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Poems for beginners 
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Post Poems for beginners
I've been thinking about starting this thread for a while. Actually Penelope gave me the idea or maybe it was hers from the start, I don't remember. It's also quite possible that Saffron has already done this at some point. My apologies if this is so.

Anyway, the idea is to post poems here that are fairly straightforward, accessible to those of us who don't read a lot of poetry and tend to be easily intimidated. We probably won't post any Shakespearean sonnets here any time soon, although they aren't as bad as you might think.

I like John Ciardi's idea that poems should be experienced like a figure skater's performance. Not analyzed like a specimen under glass. So as you're reading a poem, don't worry so much if you don't get something right away. Just go with it. The meaning may become apparent with the experience of reading it.

As such, I would suggest that comments go after the poems or even in spoiler tags so as not to influence the experience.


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Last edited by geo on Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:56 am, edited 2 times in total.



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Post Re: Poems for beginners
Richard Cory
by Edwin Arlington Robinson.

Whenever Richard Cory went downtown,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean-favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

The last line of this poem is the shocker. It puts everything you just read about Richard Cory in a whole new perspective. You, the reader, must reevaluate everything you've been told about Richard Cory with the significance of his final act.


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Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:54 am
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Post Re: Poems for beginners
Annabel Lee
by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


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Post Re: Poems for beginners
Quote:
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


Very nice.

I've started my intro to Shakespeare course. It's pretty good.
What I'd really like to warm up to is his tragedies.



Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:14 am
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Post Re: Poems for beginners
ant wrote:
Quote:
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


Very nice.


How do you interpret the last four lines? Does the performance of the poem change with the lines?


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Post Re: Poems for beginners
geo wrote:
ant wrote:
Quote:
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


Very nice.


How do you interpret the last four lines? Does the performance of the poem change with the lines?


:blush:

Can you please provide your ideas so that I may be instructed? :thanks2:



Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:27 am
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Post Re: Poems for beginners
. . . And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


What is the narrator doing here?


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Post Re: Poems for beginners
geo wrote:
. . . And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


What is the narrator doing here?



expressing grief.
prior to that, declaring that heavenly bodies bring to him memories of his beloved.

:?:



Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:45 pm
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Post Re: Poems for beginners
ant wrote:
geo wrote:
. . . And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


What is the narrator doing here?



expressing grief.
prior to that, declaring that heavenly bodies bring to him memories of his beloved.

:?:

Understanding that Poe has a penchant towards the macabre, what might this guy be doing here? Is he actually lying down with his bride, his dead bride?


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Post Re: Poems for beginners
geo wrote:
ant wrote:
geo wrote:
. . . And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


What is the narrator doing here?



expressing grief.
prior to that, declaring that heavenly bodies bring to him memories of his beloved.

:?:

Understanding that Poe has a penchant towards the macabre, what might this guy be doing here? Is he actually lying down with his bride, his dead bride?



I like your first question "Does the performance of the poem change with the lines?"

And perhaps I'm having difficulty understanding what you mean by the performance of the poem.
I'll tell you it reminded me of Romeo's idealization of Juliette:

“But soft,
what light through yonder window breaks? / It is the east and Juliet
is the sun!”



It seems to me that the narrator has done something similar in a sense. His beloved was and still is an ideal regardless of her death.
Romeo's love for Juliette, and her love for him, was almost too perfect for their life on earth.

Considering what you've brought to my attention about Poe and his penchant for the macabre:
No, he is not lying down with his bride. There's larger significance than what the words literally mean. The narrator so idealizes his love for Annabel that death itself can not sever his attachment to her.


Quote:
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.



:?: :?:



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Post Re: Poems for beginners
Quote:
I like John Ciardi's idea that poems should be experienced like a figure skater's performance. Not analyzed like a specimen under glass.


:hmm:
Am I doing that to Poe's poem?

It's the first time I've read it.
I really enjoyed it and need to read through it a few more times.



Last edited by ant on Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Poems for beginners
I wrote this earlier, but quickly deleted it because I wanted to see where you would go with it. Here's my interpretation.

This last stanza shocks us with the revelation that the narrator is actually sleeping with the corpse of his beloved. Throughout the poem the narrator alludes to gods being jealous of the couple's love, so jealous that they took his beloved away. The reader initially takes this as poetic license and hyperbole. Indeed the poem has a pleasing sing-song rhyme-scheme and contains much beautiful imagery. But these last lines force us to reevaluate everything we've heard so far and consider the possibility that these are the musings of a madman. The unreliable narrator is one of Poe's specialties.

This poem appears in John Ciardi's book, HOW DOES A POEM MEAN? Although Ciardi doesn't offer his own interpretation, this poem is grouped with other poems that have a strong lyrical and rhythmic quality. If you read this poem aloud, you will fall into its rhythm quickly. It would almost make a good lullaby if not for its morbid themes.


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Post Re: Poems for beginners
ant wrote:
Quote:
I like John Ciardi's idea that poems should be experienced like a figure skater's performance. Not analyzed like a specimen under glass.


:hmm:
Am I doing that to Poe's poem?

It's the first time I've read it.
I really enjoyed it and need to read through it a few more times.


Ciardi suggests that we read a poem much the same way we would watch a performance. You may not know exactly what's going on at first, but you still follow the action and just enjoy the ride. Don't worry about the meaning at first. It will come to you.

I'm trying to think of poems that force you to rethink everything as the final line (or final stanza) comes. Annabelle Lee may or may not be one of these poems.

Ciardi's essay is here:

http://www.csun.edu/~krowlands/Content/ ... ciardi.pdf


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Post Re: Poems for beginners
Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?
by Thomas Hardy

"Ah, are you digging on my grave
My loved one? -- planting rue?"
-- "No, yesterday he went to wed
One of the brightest wealth has bred.
'It cannot hurt her now,' he said,
'That I should not be true.'"

"Then who is digging on my grave?
My nearest dearest kin?"
-- "Ah, no; they sit and think, 'What use!
What good will planting flowers produce?
No tendance of her mound can loose
Her spirit from Death's gin.' "

"But some one digs upon my grave?
My enemy? -- prodding sly?"
-- "Nay: when she heard you had passed the Gate
That shuts on all flesh soon or late,
She thought you no more worth her hate,
And cares not where you lie."

"Then, who is digging on my grave?
Say -- since I have not guessed!"
-- "O it is I, my mistress dear,
Your little dog, who still lives near,
And much I hope my movements here
Have not disturbed your rest?"

"Ah yes! You dig upon my grave . . .
Why flashed it not on me
That one true heart was left behind!
What feeling do we ever find
To equal among human kind
A dog's fidelity!"

"Mistress, I dug upon your grave
To bury a bone, in case
I should be hungry near this spot
When passing on my daily trot.
I am sorry, but I quite forgot
It was your resting-place."


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Post Re: Poems for beginners
geo wrote:
I wrote this earlier, but quickly deleted it because I wanted to see where you would go with it. Here's my interpretation.

This last stanza shocks us with the revelation that the narrator is actually sleeping with the corpse of his beloved. Throughout the poem the narrator alludes to gods being jealous of the couple's love, so jealous that they took his beloved away. The reader initially takes this as poetic license and hyperbole. Indeed the poem has a pleasing sing-song rhyme-scheme and contains much beautiful imagery. But these last lines force us to reevaluate everything we've heard so far and consider the possibility that these are the musings of a madman. The unreliable narrator is one of Poe's specialties.

This poem appears in John Ciardi's book, HOW DOES A POEM MEAN? Although Ciardi doesn't offer his own interpretation, this poem is grouped with other poems that have a strong lyrical and rhythmic quality. If you read this poem aloud, you will fall into its rhythm quickly. It would almost make a good lullaby if not for its morbid themes.


I wanted to suggest necrophilia, but stopped myself at the last minute.
I will need to read the poem out loud this evening when I have some alone time.

I read somewhere that art can be thought of as a reflection of the artist's emotional state.
Might we be able to say the same about poetry?
I am not familiar with Poe's biography.
Might Annabel Lee be a reflection of Poe's emotional state of mind?



Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:07 pm
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