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Poetry Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Is Thomas Hardy Obsessed with the Past?

Many of Thomas Hardy’s poems are centered on the feelings summoned up when reminiscing about the past. On the surface, it seems as though Hardy is ‘obsessed with the past’ as many poems are laced with memories which conjure up feelings of nostalgia. It is important to consider, however, that this doesn’t necessarily mean that he is infatuated with bygones. It may also be the case that Hardy’s poetry is a means for him to comprehend and come to terms with the present. Hardy tries to reclaim the past in his poem, ‘Under the Waterfall’. Fundamentally, the narrator – thought to be Emma – experiences a Proustian moment as she plunges her arm into a basin of water. This stimulation…

Meeting at Night and Parting at Morning Commentary

In the two poems, “Meeting at Night” and “Parting at Morning”, Robert Browning tells about the meeting of two lovers at night who are in love with each other. In order to meet the woman, the man undergoes a long journey through the sea and land. However, even after all this trouble, he must be secretive because they are not allowed to see each other. The second poem, however, tells of the very next day, when the man leaves the woman and seems to move on. Browning structures these two poems in order to give the reader a better understanding of the meaning of the poem. At the beginning of the poem, the man seemingly recounts his journey, briefly describing…

Compare How Time Is Presented in Hour and One Other Poem

Both poems ‘Hour’ and ‘To His Coy Mistress’ present the power time has between two people. ‘Hour’ is a poem about two lovers who have one hour together and explores the ideas of material possesions and a modern reinterpretation of love. Where as ‘To His Coy Mistress’ is a poem where the man is trying to convince the woman to sleep with him and exploring the idea of living and enjoying your life whilst your young. Both of the poems use different types of poetic techniques to depict how time can effect the relationship of two lovers. In ‘Hour’ Duffy uses a metaphor at the start of the poem to allude how love has less power than time. When Duffy…

Bishop’s poetry

I agree with this assessment of Bishop’s poetry. Her poems on the syllabus certainly pose interesting questions about identity, awareness and one’s place in the world, indeed the universe, and they do so by means of a unique style. This style is influenced by Bishop’s acute awareness of the poet’s craft and her ability to work with both traditional forms (sestina and sonnet, for instance) and free verse. The questions that interested me most are those posed in ‘Questions of Travel’. These fascinated me because Bishop dedicated so much of her life to travel, yet in this poem she questions the motives behind travel and exploration. One stylistic feature that is characteristic of Bishop is the conversational tone and it…

Peter Skyrznecki

Our idea of belonging is a result of the choices that we make. We feel a sense of acceptance wherever we choose to belong. This is explored in Peter Skrzyneckis poem Feliks Skrzynecki and St Patricks showed the ides of alienation and belonging. They are shown through various techniques such as an allusion, direct speech and many more poetic techniques. Feliks Skrzynecki is a poem that shows a tribute to Peter Skrzyneckis father. Through the use of powerful and vivid imagery, the poet successfully conveys Feliks as a man who is comfortable, content and secure in his own identity. In this poem, concepts of belonging and not belonging occur within place, family, community and culture. The first stanza emphasizes the…

A Subaltern’s Love Song

“A Subaltern’s Love Song” is a rhapsodic poem that details the poet’s real-life infatuation. Betjeman does not use the military definition of subaltern here, but instead is referring to someone in an inferior position. The author struggles, somewhat happily, against his love interest as she continually bests him at tennis. In Literature, poems can often be very difficult for one to comprehend and interpret the author’s perspective. Many people grew only being exposed to the basic “Roses are red, violets are blue” form of poetic expression, so anything that fails to employ simple rhythmic phrases can be somewhat aloof to some people. Poetry is one of the most artistic forms of literature because it influences the author to express big…

Dangling Wires and Meatworks Poetry

Through the medium of poetry, composers are able to powerfully convey ideas and express personal opinions of the world around them. Robert Gray, an Australian poet who is known for his effective use of visual imagery, clearly evokes ideas and express personal concerns of ‘Global warming’ ‘sacrafice’ His incorporation of explicit language techniques, such as diction further accentuates his perspective towards the world around us. Flames, Dangling wires and Meatworks are a great examples of how Gray uses language devices to powerfully voice his opinions. Gray is a poet with many opinions and ideas to express, he effectively puts these ideas through poetry. One of Grays many influential poems Flames, dangling wires is a great example of how he conveys…

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes had become one of the most resounding names in American Literature. Of course, the primary reason for his success would be his adept use of words and the message he wants to convey. However, his racial profile could have also come into play in his popularity. But no one could deny the talent of Hughes in his work. His works display intricate design and a significant message such as on “Salvation. ” Langston Hughes had become one of the best known writers because the messages that he wants to convey are of great value to the society, particularly the value of being proud of one’s race. He was born into a relatively large family wherein he had eight…

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) belongs to the first generation of the English Romantic poets. He was born on 7th April, 1770 at Cockermouth, Cumberland in the Lake Districts of Northern England. He lost his mother only at the age of eight and his father at the age of thirteen. Thereafter he had to depend on the generosity of his relatives. He was sent to the Grammar School of Hawkshead in the heart of the Lake districts. In his boyhood he got close contact with the nature, which charmed him very much. At seventeen, he was sent to St. John’s College, Cambridge. He was a mediocre student and graduated from this college in 1791. He had a great passion for travelling. During…

How is Conflict Portrayed in the Poems in the Conflict Section?

The nature of conflict is a clash or coming together. There are many different types of conflict; it can come in varying scales of size and intensity. For example something which starts off as a family feud may end up as a World War. We can look at the causes of conflict, what actually happens or the effects. Tennyson’s ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ paints a picture of the glory and honour of soldiers in battle as it happens. It describes an incident during the Battle of Balaklava during the Crimean War. Sheers’ ‘Mametz Wood’ focuses on the aftermath and futility of war. Hughes’ ‘Hawk Roosting’ looked at the causes of conflict, someone who has power but wants more and…

“Beast” by Richard Wilbur

In “Beast” by Richard Wilbur, Wilbur uses poetic structures, paradox and the idea of balance between nature and humanity to display in the reader’s mind that nature is something that should not be looked down upon rather should be feared. In the first few stanzas, Wilbur displays the natural process that nature goes through, for example, he introduces paradox when the “ripped mouse” is “safe in the owl’s talon” stressing that there is balance within nature itself, additionally highlighting that nature is the source and creator of balance. Furthermore, Wilbur adds another paradox by showing that a “freed beast is in slumber”, confusing the reader because free beast would roam the world and cause chaos and havoc to those that…

War Photographer

The poet creates a gloomy and depressing mood, which is evident through the language used throughout the poem, and the vivid imagery that the poet creates in our minds. These aspects help to express the theme of the poem, which is the cruelty of war and human suffering. Firstly, the poet uses language to bring out the overall glum mood of the poem. In the first stanza, cumulative listing is used with the line “Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh. ” This overwhelms the reader with the immense number of places where war is common, bringing about a sense of gloominess and wide spread depression. Furthermore, by using the phrase “Something is happening”, the poet captivates our interest by creating a mood…

My Grandmothers House by Kamla Das

Kamala Das is one of the best poets in contemporary Indo-Anglian literature. Kamala Das, born in Kerala in 1934, is a bilingual writer. She writes in Malayalam, her mother tongue, under the pseudonym Madhavikkutty. Her poetry is an exploration of the geography of her own mind, and the lyric is an instance of such self-exploration. Through images of repulsion and horror, she brings out the emotional emptiness and sterility of her married life, and the intensity of her misery as a wife who had to submit to her husband whom she found repulsive, and with whom she had no emotional contact at all. She has won many prizes for her work . some of them being the P. E. N….

Sonnet 16 – John Milton

John Milton is considered to be the most significant English author after William Shakespeare. Although his chief work is “Paradise Lost”, he also wrote other wonderful poems, prose, as well as sonnets, in which he tackles a number of subjects which range from religious to political. Rarely is one piece of writing limited to one or the other of those fields. Among all the sonnets, Sonnet 16 is special because it refers to Milton’s blindness. It was written soon after the poet became blind and starts with a mood of discouragement and grief “When I consider how my light is spent…” but ends in a note of resignation for the situation occurred: “They also serve who only stand and waite….

English Literature: Poetry

This is a beautiful poem written by the poet Christina Rossetti. Rossetti is known for her contrasting themes of love and death she puts into her poems, ‘Remember’ is no exception. It is quite obvious that Rossetti is talking to a loved one in the poem, most likely a lover. From researching, I have found that Rossetti wrote this poem when she was still in love with Charles Cayley, and also the fact that there is correlation between her life experience and her poems. Falling in love with Charles Cayley, calling off their engagement, and publishing lots of poems, which then became her greatest collection of work. The struggle between the good times and the bad in “Remember” could happen…

Black Diamond Night

Black Diamond Night (a coalminer’s cemetery) Where the ebony, we call “Night”, Old black rocks sit under the twilight. Diamond shape eyes unclear and lonely, Sinister through hostile spirits only, I stumble across these stones without a bone. A solitary confinement alone, From a barren zone the light transcend. Only in time, our minds will mend. Endless valleys and limitless stones. These bones- these bones they sit alone. The abyss, of rotten cavities with no fill, A system no power can unwell the drill The blood that passed over without a spill. Peaks collapse into a spellbinding chill. They are trapped! They are trapped! Another diamond in the rough. Is what they left. Obsessed by the dead without a death….

Emily Dickinson’s Success is Counted Sweetest

Emily Dickinson’s “Success is Counted Sweetest” has been penned in iambic trimeter with the exception of the first two lines of the second stanza. The poem highlights aphoristic truths that are universal. In the first stanza, Emily Dickinson endeavors to define the true essence of success. The general impression is that success can be ‘counted’ by only those who have experienced it numerous times. Nevertheless, it is more precisely evaluated or counted by those who have never succeeded as they can apprehend its true value. In another poem, “I Had Been Hungry, All the Years”, Emily Dickinson writes that “Hunger-was a way / Of Persons outside Windows- / The Entering-takes away-“. For the true experience of life, failures are inevitable….

Themes- Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen’s poems have numerous themes that explore the negativity of war. Owens poems talk about the truth of war. The poems focus on the fear of war, horror, sacrifice, glory and questioning life’s purpose. . In particular, the poems “Mental Cases” and “Dulce Decorum Est” both strongly emphasise the reality and horrific experiences of war. Dulce Et Decorum Est shows what it was like during the war and what the soldiers experienced. Mental Cases explores the aftermath of the war and the lives of those young soldiers. Mental Cases is a strong and powerful poem that concerns the aftermath of war. The poem alludes to many horrific memories that each soldier witnessed and shows that each memory is there…

Gwen Harwood

Poetry creatively captures human experience, emotion and nature. Gwen Harwood employs a range of literary and poetic techniques such as imagery, religious allusions and personification to demonstrate the universality of concepts such as loss, death, memory and childhood. Through this, Harwood’s poetry to creates clear and strong perceptions of the continuity of experience and provide permanence to these transient elements of humanity. In ‘Triste, Triste’, Harwood explores the core themes of post coital sadness and the contradictory nature of the physical and spiritual realms that are created by the human body. These aspects all pertain to the human experience and growth of oneself. That is, the physicality of the skeleton, or frame, and the intellectual and creative importance of the…

Review of Living in Sin, My Papa’s Waltz, and The Ruined Maid

Living in Sin Overview The poem “Living in Sin” by Adrienne Rich is about a woman who is unhappy with her marriage. She struggles to imagine her dream of a perfect marriage over the reality of being unhappy with her husband. She seemed to expect something better than that of the situation she’s in. According to an analysis by Write Work, the woman’s life in the poem was sad and boring (WriterWork). This was implied using the past tense, which signs her dream marriage, versus present tense, which speaks of the reality that she’s never really happy about it (WriteWork). Connection The poem is really intended for women. This would be a very nice piece of advice for women who…

History with Derek Mahon

History is a subject which preoccupies Mahon in many of his most important poems. I would choose particular poems because of his view towards our history and the past. His poetry presents history in a very negative light. Mahon sees the past as ‘deep-delving, dark, deliberate you would say’. In the poem Rathlin Mahon recalls historical violence on an island that is now a ‘sanctuary’ of peace and ‘through with history’. However this island in the past has witnessed ‘unspeakable violence’ with the massacre of the Rathlin women. He speaks of the ‘unnatural silence’ on the island gradually becoming ‘natural’ over the years through the island not being inhabited. Come the end of the poem Mahon is unsure ‘whether the…

History with Derek Mahon

History is a subject which preoccupies Mahon in many of his most important poems. I would choose particular poems because of his view towards our history and the past. His poetry presents history in a very negative light. Mahon sees the past as ‘deep-delving, dark, deliberate you would say’. In the poem Rathlin Mahon recalls historical violence on an island that is now a ‘sanctuary’ of peace and ‘through with history’. However this island in the past has witnessed ‘unspeakable violence’ with the massacre of the Rathlin women. He speaks of the ‘unnatural silence’ on the island gradually becoming ‘natural’ over the years through the island not being inhabited. Come the end of the poem Mahon is unsure ‘whether the…

Arnold’s Touchstone Method

Arnold’s touchstone method is a comparative method of criticism. According to this method, in order to judge a poet’s work properly, a critic should compare it to passages taken from works of great masters of poetry, and that these passages should be applied as touchstones to other poetry. Even a single line or selected quotation will serve the purpose. If the other work moves us in the same way as these lines and expressions do, then it is really a great work, otherwise not. This method was recommended by Arnold to overcome the shortcomings of the personal and historical estimates of a poem. Both historical and personal estimate goes in vain. In personal estimate, we cannot wholly leave out the…

In Memoriam (Tennyson)

The poem is not, nonetheless, merely a way to express personal grief. Even though the “I” of In Memoriam is at times totally linked with the poet. Tennyson, the poet himself alleged that it is recurrently proposed to symbolize how the human race expresses and communicates through him. The individual sorrow and uncertainty became a microcosm for the distress being beared by the men and women of the 19th century who had been moving away from faith in traditional religion, as the evolvements in science were getting on to the ending that as such there was no divine hand which existed to guide. The speaker actually gets troubled through the loss he has beared but he gradually consents to the…

Poetry Analysis: “Love is not all”

Poetry reveals the emotions of the speaker. It will give happy thoughts if the speaker is happy but the opposite if the speaker is sad. Poems exist because of emotional certainties and uncertainties. That is why poems are more ideal and complex rather than other forms of literary pieces. The poem entitled “Love is not all” by Edna St. Vincent Millay discusses the meaning of love. The whole poem wants to say the truth about love – the destiny of people and how humans treat love at all. There are also different emerging figurative languages throughout the poem, which discusses the problems and dilemma of being in love. Therefore, the theme of this poem is love as it unravels the…

Life and Women Bearing Women

Harwood’s elegy Mother Who Gave Me Life nostalgically explores the confronting concepts of the unavoidability of death and past bleak memories. Harwood explains explores the fragility e nature of life through the fabric motif symbolism; “fine threadbare linen” depicting symbolising the frailty image of her mother and the inevitability of her demise. Similarly, the reminiscent cosmic and iconic imagery depicts the futile effort to extend life “I prayed you would see live to see Halley’s Comet a second time. Furthermore, the reference to Halley’s Comet informs the audience of the persona’s short-lived hope for human immortality, on to be brought back to the reality of death. In addition, the author speaks ofoutlines a cycle of death and the continuity of…

Knowledge and Understanding of “the Human Seasons”

The poem “The Human Seasons” is a poem by John Keats is a poem John Keats wrote to a friend in a letter. “The Human Seasons” is a fourteen line English sonnet with twelve lines in the beginning followed by two final lines at the end. The poem has rhymes however the whole poem is neither uniform nor consistent throughout. The first four lines rhyme in an ABAB pattern. The second rhyme can be found between line six and eight. The Third rhyme can be found between nine and eleven and the final rhyme is in the last two lines, line thirteen and fourteen. All these rhymes are different, however they do share one thing in common the rhyming pairs…

Still I rise and Caged bird By Maya Angelou

The poems I decided to use are “Still I rise” and “Caged bird” By Maya Angelou I choose to do these poems because they both set a similar theme. The theme is obviously based on discrimination and racism in America between Black and White people. But although the themes are the same the messages in each poem are different. In “Still I rise” Maya Angelou who is the speaker is telling her readers about the discrimination she has overcome and how these obstacles have made her the person she is today and in “Caged bird” she is showing how black people are trapped and limited because of the colour of their skin. But although the message in each poem is…

To Be of Use & Those Winter Sundays

Marge Piercy and Robert Hayden have clearly established messages in their poems which are socially awakening. Piercy’s To Be of Use tells the narrator’s feelings towards people who perform their jobs enthusiastically. In Hayden’s Those Winter Sundays shows the concealed appreciation of a son for his father’s acts of love. These two poetries envelop themes which equate the emotions of the authors towards their subjects. To better figure out the comparison between these two poetries, let’s analyse the details first of each poem. If one would read To Be of Use the first time, it is quite evident how the author reiterates her feelings towards the people mentioned in the poem. She appreciates the people who works hard not for…

Langston Hughes: 3 Poems

Expression of racial pride is a concept that has surfaced through history quite often. Due to the nature of colonialism, slavery and it effects, the idea of racial pride under pressure, with people creating their own racial identity within a different cultural setting, is often one of alienation and loneliness. During the critical eras such as the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement, we find the work and effort of many of the great African-American writers like Langston Hughes, whose work often covered the topics of racial pride and the outcry against racism and injustice. We will look at three of his poems which reflect a different aspect of the historical African-American situation. ‘Theme for English B’ This is…