Here’s a Word version of the post on Poetry. Its formatting is better.
Here’s a Word version of the post on Poetry. Its formatting is better.
Here are some questions to think about as you read the poems. You do not need to write responses:
From “The Figure a Poem Makes” Robert Frost
It should be of the pleasure of a poem itself to tell how it can. The figure a poem makes. It begins in delight and ends in wisdom. . . .It begins in delight, it inclines to the impulse, it assumes direction with the first line laid down, it runs a course of lucky events, and ends in a clarification of life–not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion.
From “Education by Poetry” Robert Frost
Poetry begins in trivial metaphors, pretty metaphors, “grace” metaphors, and goes on to the profoundest thinking that we have. Poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another. People say, “why don’t you say what you mean?” We never do that, do we, being all of us too much poets. We like to talk in parables and in hints and in indirections–whether from diffidence or some other instinct. . . .What I am pointing out is that unless you are at home in the metaphor, unless you have had your proper poetical education in the metaphor, you are not safe anywhere.
From Louis Untermeyer’s commentary in New Enlarged Anthology of Robert Frost’s Poems
At another time he remarked, with a half-joking reference to the poetic terms in textbooks, “Instead of a Realist–if I must be classified–I think I might better be called a Synecdochist; for I am fond of the synecdoche in poetry, that figure of speech in which we use a part for the whole.” That playful statement might be a key to Frost’s method: “a part for the whole.” Without telling all, he suggests all. “All that an artist needs is samples.
From Nature Ralph Waldo Emerson
The charming landscape which I saw this morning is indubitably made up of some twenty or thirty farms. Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning the woodland beyond. But none of them owns the landscape. There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet.
To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. . . . The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. [Emerson goes on the classify the “uses” of nature into a hierarchy]:
1. Commodity: Emerson calls this the lowest, yet perfect in its kind, and the one which all men understand and make use of—“Beasts, fire, water, stones, and corn serve him.”
2. Beauty: Emerson says that “the sky, the mountain, the tree, the animal, give us a delight in and for themselves . . . . The eye is the best of artists.”
3. Language: Emerson explains this use by saying:
(1) Words are signs of natural facts.
(2) Particular natural facts are symbols of particular spiritual facts.
(3) Nature is the symbol of spirit.
To illustrate, he says that “We say the heart to express emotion, the head to denote thought . . . .”
4. Discipline: Emerson says that the last use includes the previous as parts of itself. In this highest use, Nature teaches us intellectual and moral truths as well as physical facts. Among other things, “She pardons no mistakes. Her yea is yea, and her nay is nay. . . . Nature’s dice are always loaded.” Emerson goes on to give the example of a farm: “What is a farm but a mute gospel? The chaff and the wheat, weeds and plants, blight, rain, insects, sun. . . .”
Evening Hawk Robert Penn Warren
From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds, Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding The last tumultuous avalanche of Light above pines and the guttural gorge, The hawk comes. His wing Scythes down another day, his motion Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear The crashless fall of stalks of Time. The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error. Look! Look! he is climbing the last light Who knows neither Time nor error, and under Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings Into shadow. Long now, The last thrush is still, the last bat Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics. His wisdom Is ancient, too, and immense. The star Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain. If there were no wind we might, we think, hear The earth grind on its axis, or history Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.
The Onset Robert Frost
AAlways the same, when on a fated night At last the gathered snow lets down as white As may be in dark woods, and with a song It shall not make again all winter long Of hissing on the yet uncovered ground, I almost stumble looking up and round, As one who overtaken by the end Gives up his errand, and lets death descend Upon him where he is, with nothing done To evil, no important triumph won, More than if life had never been begun. Yet all the precedent is on my side: I know that winter death has never tried The earth but it has failed: the snow may heap In long storms an undrifted four feet deep As measured against maple, birch and oak, It cannot check the peeper’s silver croak; And I shall see the snow all go down hill In water of a slender April rill That flashes tail through last year’s withered brake And dead weeds, like a disappearing snake. Nothing will be left white but here a birch, And there a clump of houses with a church.
A Boundless Moment Robert Frost
He halted in the wind, and—what was that Far in the maples, pale, but not a ghost? He stood there bringing March against his thought, And yet too ready to believe the most. “Oh that’s the Paradise-in-bloom,” I said; And truly it was fair enough for flowers Had we but in us to assume in March Such white luxuriance of May for ours. We stood a moment so in a strange world, Myself as one his own pretense deceives; And then I said the truth (and we moved on). A young beech clinging to its last year’s leaves.
Hamatreya Ralph Waldo Emerson
Bulkeley, Hunt, Willard, Hosmer, Meriam, Flint, Possessed the land which rendered to their toil Hay, corn, roots, hemp, flax, apples, wool and wood. Each of these landlords walked amidst his farm, Saying, "'Tis mine, my children's and my name's. How sweet the west wind sounds in my own trees! How graceful climb those shadows on my hill! I fancy these pure waters and the flags Know me, as does my dog: we sympathize; And, I affirm, my actions smack of the soil.' Where are these men? Asleep beneath their grounds: And strangers, fond as they, their furrows plough. Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs; Who steer the plough, but cannot steer their feet Clear of the grave. They added ridge to valley, brook to pond, And sighed for all that bounded their domain; 'This suits me for a pasture; that's my park; We must have clay, lime, gravel, granite-ledge, And misty lowland, where to go for peat. The land is well,--lies fairly to the south. 'Tis good, when you have crossed the sea and back, To find the sitfast acres where you left them.' Ah! the hot owner sees not Death, who adds Him to his land, a lump of mould the more. Hear what the Earth says:-- Earth-Song 'Mine and yours; Mine, not yours, Earth endures; Stars abide-- Shine down in the old sea; Old are the shores; But where are old men? I who have seen much, Such have I never seen. 'The lawyer's deed Ran sure, In tail, To them, and to their heirs Who shall succeed, Without fail, Forevermore. 'Here is the land, Shaggy with wood, With its old valley, Mound and flood. "But the heritors?-- Fled like the flood's foam. The lawyer, and the laws, And the kingdom, Clean swept herefrom. 'They called me theirs, Who so controlled me; Yet every one Wished to stay, and is gone, How am I theirs, If they cannot hold me, But I hold them?' When I heard the Earth-song, I was no longer brave; My avarice cooled Like lust in the chill of the grave. When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer Walt WhitmanWHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer; When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me; When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them; When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick; Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself, In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
pity this busy monster, manunkind e. e. cummingspity this busy monster, manunkind, not. Progress is a comfortable disease: your victim (death and life safely beyond) plays with the bigness of his littleness --- electrons deify one razorblade into a mountainrange; lenses extend unwish through curving wherewhen till unwish returns on its unself. A world of made is not a world of born --- pity poor flesh and trees, poor stars and stones, but never this fine specimen of hypermagical ultraomnipotence. We doctors know a hopeless case if --- listen: there's a hell of a good universe next door; let's go
The remainder of the poems assigned are in the anthology on the pages listed. There will be a multiple choice quiz on the poems at the end of the last class in which the poems are discussed. The test will consist of two parts, an in-class analysis of a short Robert Frost poem not discussed in class (written in a blue book), and a short comparison of two of the assigned poems to be written (and word-processed double-spaced Times New Roman 12, 1 and 1/2 to 2 typed pages) outside of class and turned in the day of the test. The model we look at will be a comparison of "The Onset" and "Desert Places," so those will be off-limits for the comparison. The topic will be the juxtaposition of nature and natural processes with human concerns.
Click here for ENGL 2329:009 (9:30 TR) Syllabus:
Click here for ENGL 2329:008 (8:00 TR) Syllabus:
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The syllabuses are posted here.