How to Read a Poem
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Lucid, entertaining and full of insight, How To Read A Poem is designed to banish the intimidation that too often attends the subject of poetry, and in doing so to bring it into the personal possession of the students and the general reader.
- Offers a detailed examination of poetic form and its relation to content.
- Takes a wide range of poems from the Renaissance to the present day and submits them to brilliantly illuminating closes analysis.
- Discusses the work of major poets, including John Milton, Alexander Pope, John Keats, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, W.B. Yeats, Robert Frost, W.H.Auden, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, and many more.
- Includes a helpful glossary of poetic terms.
Ferdinand Klein. Who clipped the lion’s wings And flea’d his rump and pared his claws? . . . ‘Klein’, which means ‘small’ in German, is literally a comedown from the noble-sounding ‘Sir Ferdinand’, suggesting that this upstart Jew (Klein is also a Jewish surname) has been clipped of his bogus grandeur rather as the lion’s wings are clipped. The poem actually performs a violent act of diminishing, even of humiliating, rather than simply speaking of it. Or think of the opening lines of Book 2 of
after this deviation into descriptiveness. Even so, the verbal quality of that description can be related to the selfreferential act which is the poem itself. Lines like ‘With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing’ and ‘His small but sullen horn’ betray a high degree of linguistic self-consciousness, as though the poet has his eye on the phrase rather than the object. ‘Small but sullen’ is a little too fastidiously qualifying, while ‘short shrill shriek’ overdoes the alliteration. The
sestet. stanza: a verse of a poem, composed in a particular metrical and rhyming form which is then repeated in the other verses. structure: a phenomenon (such as a poem) considered as a set of organised, interconnected parts. synecdoche: the use of a part of a whole to indicate the whole, e.g. ‘There were three new faces at the meeting.’ syntagmatic: in semiotic theory, the relations of a literary unit with what immediately precedes and follows it, as in a syntactical chain. syntax: the
33, 79, 95, 110–11 Kipling, Rudyard ‘Tommy’ 43 Koch, Kenneth 39–40, 41 Kristeva, Julia 2 labour 158 Lacan, Jacques 58 ‘Lamia’ (Keats) 77–8 language citizenship 11 distrust of 44–5 empiricism 11–12 estrangement 49–52 freedom 139 incarnation 59–60 materiality 48–9 modernism 44–5, 46 morality 28–9, 63 phenomenalisation of 62 poetry 2–3, 41–7, 67–8, 69 prose 25 texture/meaning 46 thing-like 140 tone 67 truth 11 unpredictability 20, 56 see also communication; words Larkin, Philip 25 ‘Days’ 125–6
Small-Pox’ 78–9 mood 66, 167 emotional value 112 ‘Fifty Faggots’ 161 sensibility 163 ‘The Solitary Reaper’ 152–3 tone 105, 116 value judgements 112 morality fiction 35, 36 language 28–9, 63 literature 29–30 poetry 27, 28–31 Wordsworth 153 Morris, Wiliam 14 Morrison, Van 107–8 ‘Mr. Edwards and the Spider’ (Lowell) 55–6 ‘Mr Eliot’s Sunday Morning Service’ (Eliot) 90–2 ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’ (Auden) 8 anti-heroism 6, 7 conversation style 3–4, 7 176 HTRD02.qxd 25/05/2006 05:19PM Page 177 Index