.), Eliot shows how time is a complex and subjective human reality shaped by an individual's perception.

Emily Dickinson

On the surface Emily Dickinson's famous poem "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" describes a fictitious event in which Dickinson is picked up by a humanized version of death and taken away with him in his carriage. However Dickinson litters her poem with a variety of literary techniques en route to creating a much deeper and more chilling meaning for the poem. Through the extended use of mainly symbolism, metaphor, personification, and various poetic devices Dickinson created creates an allegory in which she communicates that death is not to be feared but instead accepted as a regular part of life.

Tom Wayman

The author of "Wayman in Love" seems to be struggling with his conscience regarding a sexual encounter. Images such as "bed" (line 1), "embraces" (2), "passionate" (3), "kiss" (11), and "intimate" (20) which describe the type of encounter between Wayman and "the girl" (1). The introduction of the characters "Doktor Marx" (9) and "Doktor Freud" (25), support my theory of his emotional struggle to successfully complete his quest.

Maya Angelou

"To every woman a happy ending" (ll.25) concludes Marge Piercy's "Barbie Doll". This final line serves as a very fitting conclusion to a poem that is simply overflowing with dark irony and gruesome imagery. These two tone-setting techniques help the reader to understand the sarcastic nature of the whole work and help convey the message that not every woman can fit the mold of "perfection" that society has set. On a broader level the poem serves as a social commentary on the type of society we have created and the immense, superficial pressures it requires people to deal with. Boiled down to its most fundamental form, this poem tells a story, based around a very loose timeline, about a particular girl and her brief and tragic struggle to deal with societies society's image of women. The story is told in four short stanzas, and is narrated somewhat as a fable, bringing an air of disbelief and childishness to an all too real subject.

Elizabeth Bishop

Some people live their lives gloriously unexamined, becoming so swept up in the hustle and bustle of our ever-changing, fast-paced, technological world that they rarely, if ever, pause to reflect upon the miracle that is life itself. Most people don't fit into this extreme of a category; however, it would be a blatant lie to presume that the vast majority of people are entirely above it. For the most part, "we" as a general populace are absorbed in what is considered necessary for survival, whether it be hunting for food in places where it is still essential to do so or hunting for a job within a competitive market. What time is there to "sit back and smell the roses" when there is so much to be done?

Every now and again though, an epiphany strikes us like a bolt of lightning – quick as a flash and practically without warning – transforming our ordinary, mundane life into one of beauty and wonder. This is exactly the context of Elizabeth Bishop's "The Fish," a seemingly unexceptional poem whose real value lies in prompting us to look closer at and reconnect with our surroundings.

Maya Angelou

Perhaps the most common theme among poetry is love. There are love poems about the joy and desire of love. There are love poems about the lack and loss of love, as well. In her free verse poem "Touched By An Angel," Maya Angelou discusses the way these aspects of love interact. Instead of simply discussing these two facets of love, however, the poem expresses the fact that while love can hurt us, it is ultimately the only thing that can heal the hurt that it has caused. Through personification, presentation of conflicting views, and a universal subject, the three stanzas of the poem express how love can be hurtful when it is gone, yet without love and all that it requires of us, we would never be truly happy and liberated.

Closings

Shakespeare

By performing a close reading upon Shakespeare's seventy-third sonnet, it is revealed that every line interacts with another. Every word has a very precise place for a very precise reason. Without the interplay of the images and rhythm formed by the structure of the sonnet the emotional effect would have been lessened and less memorable. The literary techniques layered against the simplicity of the sentiment layered against structure layered against the diction of the sonnet is masterful, though; calling Shakespeare a master of the sSonnet and the English language is hardly praise enough.

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