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Topics in American Poetry

Questions of Faith, Self-Identity, and Relationship With Family In "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke
An admittedly autobiographical poet, Michigan-born Theodore Roethke draws much of his influence for his subject matter from everyday life. Many of his poems deal with his own self-introspection and quest to find himself through verse. Roethke is a visceral poet whose evocative verse reflects real-life struggles and question...
963 words
3 pages
Nature in the Poem Rain and Two Other Poems by Langston Hughes
How does Hughes present nature in Rain and at least 2 other poems? The main theme Hughes stresses throughout ‘Rain’ is the abiding nature of Rain. This is shown very clearly in the first line of the poem, where Hughes states, ‘Rain. Floods. Frost. And after frost, rain’. This further accentuates the proposition that rain...
781 words
2 pages
An Analysis of Relationships in the Poems Full Moon, Little Frieda and View of a Pig by Langston Hughe
Explore How Hughes Presents Relationships in Full Moon and Little Frieda and At Least One Other Poem Hughes uses the description of his daughter to depict the relationship between humans and the natural world. His daughter is the epitome of innocence, described as a "spider's web", which has connotations of delicacy an...
659 words
2 pages
The Themes of Life and Death in Poems by Langston Hughes
Life and Death in Hughes’ Poetry Hughes employs the use of dramatic imagery to give the River Humber an appearance of an alive entity, ‘melting eastwards…..a loaded single vain’. The use of the word ‘vein’ is ambiguous as it could suggest a removal of sin after death; ‘draining away’. However, veins take deoxygenated blo...
684 words
2 pages
The Use of Repetition in The Emperor of Ice Cream by Wallace Stevens
In The Emperor of Ice Cream, Wallace Stevens uses form, imagery, and repetition to portray a theme of capturing the moment. His form, informal free-verse is relaxed. He uses the imagery of the women in their everyday dress, and the boys with flowers in newspaper to show a nonchalant attitude towards the event taking place....
291 words
1 page
The Poetry of Sylvia Plath: To Eva Descending the Stair and Edge
Poetry of Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath was an extremely passionate writer and poet. She was often completely candid and open in her poetry, with them being intensely autobiographical. Her experiences and the emotions that she felt because of these experiences that she went through in life directly translated in the poetry tha...
945 words
4 pages
Metaphors, Imagery, and Irony in Introduction to Poetry, a Poem by Billy Collins
Irony in “Introduction to Poetry” In Billy Collin’s poem “Introduction to poetry”, the speaker is assuming the role of a teacher who’s tasked with teaching poetry to unwilling students. Collins attempts to convince the audience that poetry is not such a difficult part of literature to understand, and reminds them of why...
582 words
3 pages
Symbolism and Themes in Nothing Gold Can Stay, a Poem by Robert Frost
When something is “too good to be true”, it most likely turns out to be false. Yet, when analyzing the poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” written by Robert Frost, it goes deeper into something being “too good to be true” and brings out symbolic pieces of evidence. This evidence can, in turn, focus the reader on the implied theme...
722 words
3 pages
The Innocence of Childbirth in Unknown Girl in the Maternity Ward, a Poem by Anne Sexton
Unknown Girl in the Maternity Ward Anne Sexton’s poem, “Unknown Girl in the Maternity Ward”, opens with the innocence of a child being born. However, as the poem goes on, the truth about the child’s existence surfaces. An unwed mother describes her child as she sees him, “You lie, a small knuckle on my white bed/lie, fist...
1,396 words
5 pages
Delusional Stereotype Among the Man's World in Donkey Gospel, a Book by Tony Hoagland
Donkey Gospel by Tony Hoagland focuses on how the world has formed a delusional stereotype amongst the man’s world. He includes personal life experiences within his poems, and while reading through what he has to say he allows us to travel through time and almost feel like we were there at that exact same moment of when his...
1,232 words
4 pages
Understanding the Use of Ode as a Grand Poem
 Ode (Gk ‘song’) A lyric poem, usually of some length. The main features are an elaborate stanza-structure, a marked formality and stateliness in tone and style (which make it ceremonious), and lofty sentiments and thoughts. In short, an ode is rather a grand poem; a full-dress poem. However, this said, we can distinguish...
469 words
1 page
A Perspective of Living with a Father with a Confused Mind in The Minefield, a Poem by Diane Thiel
In the poem “The Minefield” by Diane Thiel, the narrator expresses their point of view living with a father whose mind has been confused by dreadful memories of losing his friend during his childhood. There is an interpretation of the trauma it caused the father and the long-lasting effects it produced even years after the...
693 words
2 pages
Social Constructionism in Mending Wall, a Poem by Robert Frost
Social constructionism is the idea that there are boundaries that separate members of a society through certain means. As stated in the dictionary, it is defined as a social mechanism, phenomenon, or category created and developed by society; a perception of an individual, group, or idea that is 'constructed' through cultur...
1,409 words
5 pages
Imagery, Symbolism, and Other Literary Devices in We Real Cool, a Poem by Gwendolyn Brooks
There are countless methods that are applied in the field of writing in order to fully explain one’s thoughts. In the poem We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks, there is a constant use of repetition and symbolism that takes place. Written in 1959, a time in which jazz was one of the more popular genres in music this poem was co...
609 words
3 pages
The Guidance by Time Through One's Journey in Life in To an Empty Page, a Sonnet by Robert Pack
To an Empty Page Essay Robert Pack’s sonnet, “To an Empty Page”, is written in call/response format to show readers that time will guide one through their journey of life, but only he can discover what to make of it. In the sonnet’s structure, Pack writes in two columns, voice and echo. Voice functions as man- asking que...
470 words
2 pages
The Struggles of African Americans with Oppression and Hatred in Still I Rise, a Poem by Maya Angelou
Still I Rise You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the cer...
1,015 words
4 pages
Poe's Orientalist Addition to The Arabian Nights
Poe’s Orientalist Addition to The Arabian Nights The Arabian Nights is a very mysterious piece of literature, originally being told orally with the author unknown. These tales were first translated into English in 1706 (Fulford 213). The collection of stories revolves around the frame narrative of an Eastern sultan and his...
3,601 words
12 pages
A Personal Reflection on The Pink Car, a Poem by Mark Halliday
I aspire to be the pink car mentioned in the poem; the woman “implied by that sedan.” This poem is purposefully unsymbolic in choosing the color pink; however, the poem as a whole is symbolic in representing a person who is satisfied with his or her identity. I have always been more of a follower than a leader, simply beca...
333 words
1 page
The Use of Alliteration, Figurative Language, and Imagery in A Noiseless Patient Spider, a Poem by Walt Whitman
“A Noiseless Patient Spider” Explication “A Noiseless Patient Spider” is a poem written by Walt Whitman emphasizing on those seeking meaning and goals by going out in the world to explore. Throughout this poem, alliteration, figurative language, and imagery are used as literary devices to portray the theme. The author conv...
676 words
2 pages
A Literary Review of Birdsong, a Poem by Ellen Bass
Hints of Hope Ellen Bass, award winning American poet, says of her writing, “I work to speak in a voice that is meaningful communication. Poetry is the most intimate of all writing. I want to speak from me to myself and then from me to you” (“Ellen Bass”). Her style of direct, “meaningful” communication is seen in “Birdson...
1,832 words
7 pages
The Weakness of the City in Chicago by Carl Sandburg, To Brooklyn Bridge by Hart Crane, and Central Park by Robert Lowell
Characteristic Attitude Paper The city in context to poetry may be the most controversial topic that poets seem to disagree on with many poems and songs devoted to this subject. Artists such as Jay – Z and Billy Joel both reminiscing on their past in the city, although they speak about the same city their perspectives ar...
2,126 words
7 pages
The Awareness of Injustices in American Society System in HOWL and America by Allen Ginsberg
A Howl Against America        The ambiance of the 1950’s consisted of a very present stigma of an “us and them” atmosphere between conformists and nonconformists, which created harsh judgments between the two groups. When the majority of society stands for the same principle, allowing no deviation from the standard, the mi...
1,783 words
5 pages
The Factual Struggle of the Consequences in the Poems America and HOWL by Allen Ginsberg
Differences Compliment Better Than Similarities American society thrived in the 1950’s due to a vast majority of the population taking part in consumerism, thus feeding into the economy. Looking strictly at America less than a century ago, the American Dream of consumerism dominated society. While many accepted this lifest...
1,705 words
6 pages
An Analysis of October Mourning a Poetry Collection by Leslea Newman
Analysis of October Mourning Lesléa Newman’s poetry collection seems to use an almost musical quality to show respect to the suffering and injustice of Matthew Shepard’s tragic death. While fiction is always a good choice for telling a story, there is reason in choosing poetry instead; comparing, for example, the emotion...
446 words
2 pages
Sleeping Beauty's Sexual Scars in Anne Sexton's Briar Rose
Sleeping Beauty’s Sexual Scars in Anne Sexton’s “Briar Rose” Parents often use fairytales as bedtime stories for their children. Anne Sexton takes these often light-hearted and whimsical tales and spins them into a creation of her own. According to Diana Hume George in “An Overview of Sexton’s Canon,” Sexton, “updated thei...
1,346 words
5 pages