Islamic Literature Poetry

Islamic literature indicate in our life now confusion identity about Islam as a religion, to be more considerable after many years of distortion, the Quran is the only subject we have and the last source we could refuge, so we can choose our decision in right way .But when the poetry have to get a position and situation in Islam, and make a relation that made conflicts in between the book of God and the human being thought.

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In my final paper, I will discuss particular about the definition of Islamic literature, and what is the distinction between Quran and poetry in Islam and how Quran deny the poetry in some cases. The Islam could be religion care about the content of this religion or emphasize about the form of the style and spirituality worship, But Islam have the both of features in way of explanation the benefits of the nation. Poetry has very strong relation with the culture of the nation and kind of tool to build up this culture, poetry created to describe the culture with all it’s aspects in terms of Muslim families, and the heritage of societies, and to discuses the cases of Islam.
Islamic Literature:-
It’s the objective means of artistic expression of human; it’s the universe spiritual from Islamic perspective. It’s kind of background of human Islamic nation to balance and to express the features of all aspects of religion arts, it’s related to practice the human spirituality in Islam, therefore, we as Muslims we need this type of background to have religion security and more safety to our history and hall Islamic nation. Islamic literature it’s the main activity and responsibility for Muslims in terms of nation and lives before God (Almighty). It connecting to what I’ve read in the *(Islamic Art), reading in the class, part (Literature) page 87 ” Literature provides an all important field for the under standing of the relation between Islamic art and spirituality. Because, the Islamic revelation is based upon the word that has been revealed as a sacred book “.The human needs tool to build the citizen and societies to create the identity of Muslim in Islam and to define, which called Islamic Literature, in all world aspects of Muslim. Islamic literature has huge responsibility to save Muslim nation from the current situation of ordeal and Muslims humans of letters are leaders in this area. Islamic Literature is the established fact when Islam was rising of the dawn of Islam; which derives its themes from divine revelation and prophetic guidance and extends through ages to the present age to share in calling to the way of Allah, and fighting the enemies of Islam and the perverted ones.
Literary language generally has the strongest link in evolution through history of art and poetry, the evolution of techniques. The whole languages are full of historic races and irrational and arbitrary classifications, and interspersed with historical events and memories and repercussions, it is very short and embedding. Because of the poetry extensions in diverse cultures, the language tends to use words licentious dimensions.
The relation between human Islamic Literature and the Quraan:-
It’s manly to produce the identity of Islam as a huge relation to the book of God (Quraan), when God sent the prophet Mohammed as messenger to the nation of people, in that moment the Literature of Islam began to start, it’s totally related to our prophet in terms of learning, advises, and the morality of Muslims. And it ends with the results of wars and defending of Muslim literature, in addition of that relation, the Quran contain all the features of Islam as an order of God, with many stories had happened to prophets of Islam to let Muslims take the advantages and benefits of the results. The Quraan support the Literature of Islam to increase and progress, which means that the book gave the Literature all the basics and roots to build the literature world in Islam direction. Quraan came as sacred written book, and the Islamic literature care about the language of the book and how it’s written, how to understand the (Kalam of Allah), and how it’s spirituality understandable, that what the Islamic literature contain.
I asked my D.r Birol Baskan in the International Affairs program, at Qatar University about:
“What are the concrete features of Islamic literature that reflect this anchoring in the Qur’an?”
He said:
“Thematically, the Qur’an very much influenced Islamic poetry. First, especially, when it comes to praising Allah, the Prophet and the Sahabah… this is more pronounced in poetry about the Prophet.. in surah al Ahzab, the Qur’an says in meaning, Allah and his angels say ‘salat’ on the Prophet, oo Muslims you too say ‘salat’ on him.. The praising of Allah and his angels of not only the Prophet but also of the sahabah influenced the islamic poetry a lot.. of course, the poets wrote a lot about other topics… but, there developed a special type of poetry, called na’at, dedicated fully to praising the Prophet… probably, the nicest na’at belonged to Fuzuli, Muhammed bin Suleiman, who wrote in Turkish and Persian: Su Kasidesi… excellent excellent excellent…
Second, these special poems have also been used extensively in Sufi music in the form of hymns… Even now there is a huge hymn music industry, the core topics related to the Prophet. there also developed a tradition of ‘mawlid,’ a long and popular poem recounting the life of the Prophet… the ‘mawlid’ recitation is undertaken in different occasions, like, in funerals, in marriages, etc.  it is also a form of entertainment, imagining the times when there was no internet or television..
Third, some Qur’an stories also became a common theme in Islamic literature… the most famous one is the story of Yusuf and Zuleyha, which became a folk tale… inspired by the Qur’an, this story is often described as the most beautiful story. a lot has been written on this story..
In terms of style and poetic expression, I really do not know how the Qur’an influenced islamic poetry… In turkish and persian, this is really difficult to assess because the Qur’an is in Arabic. Hence, the Qur’anic style and expression might have influenced Arap poems, but I am not in a position to assess that.”
He mentioned many historical events that helped the reasons of poetry came involved and has a purpose to reach it in the Quran. And Islamic poetry had been very clearer impact in the history through these ages like in Persian. He also mentioned about the special occasions in Islam, because the celebration in Islam is not forbidden, In Islam we have 2 event to celebrate (العيدين) and (mawlid), which in these event we might use the poetry and music to celebrate and draw the smile meaning on to children faces event the young or old ages.
Islamic Literature is for all Muslims and for all nations whom have the same identity and characteristics, which reflects the background of the Islam as a religion, and as people, regardless the different denomination races and languages. Islamic Literature reflect the concept of man life the universes, as a concrete bases for a complete literary and criticism theory vividly that seen in Islamic Literary products through the all successive centuries. Islamic Literature denies disturbing the chance to sever or cut the relations between the old and new Literature under the pretext of modernization and development. It obviously understood that it’s related to the root of the old one. In addition, Islamic Literature is more integral in all aspects that cannot be considered without goes hand in hand with the content. Islamic Literature can be described as a fixable art, it can be modern literary arts and is keen to present them to people purified from all contradiction with religion of Allah, and enriched with good values and sage directions of Islam. Every art in a religion must use tool to be formal and known, The Arabic is language of the Islamic Literature, which rejects and fights dialects. Faith is the essential link among all members, to make this relation as strong as enough to be, which conceder as a special relation keeps all Muslims connected to each other in addition to unity of principles and objectives they are committee to.
It’s form or content?
Islamic Literature it can make the Islam more understood in terms of (form &content). “Gbreel’ who asked Mohammed to read the book, when Mohammed was worshiping in (Hra’) cave, which started by word ‘ Eqrae’ ‘ its means (read), we can see here the order of Islam to learn how to read the book, not only the book, all the knowledge of the religion, how to understand our target of live with God, how to study the criteria of the religion as content religion or form. Islam as a religion, imply how it’s form? And how it’s content? But which one of them is stronger than the other?
The Islamic Literature is content more than form, which avoids Islam to be materialistic; in other meaning, Islam cares about Muslims live and all aspects to practice the religion as faith in terms of prayers, worshiping,, these all to make connection between God and Muslim, making relation in Islam is more clearer that Islam is content, we as Muslims content to be in this religion because we all accept this in order to be saved and walking in the right way, we are trusted that God is the only God who has the power to control this world, he is one God no other Gods with him, we also sure that this is the right religion to seek the truth and humanity equality, Islamic literature imply many aspects dealing with real life, spiritual dealing, in another meaning God in his book of Islam explained every thing such events happened and how it will be the future, and he gave us many stories that’s really happened before in way to understand and believe God. God in the Quran specific every thing we should obey to make the religion easy to practice with comfortable worship, talking about how the Muslim should obey God, what are manly the things that Muslim should be fare from which God deny them. To be clearer, God didn’t forbid any thing with out reason, when God deny eating pork, he didn’t make it forbidden for nothing, but God said that there is bad thing in this animal and you as a Muslim should obey me because this might kill you or give you disease (negative side effect), and that with every thing that God made it forbidden in Islam. Islam cares about how the Muslim will use the rules of God without punishment, the duty of our prophet is to delivered the message of God to the nation, that refer to guide people to the other side of world, من حياة الضلال إلى حياة النور, it means from the darkness to the lightness world, that god want us to be saved and with right direction of religion, this is what makes Islam as religion more content of the target to this religion, this transformation might be the basics level, it describe the religion as content side more than form. When the Islam is form, it will be no matter of making the Muslims increasing every day around the world, it will be related to seek the reputation of being the best religion beside on the other religion. It’s not supposed to be form religion, therefore, to be really fair faith more than cheating.
How Islam in Quran denies the poetry:-
قال الله سبحانه وتعالى في كتابه (والشعراء يتبعهم الغاوون *ألم ترى أنهم في كل واد يهيمون*وأنهم يقولون مالايفعلون *إلا الذين أمنوا وعملوا الصالحات وذكروا الله كثيرا وانتصروا من بعد ماظلموا)
As the book of God imply that the poetry is type of speech and the Muslim should avoid being wrong or should not lost the right way of using the poetry. In the poetry there are certain of ways to say poetry, like vituperate, commendation, satire…etc. But God consider that there is exception for the poetry, who use the poetry as something will not be done or gives lies for people to gain money or reputations, that is not allowed in Islam, because Islam as religion want to gain the truthness of the destiny, truth of believing God in all aspects, in this verse of the chapter in Holy Koranالشعراء 224-227 , God mentioned that the poets said something unbelievable and not understandable, and the people believe them, God accuse the poets in the pre-Islamic period, whom rejected the Islam and fight the prophet Mohamed through their poetry, Also God emphasized that we shouldn’t follow them. The opposite with the poets whom express their felling to something deserve, for example for God, or prophet, fight the enemy of Islam and to show for them the guiltlessness of the all accusation, that what Quran imply and want us to see the right direction of poetry.
The Holy Prophet Position, is derived from the Qoran was impressed and he taste that good poetry, when he listening to the lyrics “Ka’b bin Zuheir” impressed by “Thapa” Aberdeen dishonest. Roy and that the Prophet PBUH sat on the “Al-Khazraji” is not only one who felt “Fastncd bin Qais” as saying “al-Khatib” reached
أجا لدهم يوم الحديقة حاسرا كأن يدي بالسيف مخراق لاعب
Any fragmentation messenger of God and said: It was “Kaise”? Mentioned? (Seeking truth) has witnessed a steady bin “Qais”. Believe me, will demand a moral prophet in poetry. A group of them hired poets and urging Muslims to defend their religion and that to seek the hands of poetry is to make a weapon to defend by saying: What prevents those who insist God and his Messenger cents to insist their weapons and called the holy Prophet poet “Hassan Bin Thabet” to defend Creed, religion and spelling idolaters where named “Hassan Bin Thabet” poet of the Prophet saying
قال الله: قد أرسلت عبد يقول الحق إن نفع البلاء
شهدت به فقوموا صدقوه فقلتم: لا نقوم ولا نشاء
فمن يهجو الرسول منكم ويمدحه وينصره سواء
*(Arabic source)
The poetry and Culture:-
Witness the current integration of our human culture in all its aspects, and reflections on the human sciences in a manner never known before. Culture is no longer confined to the area of knowledge without the other, but has been expanded cultural contents became including all forms of life and systems formed through history, also includes language, beliefs, behavior, patterns, ethical principles, music, and art. It appears that the effects of integration in the remarkable aspects of culture, focusing on the effectiveness of humanity side, with deep reflection in the currents of contemporary poetry. So the contemporary poet demands that the literately, a broad culture; because contemporary poetry an attempt to fit with human culture and modern elaboration, determining the position of contemporary rights. It’s true that the poet has never been isolated from culture throughout history, but he has experience which is the most important source of his art.
Arab heritage: that we will see multiple confiscate references part which is of the broad sense of culture. If the culture includes all those contents, the heritage can be confined in time that they ever knows people to put boundaries between each other in time was described as a (modern period).
The aspects of this heritage: are multiple and branched. There are facts and the popular ritual, and there are legendary and historical facts, facts are religious, including the thoughts and ideas and behavioral methods. Then there is public knowledge and experiences related to time passed never come again. It also could expand one’s counting all the kinds of sciences different from that heritage, which did not leave a nation like him before, this situation with the Arabs.
It’s related to what I’ve read in part (Literature) of *(Islamic Art) (reading in the class) page 90: “The relation between traditionally poetry and logic is to be found precisely in this metaphysical nexus which binds them together” he mentions that there is tool which is the poetry, to connect the traditional aspects to human life in way of development uses of this poetry through all these periods and historical events which made the poetry.
Personal opinion:
Islam as a religion, want to cover all aspects in human life, but when it comes to the credibility, Islam will stop it as soon as possible.
In my opinion I see that Islam content more than form, as I indicate in the paper, it’s more aware in every single detail in Muslims life, its form and content to describe the holly Quran as sacred book, although the Islam cares about the art in terms of architecture, calligraphy, pottery, ……, but Islam emphasizing manly on the message of God, What God want from Prophet Mohamed to delivered, in which way, why God made all these consequences for use, because we deserve it and we should know the reasons of this part, we must know that Islam is more trustiest and no one can deny it or rejected, in order to increase the quantity of nation in Islam, and be more wide able.
The references

(Islamic Art) reading in the class

(Arabic source) speech of Prophet ”story”

D.r Birol Baskan’s opinion


Walt Whitman Poetry Analysis

The Stages of Life

    Poetry is the way to express one’s feelings, viewpoints, and experiences in life through a certain style and rhythmic format. In the 19th century, a poet named Walt Whitman transformed American poetry in a challenging conventional absorbing way that captivated his readers into a different era of poetry.  Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, in Long Island, New York in a Quakers household and he was one of eight children. He started his voyage in the world of publishing at the young age of eleven holding different occupations in every aspect of publication of a newspaper. Whitman was especially known as a poet of the working-class population where he presented his journalistic and encyclopedic listings that became a trademark of his style. His poems reflected his journey in life whether it was good or bad by turning poetry more towards realism than fictional pieces of literature that were written in his era. Unfortunately, Whitman passed away at the age of 73 in Camden, New Jersey; however, Whitman’s poems have inspired other poets to embrace poetry as style literature to entice and educate the incoming youth of the world. Thus, Walt Whitman’s viewpoints on the daily human struggles of life in the form of mental, spiritual, and physical health are consistent towards the present day and time of society.

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    In Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself,” he talks about his existence, his relationship with his environments, and the vast universe around him. In this poem, Whitman celebrates his life, his health, and everything he has accomplished through his experiences by describing his interactions with other individuals, nature, and the understanding of life through his beliefs. Whitman worries about the dark side of humanity have to offer like riots, war, causing fear, murder, and other ill-fated mindsets that the human mind can think of. Whitman stated in section 46,” Not I, not anyone else can travel that road for you, /You must travel it for yourself.” In this excerpt, he discusses the quest of life where one has to travel his or her own journey alone and do the passage for themselves and not anyone else.

Also mentioned in section 46, “You are asking me questions, and I hear you, / I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.” He talks about questions, which one has to answer for himself and himself, alone. Whitman explains that every person has to fight their own battles and must overcome their own fears in order to seek the answers that we have been searching for. Before a human departs this earth, one tries to prove their importance of his or her existence to society by proving their value that meets their requirements.  Whitman further explains that if one doesn’t value their own self, then how can others accept them, so that individual must first overcome their undesirable views of themselves and learn how to love and appreciate themselves in order to obtain the approval of others. One needs to come out as a shining armor through all the pros and cons of life to provide importance for his/her own sake to get complete satisfaction. This poem conveys to how the mindset of the early 19th century hasn’t changed in modern times, how a person must still overcome their struggles, seek approval of others, and find the answers that they are searching for to make them feel that they accomplished something in their lives. 

    The poem, “Crossing the Brooklyn Ferry” was originally called “Sun-down Poem” in 1856 but changed its name in 1860. In the start of the poem in section 1, Whitman stated: “And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are more to me, and more in my meditations, that you might suppose.” The poem is based on a ferry, which takes individuals back and forth every day, and it signifies time in motion, which goes in the same direction from one generation to another. In section 4, “These and all else were to me the same as they are to you.” People come and go, generations’ change, but the land, water, and the ferry appear to be the constant presence in the poem. The ferry represents the cycle of life which flows in the same directions for every generation but with a different time phase. Whitman sees and visualizes for himself and for future generations the elements like landmarks and alike which will be constant and would not change significantly due to his time.

 Whitman also states that there is a continuous battle between good and evil inside every human, which is a widespread psychological obstacle that every human has to face at least once in his or her life and will go on till now and for future generations to the end of time. Uncertainty, anger, and envy will always conflict over love and happiness. Whitman informs the future generation to incorporate a go with the flow of life mentality by keeping in mind the teachings and preaching of life while addressing the importance of physical objects or mementos, which play a significant role in the continuation of mankind. He wants the succeeding generation to comprehend the importance of spirituality, unification, fairness, and peace instead of hatred. In section 9,” We use you, and do not cast you aside-we plant you permanently within us,” Whitman explains about the teachings that were explained to us by our preachers and how he wants everyone needs to expand their perspective regarding their views on mankind and establish their newfound goals towards devoutness and perpetuity towards accomplishing peace in one’s life and this world.  Whitman sees America as an ever-flowing land meaning that as time resumes and as technology continues to change, the mentality and the circumstances around the individual will not seem to change. He sees America as a land where life continues to flow like the water under the ferry which holds people of different ethnic backgrounds and religions aboard onto a ship who have the same goals and views of life as the next person. He wants everybody to live in agreement and harmony just like the two shorelines that may look separate but are portions of the same land.

    In the poem, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” the poet mourns the death of President Abraham Lincoln. In section 1, “I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.” This poem is an effort on his behalf to display his personal heartache and loss over an important political figure that he admired the most. He also imagines the demise of the soldiers who are resting in peace by losing their life for their country, but the misery and sorrow of their families who have lost their loved ones continues. The suffering and loss of a beloved one are not for the dead to experience, but it is for those who continue to live. The conflict of the personal loss, grief, and ultimate appeasement with the cycle of life and death is the main theme of this poem. A life taken away for meager feelings like hatred or notoriety may give the individual temporary happiness; however, in the conclusion, it usually ends in losing something of equal or greater value for the very same aggressor. In section 2,” O powerful western fallen star! O shades of night- O moody, tearful night!” The poet pays a tribute to a fallen star that he believes to represent Abraham Lincoln, which the star is lost in the dark night and is now departed from the world. The violence behind Lincoln’s death has been compared to the Crucifixion and Whitman believes it will result in reawakening and revival. Whitman in this poem also wants the reader to remember the symbolic life of President Lincoln than his heartbreaking passing, which left the public in the center of confusion and grief. He strains on the true significance of life and death as a sequence in which death follows the life and every life will have to end in death. Whitman compares life to a beautiful morning, which ends in the night, and lastly enters the last stage of death.  He goes on and states that life goes on even in the midst of sudden death or heartbreak of death. As dusk lands life starts to bloom, and as dawn comes everything goes to slumber, these are the façades of life in the arrangement of love, grief, and death.

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In the present day, many have witnessed major tragedies like 9/11 where a massive amount of life was lost in a short period of time and has struck the entire nation into deep disbelief; eventually, as time passes by, life went on and a new beginning starts. The monument of 9/11 came into existence, the monument allowed the families to visit and acquire the assurance that their loved ones are in the resting in peace and will be remembered for their loss of life. In the poem, the poet leaves the sprig of lilacs on the grave, as a symbol of heartache and so is the monument of 9/11 a symbol of heartache for the tragedy and its victims. To honor the tragic losses of life in one a poet uses instance a lilac and in the other, the monument is used for giving peace to the grieving families.

    To sum up, one can say Walt Whitman was a poet who narrated reality as he saw in his poems. His poems reflect not only the 19th century but as well the present times in which we live now. In his poem “Song of Myself,” Whitman talks about his expeditions from one place to another in the way he viewed them, which is similar to the present-day world. Proving one’s reason for survival, seeking appreciation, and fighting for one’s rights have not changed and will never change for years to come. These are the things, which will always remain unchanged, and will continue to dominate in every society and generation, thus the poem, “Song of Myself,” can also be called a modern-day epic as well. Whitman’s other poem, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” is about the series of life through the eyes of a spectator who sits at bay and watches it go by. In the poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” the poet explains how the repetitive routine of the ferry doesn’t change from day to day or from month to month or even year-to-year, this course also will not be any different for generations to come. He talks about land and water to be the factors that will never change and the only changing elements are the individuals who will be traveling this ferry from time to time. Whitman talks about the strengths and weaknesses of mankind and informs the reader to keep our way of life in a compassionate way. Lastly, but not the least is the third poem, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” the poet mourns and is sadden over the premature death of our beloved President Abraham Lincoln. He talks about how the season spring, the blooming of lilacs, fallen star will always make him remind of the time (spring), way (assassinated), and magnitude (grief) was experienced by him and the entire nation. The ways of grieving are still the same but have taken a new route towards the internet specifically social media in present-day and time to express our sorrow. Whitman in his time voiced his grief in the way of his poems, but currently, grief is conveyed and shown in different facets. We may build monuments, mark landmarks, or post on our social networks to make people notice of our misfortunes and losses, but still, the process of grieving is still the same. Whitman always resembled elements and linked them with his own experiences and created his poems to carry a certain kind of meaning for the average man or women to communicate and teach the future generations, whereas, in the present-day world, we still express our messages, but here the literature has been taken over by progression of technology in terms of social networking. Whitman described life in a truthful way and as he experienced it, his writings were created and focused on the circumstances he observed as he went by in his travels.

Works Cited

Baym, Nina, Jerome Klinkowitz, and Patricia B. Wallace. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 8th ed. Vol. C. New York: W. W. Norton, 2007. Print.

“Leaves of Grass.” Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”” N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2015. .

“Leaves of Grass.” Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking”” Cliffnotes, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2015. .

“The Walt Whitman Archive.” James E., Jr., Miller, “Song of Myself [1855]” -. The Whitman Archive, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2015. .

“Walt Whitman.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2015. .

William Carlos Williams Poetry Analysis

William Carlos Williams was a grasping poet of the 20th century. Most of Williams’ work is centered on his personal life and the things that happened in it. Williams was born on September 17, 1883. He wrote his poetry from his late teens until his death on March 4, 1963 at the age of 79. Williams has a substantial number of both prose and poetry writings. He believed that: “prose has to do with the fact of an emotion” and “poetry has to do with the dynamization of emotion into a separate form” (volume 1, 219). What Williams is saying here is that in prose you are allowed to show emotion and in poetry that emotion must be hidden behind different forms.
“This Is Just To Say” (1934) is one of the noted poems by William Carlos Williams. Written as it is a note left on an ice box, Williams’ poem seems to the reader like a bit of found poetry. Metrically, the poem exhibits no regularity of stress or of syllable count.
The CliffsNotes analysis states:”Building on sibilance and concluding on `so cold,` the poem implies that sweet, fruity taste contrasts the coldness of a human relationship that forbids sharing or forgiveness for a minor breach of etiquette.” The words “Forgive me,” written as a command, stress on the sense of regret conveyed by the speaker. This hopeless need for forgiveness is an obvious confession of forbidden action, followed by Williams’ visual imagery of the plums suggests that this poem could be concerned with the uselessness or self-entrapment of sexual desire.

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Another, straightforward, understanding is that the writer of the note on the refrigerator tries to replace the experience of eating the plums with a clear, brief description:”They were delicious / So sweet and so cold.” Forgiveness in the poem hinges on the success of the description. This model serves well for the poet’s task, i.e. forsakes actual experience than mere words. The poem will triumph if the reader redeems the poet’s transgression.
In another view, the poem was written from Williams to his wife. He ate her plums from the ice box and wanted to leave a small apology in the form of poetry on a napkin. She did answer to his poem with one of her own – “Little boy”
When reading “Poem” the first question, that the reader asks is, what exactly is Williams trying to tell us. The image is actual, the text of the poem is brief. The poem surfs as an extended metaphor. The cat is cautiously climbing over the jamcloset, placing each foot accurately. The reader’s first task is to define the meaning of “jamcloset,” which is naturally defined. But, this word is not defined in Webster’s or any other dictionaries. This implies that Williams intended for this work to invoke an image. “Jam packed” could be something that is chock-full with things to the point that nothing more can be added. Perhaps, with this word, Williams wants to show the reader an image of a closet jammed with stuff, with a cat carefully transferring to the top. Contrary, the word “jam” could denote a fruit spread used on toasted bread, in which case, the word “jamcloset” implies a pantry and there is the suggestion that the cat is after a tasty jam. In both cases, the emphasis of the poem is on the cat’s endpoint.
The reader sees the cat stepping so gracefully, at first on one foot and then on the other. The short lines and smooth flow of words signify the watchful and agile movements of the cat. Just in the last stanza, the reader realizes that the cat has moved so cautiously, just to get into the “pit of an empty flowerpot.” This changes the image of the precise and careful cat into something funny. The first guess of the reader is that the cat is moving precisely for a specific goal. This is something that the reader would judge as a valuable intention from a human perspective. This, however, is not the case, as the cat ends up squeezed into the flower pot, which Williams, clearly shows, was the animals` aim after all.
As this implies, the imagery says more about the reader, than it does for the cat. The humans are goal-oriented. The thoughtful, intended movement of the cat, that Williams describes, logically leaves a feeling in the reader that the cat has a certain goal, whether it is capturing a mouse or something else, but as it turns out, the cat has another thing in mind.
What Williams is telling the readers is that, the world follows its own rules. The cat is captivated by and wants to sit in the flower pot, which does not make sense from a human point of view, but there is and that is the reality.
There may be no goals, purpose or meaning from a human point of view, in the world, but it will be still meaningful. Children comprehend this, and a child would possibly laugh on the flower-potted cat and realize that, the world looks different depending on the perspectives. Grown-ups are likely to lose their joy in seeing the unforeseen and exploring the unknown by disregarding viewpoints that are new and different. As this shows, Williams’ use of imagery proposes meaning at multiple levels with concise and brief poetry.
In “Poem,” the poet shows an image that implies more, than it states implicitly. The cat, so prudently placing first one foot and then the other delicately into the pit of the flowerpot, not only carries the inquisitive nature of the animal, but also the fact that the cat shows a part of the world, that adult humans often evade. By amazing the reader, with the cat’s destination, Williams delicately implies that adults are too foreseeable. We, like children and cats, should try to see the world with different eyes, and perhaps try twisting into the new perspectives that could seem unknown at first. Maybe, we should not smile at the apparent insanity of the cat until we have sat in a flowerpot on top of a “jamcloset” and seen things from cat’s perspective.
Source list
Litz, A. Walton, & MacGowan (Eds.). The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams: Volume II 1939-1962. New York: New Directions Books, 1986.
Modern American poetry. On “This is Just to Say”. 04.25.2011
Modern American poetry. On “Poem”. 04.25.2011
This Is Just To Say, This Is Just To Say. 04.25.2011

Expressions of Emotions in Poetry

Time. Love. Pleasure.

 Poetry is the way people find out about other people’s impressions to life or to loving. Sometimes it can turn into actually finding something out about you. Poems help develop the learning skills, it increases the way you think or come up with ideas when it comes to being creative in the real life. The most common way people express themselves is through poems. It’s a popular way People can express their multiple different emotions, and it all can be seen and read through poetry, love is the most popular in this world. I mostly focus on what’s major in this world, like for instance TIME, LOVE, and PLEASURE of life. In the poems “to his coy mistress “and “to the virgins, to make much time “communicate the different stages of a regular human being life, the poems are basically based on interpretation of love, it involves the themes like: love, time, and the pursuit of pleasure in life. The poems both have the ideas of pleasuring themselves before their young days go away known as their beauty’s days. These poems are for the young people who haven’t had sex, or for the ones who haven’t built a serious relationship with life. Why not Go out and look for something to live up because time fly’s just don’t fly with it, take control of your own time manage every moment, make it worth everything , only you see yourself in the future. These poems get into the carpe diem of the brevity of life and therefore the need to living up for something. It mostly exhorting to the public, it’s to seize the day, to make the most of life because you don’t know the outcome or when it’s your last day alive.

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 In the poem “to the virgins, to make much time” by Robert Herrick, the poem gets into an explanation of growing up during your stages of a regular human life. Moreover, its focuses on the fact of Enjoying your years of life while you can, death tends to come quick now and days. Don’t find yourself stuck in the middle of a disaster. Don’t get your chances taken away while you young. It’s never too late to flip it around; in the poem it symbolizes the young people to a rosebud flower because the young people in this generation still haven’t hit the matureness stage of life. Related to the phrase “Blooming stage” that’s when a young adult starts to notice the big picture of life and take full responsibility for their actions. More about the It’s when they start to try new things like going out and meeting different places. Exploring the world helps create the mind. Traveling the world when you young make you notice the real beauty of the life and how different creatures show their ways of love to their surroundings. On line 25 its say “, when young the blood is warmer”, it means when you young you seem to warm up faster, basically saying you can catch on into new things without much of struggle. When your youth is gone, you look forward to nothing but just watching the time fly and waiting for your day to come, then it gets progressively worse. You don’t want life to take control of you; it should be you taking control of your life. So while young and still exploring the world and trying new things take advantage on how to absorb it. You can both learn from it and gain from it. Remember your just young take the passion for what you do, take advantage of all your energy you have all the motivations for yourself to try something new before it’s too late and the opportunity is gone. Don’t end up being that person who regrets their future, be the person who is proud to wake up every day and live up to what they enjoy.

To the coy mistress, by Andrew Marvell explains the true meaning of trying too hard to get someone to love you back before time runs out and it’s too late to start something.He is trying to be persuasive his lovely into getting with him because he knows life without no one means getting old and die without no one. Who wants that? So, He wants to convince his lady to love him back the same way. If not he will rather see death then being lonely for the rest of his life. Also remember that every relationship has its stages like for instance: Initiating, intensifying, integrating, bonding stages, differentiating, circumscribing, stagnating, avoiding, and terminating. All stages have ways of forming up a relationship or even breaking down a relationship.. Throughout the poem in each stanza its changes the speakers feeling towards whom he loves .he believes that everyone should have someone to, “walk together, make plans together, and let their life’s grow together.” In the first stanza he demonstrates a bit of romance like, “We would sit down, and think which way to walk, and pass our long love’s day: I by the tide of Humber would complain. I would love you ten years before the Flood.” A hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gave; Two hundred to adore each breast, but thirty thousand to the rest;” He goes on to describe how much he would complement and admire her if time was permitted. He would pay attention to every inch of her body until he got to the main organ which is the heart. More of a metaphor for her sex organ and love towards him if he ever got her to fall for him. In the second stanza, the narrator basically explains to her: “But we don’t have time and we’re about to get old and die.” He says that life is short but death is everlasting and time is running out. In addition, the speaker warns the woman about her future, he says , she’s will be buried in her grave, and the underground creatures will take her virginity instead of him doing it himself, that’s only if she doesn’t decide to have sex with him before they die or even run away from each other. And, if she declines to sleep with him he believes all his sexual desire will burn up into ashes and dust for all time she wasted in the past years without no physical connect of love. In the third stanza the speaker implores the lady to have sex with him while they are still young and fresh. He points out a pair of birds having physical love contact, he relates it to how their lovemaking should be or will be, and I remember he says “raw, passionate, and primal” is what he thinks about it. In the final couplet, the narrator says that they can’t make time pause, but they can exchange places with it. According to him, whenever they have sex, they pursue time, instead of the other way around. Thus, sex makes the day more pleasurable and it makes the day go by much faster. More overall relates to why you should enjoy the little thing given in life.

 Elizabeth McCrorie, the author of “To Live and to Love” poem was born in Scotland, her poem expresses the reputation to live and to love or love to live. The poem is based on real-life love expressions that can relate to some, maybe everyone should have this mindset in the world that we were either given or taken away. Not everyone was given a normal life some people have to deal with illness, disability, and wealth issues. She says on a stanza “We are who we choose to be, so be careful who you choose. Love everyday like there is no Tomorrow” the world has lots to give, but we never seem to speak about the things we can’t get. Don’t wait for tomorrow to go out and get what pleases you today. Live for the moment; show Love, because love is one of the major resources on how we move the world day by day. Showing care to one another represents us as a nation it demonstrates how are country was built. We were put on this world for reason she quotes the fact, “We were put on this planet to live and to love”. To cherish the ones in our lives, and never let them get hurt.” Safety is a priority, but danger is an outcome.” It doesn’t matter where you come from what racial you are it all matters about the inspiration you have to help out a peer , give the support to better someone, even though the world is full of negativity , we still tend to make the most out of every perfect opportunity given. Elizabeth states a statement like;” Love, and love will love you back .Open your arms to life, and life will hug you back! Don’t be scared! Life is still a onetime thing” she giving a strong meaning to saying takes your chances you only live once. Never put yourself down to soon without even trying because you never know what you can achieve. And when you see someone struggling do not be afraid to put out a hand for them and help them out. Be the difference in today’s generation. Represent what are nation is will be in the next incoming years. Be that inspirational person who just gives out positivity to their surroundings. Show them that life was a gift given by god. 

For the most part, we get to recognize the different types of people when it comes to loving, even actually find out more something about you. When you get into reading poems it expands the thinking skills makes you show more love into what you care about, it supports how you view this world coming from your point of mind. The main point is to seize the day, don’t waste any moment in life. Obviously the most effected poems are the ones that get more into details with speaking about the beauty of Time, Love, and Pleasure, you are just a human on this planet you create your own story by how you feel every day , you can learn something new everyday. People can express multiple different emotions through poetry. In the poems “to his coy mistress “, “to the virgins, to make much time “and also “To live and to love” all relate the ideas of pleasuring themselves before their youth beauty’s days disappear. Time fly’s just don’t fly with it, take control of your own time manage every moment; make it worth everything, only you see yourself in the future. The poems got into the carpe diem of the brevity of life and therefore the need to living up for something. It mostly exhorting to the public, it’s to seize the day, to make the most of life because you don’t know when it’s your last day alive.

Marvell Andrew, “to his coy mistress”, the compact Bedford introduction to literature, edit by Michael Meyer, 11 th ed, Bedford’s / martins, 2017, pp.585-584

Herrick Robert, “to the virgins, to make much time”, the compact Bedford introduction to literature, edit by Michael Meyer, 11 th ed. Bedford’s / martins, 2017, pp.643

McCrorie Elizabeth, “to live and to love”, poetry articles mvc library search.


Development of Romanticism in Poetry

One Romanticism, different imaginations

Throughout the 19th century, the idea of poetry underwent a series of gradual transformations. Previously understood as an imitation of human nature meant to amuse or educate, poetry became an expression of the poet’s emotions, a transformation that went hand in hand with the idea that the poet’s relation to poetry should occupy a central role as opposed to that with its audience. The aim of poetry became the discovery of the inner reality of things or of what lied beneath the surface of sensorial phenomena (The Roots, Berlin). Art thus ceased to imitate what it saw and reshaped it instead. Imagination itself, the creative and original power seen as different from fantasy, acquired the ability to give the world a new order and turn chaos into symmetry and perfection. This new faith in imagination replaced the faith in reason, and it contrasted with that of the Enlightenment and 18th-century neoclassical taste. 

This trend toward internalization and imagination, which projected the poet’s feelings and emotions on the surrounding nature, made poets romantic and individualist, with a penchant for exoticism, wonder, and abnormality. To ruminate on poetry became relevant for the quest of human meaning, and as a consequence, imagination makes poetry more profound and refreshing.

Three main concepts derived from this transformation. Veracity, namely the faith in the power of the imagination to grasp the truth of things, forwarded the idea that the truth by which the romantic method worked can be reached through profound ruminations on the nature, then later infusing society with them (Emerson 26). Morality, based on the critique of society and transcendence (Macdonald),[1] according to which nature is the grammar of God (Macdonald), looking at how stars shine, the sun heats the earth, the body asks for nourishment, or the heart needs companionship, the human soul can read the component “letters” of the book of God (Emerson 62).[2]

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Enlightenment made people lose contact with human faith, but by interacting with the cosmos, everyone can grasp its meaning through the universe (The Roots, Berlin). The view of the universe, whose characteristics had been explained by Newton, is not often useful to articulate the purposes within it. The imaginative truths found in it are not empirically visible or rationally explicable but share the same value. If a person does not trust his first-person experience or his more insistent considerations of the soul, how can he trust his neighbor?

Therefore, the romantics personally objected Enlightenment’s position according to which only a combined work between science and intellect can lead to the truth. In their view, only imagination can reveal fundamental human truths related to the soul and the cosmos, and there are no poets that believed in that more than Blake. His imagination was visionary. He was as esoteric in his writings as he was in life: he based his works on personified creatures that are always at war with each other. Blake’s work was appreciated by both Coleridge and Wordsworth even though he did not receive the appreciation he deserved because of his writing style, sometimes considered just absurd.

Nevertheless, many see Blake as a precursor of Freud for his thoughts on the psychology of development: he asked himself what the elements that inspired both human mind and imagination were and sought to identify the different stages of imagination while we move from childhood to adulthood. These are questions vastly treated in “Songs of Innocence” (Blake, Lynch and Stillinger 118) and “Songs of Experience” (125) seen as the primary modalities found in every person with different imaginative frameworks: the former is not aware of the evil depths of the world, as it is not able to recognize the world as a broken place. Besides innocence, imagination is filled with wonder about the world and has an inherent faith in its perceptions;[3] it is the curious and inspired aspect of a person who loves to learn for his own sake. Blake admired the innocent imagination, he thought of it as something that adults should seek to recover to avoid disillusionment and get discouraged about the world nature; it can be harmed or taken advantage of, but cynicism does not inhibit its doors of perception. The latter, instead, is aware of the reality that exists outside, it has, in its turn, the strength to identify and know that the world is broken, but it has lost the sense of wonder or excitement for new experiences.

Blake then saw these imaginative outlooks as both valuable but at the same time insufficient. For example, the innocent one can see certain honest truths that the experienced has lost sight of, but meanwhile, he is unable to address evils that caused the deterioration of the society. On the other hand, the experienced imagination can see what is wrong and process a general diagnosis but unable to do anything to eventually turn the tide because it is accustomed to the world, its mind speaks a clichéd language. So, Blake thought that to make our imagination purified and strengthened, a person had to find both voices in himself:[4] to recover that sense of wonder typical of children keeping a firm grip to the evil nature of the world, then everyone will be able to deal with it with a renewed imagination.

The concept of transcendence is firmly rooted in the person of Wordsworth (Macdonald).[5] According to him, a person, when is silent and still, can feel himself in total connection with the reality. The loss of transcendence is one of the backbones behind Wordsworth’s works (Macdonald). By focusing on the concrete, on the particular, the truth that connects everyone can be revealed. The deeper our analysis on the experience of reality will be, the more the image will be able to link us to humanity. Through “I wandered lonely as a cloud” (Wordsworth, Lynch and Stillinger 334), primarily seen as a poetic essay about Wordsworth’s romantic method, he imagines having a walk above everything, namely on a cloud, guided by the wind and looking down at daffodils, personifying the millions of people living on Earth. The natural movement of the flowers makes a juxtaposition between people’s feelings and the daffodils to observe how they move: so, the flowers are part of Nature, so do humans who are led by Nature itself, an all-one with the movements of the Earth.

Furthermore, the sea becomes a finite representation of the infinite which has endless possibilities of movement in a wide surface, while the daffodil is forced to stay there where it is without chance of movement, nevertheless within its “community” results to be happy. This observation is, for Wordsworth, a real one, not just a subjective interpretation: the daffodil is satisfied to be. Throughout the poem, he talks about sitting on the couch thinking about all this: here it is where, thanks to the romantic reverie (Emerson 40),[6] he recovers a glimmer of hope reminding himself that from above he was able to notice that, despite responsibilities and difficulties, the mind can start floating away like a cloud. Even in “Tintern Abbey”[7] (Wordsworth, Lynch and Stillinger 288) the method described in the previous poem can be found: the abandoned monastery, very evocative, a religious imagination that reminds the voices, once an integral part of that place. It is a place where Wordsworth loved to wander in, close to a river that is very significant for him. Five years have passed, relatively few but in a particular age, Wordsworth can listen again to the water coming down the mountain, nothing has changed in the meanwhile. In that place, he can look again at small houses and the imagination of rural people. However, it is not only nostalgia that arises from a beloved old place, but the shape of this place is also an integral part of his mind, and the poet now has a sort of mental material that can resurface in an unfriendly and uncomfortable context. Later, Wordsworth thinks about those moments of grave doubt in which difficulties and challenges were weighing on him; he became convinced that, in that particular moment, the imagination wanted to tell him something right related to the world. It was the reliability of the moving but stable river that declares its reality and constancy while is moving as human life does, which starts from Earth and goes back to it. A memory that, despite the years, is still vivid in our mind, can infuse a profound meaning both to our nervous system and the spirit: because, not only joy, pain or fear distinguish our memories, but they can even flow from tranquillity and peace. Getting old, then, is not a negative note. Being young and full of energy helps to live fully any experience and according to Wordsworth, neither looking back at past as something to recover nor being overwhelmed by nostalgia about it: when a person gets old, he has more extensive internal space to intensively meditate on the experiences that had an impact on him.

Wordsworth goes on in the poem imagining a soul, namely his, which has a panoramic overlook of his life, it can look at his past, his present and his future, at his relationships. It is similar to the river mentioned before that has a past, a present, and a future as well. That being said, a person can assert to have the image of God in himself and a higher principle in his own imagination. If Wordsworth can do it, through what is dictated by Nature, for example, his aim in life, so each person has this imaginative capability which allows everyone to go in his or her pure minds and see that there is a highest imagination behind the order of all things. The idea that lies behind is that everyone derives from the same or original[8] principle which gives birth to our particular imagination and it is present in the cosmos. In the last section of the poem, the specific audience of it becomes evident in the figure of his sister, Dorothy (a talented writer herself), previously only directed at the reader. Wordsworth sees in her, not only a figure to share the experiences he is living with, but even a person who can carry on the poetic work with his method.[9] What Wordsworth is trying to do is to share with Dorothy a piece of his soul, just like when a person decides to share a beloved song with a friend, with the intention of saying something about himself.[10]

Coleridge, on his part, decided to adopt a different method to reach the romantic aim: meditative poems commonly referred to as conversation poems, ruminative works in which the author shares his reflections on life interrupted by deep contemplations. In “Frost at Midnight” (Coleridge, Lynch and Stillinger 477), for example, a romantic principle can be found according to which meditating on nature through acute imaginative perceptions. The mind can find poetry in everyday life to make it available for the future. The author reflects on the social trappings that makes him stir-crazy and he looks for a way to escape from them (one is the sleep). Furthermore, he seeks a person who could listen to his disconnected thoughts dictated by imagination which needs more ‘relief valves’ other than a book. Aware of his youthful frustrated desires nullified by the elders, Coleridge shifts the attention on his child, comforted by the sound of his breath: he does not want his education to be a limited and inauthentic product of the society. On the contrary, learning by nature, Coleridge hopes he will be able to read the eternal language of God, how vast his imagination can be and that his imagination can be as a wildfire spreading in the landscape with curious joy to appreciate the beauties and comforts of Nature. Besides, Coleridge hopes that the same image will be able to take him away for a moment from the necessities of life and make him discover how the moon reflects on the “silent icicles” (479, line 73).

Also, in “The rime of the Ancient Mariner” (Coleridge, Lynch and Stillinger 443), a reflection can be found on the necessity of human imagination to soak in the natural edifying effect but, at the same, it is also a rumination on the struggle to produce poetic truth. The setting made by a wedding to attend to is crucial: the Mariner has taken the guests into a hero-journey essential for the artistic maturity. After being hit by a storm, his ship goes off course, and it ends up in the equator line where one of the most famous poetic symbols appears, an albatross. It represents a sign of goodwill by the local spirit who dwells in that area, who also makes the storm to calm, but the mariner, reflexively, after having seen it, shoots at it without explanations. Instead of denouncing the fact, the crew seems to praise the Mariner and so doing, not only they make themselves accomplices, but they decide unconsciously to join their collective imaginations related to the killing (this represents how often people actively participate to the failures of persuasive leaders). While men are waiting to die in a windless sea, a ghost ship on which Death, Life, and Death are sailing arrives: Death is the fear common to everyone, but Life and Death are the fears of the romantic imagination. When imagination dies, people become unresponsive ghosts living according to someone else’s ideologies without a sense of self. Death, Life, and death then, gamble on the men’s lives, Death wins the crew while Life and Death win the Mariner. Surrounded by the crew’s accusing eyes, the Mariner falls into a depression and wishes for his death to come sooner. He is now disgusted both by himself and by slimy snakes all over the ship. However, the sun sets and the moon, rising, gives the Mariner another right perspective. In the final section of the poem, firstly, thanks to the grace of God, the Mariner can see the miracle of life in the snakes, it is a miracle of his own life and being moved by sanctifying them starts to escape from the abyss of his journey. His imagination has expanded so much to appreciate the principles of life before spurned by the killing the albatross. Later, possessed by the spirit of the journey, he leaves the ship and sees it sinking as the albatross did. Afterward, a Hermit takes his confession: the Mariner is now both sadder and wiser, sad because his imagination has been darkened to the wonder of life but wiser because knowledge brings pain, but the pain is an opportunity to see more in-depth in the miracle of life.

Coleridge, then, asks himself if the imagination can improve ourselves, whether a “childlike” (Macdonald)[11] approach similar to that of “Frost at Midnight” or a Mariner-like approach which tries to overcome his sins, is needed. How will the poetic imagination help us reach that atonement? Unlike Blake, who blindly believed in it,[12] restlessness characterized Coleridge. He did not naturally lean on it how Blake did and was constantly looking for its power and effectiveness. Coleridge thought that an act of penance was required, to be held by that glittering eye, justified by Christian allegories in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley adopts yet another perspective. He thought that poetry could conduct a real social role, contributing to foster the conditions for a better future in which virtues such as love (Macdonald)[13] and freedom could get affirmed without struggles; those were essential conditions to let imagination, thought and intellectual beauty thrive. For this reason, Shelley defines the imagination as a revolutionary activity; he confers to poetry the role to contribute to the realization of an ideal society through a revolutionary process. This process must pass through the destruction of the existent system as a preliminary condition for the beginning of a new world, based on principles such as love and freedom. The thought emerges in the last passage of “Ode to the West Wind” (Shelley, Lynch and Stillinger 791) that cites: “O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” (lines 69-70).

In this revolutionary process, Shelley describes the poet with two precise functions. The first function is compared to that of a prophet, as he must be able to see that ideal world that others cannot even perceive and spread this vision among the people; so doing, he would start a healthy mindset and a union of intent towards the wished direction. However, this function implies the second function conceived by Shelley, namely the role of a titan, whose effort has to be an extensive range in order to promote that necessary way of thinking for the process he wants to realize. Also, in the essay “A Defence of Poetry” (Shelley, Lynch and Stillinger 856) Shelley talks about a concept called moral imagination: he explains how few people, unlike others, can obtain a high grade of wisdom in little time, so through this imagination, these people can see the world through each other’s eyes. It is clear that each person has his point of view. Therefore, an extraordinary kind of imagination is required to observe them all; but, if anyone always had good intentions, it would not be hard for these gifted people to reach determinant and useful choices for humanity.

However, the imagination is not always brought to bear through rainbows or peaceful landscapes. There is always something mysterious and dangerous that lies behind the surface with whom Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Blake fought. With Keats, who will face the theme head-on, a gothic flavour becomes apparent.

Few decided to read Wordsworth’s teachings with such ardent attention as John Keats did: he reacted to his readings depicting what the imagination could be. Namely, everything that the imagination can conceive must be right, whether it existed before or not. His profession in the faith of imagination was extreme, more extreme than how much Wordsworth could ever imagine, bound as he was to the strictures of meaning provided by Nature. Probably, Keats’ faith was too strong, too ardent in his youthful passion because of his thirst for reading, not only something new, for example, Wordsworth or Coleridge but even something old, including Virgil, Tasso or Shakespeare (Bertinetti). The poet aimed to reveal the aspects of his mind, his imaginative truth directly to the reader, becoming distinctive principles of his works such as “Ode to a Nightingale” (Keats, Lynch and Stillinger 927). Despite his tender age, Keats was considered one of the cornerstones of romantic poetry having moved the lyrical eye of Wordsworth’s poetry to the negative capability, namely the capability of the poet to ruminate on specific ideas without giving a final opinion,[14] making use of the ode.

When a reader approaches “Ode to a Nightingale,” he recognizes, not only Keats’ tragic life background but also painful remorse about the death of his faith towards romantic imagination. Initially, there is a description of his physical pain as well as the for his pain and the emotional turmoil throughout his life, but in the song of the Nightingale Keats recovers a bit of empathy for the pain and the poetic truth. Keats meditates on the death of his own body; he feels alienated by the true immortality promised by poetry as well as the song of a bird which usually represents immortality or afterlife, but not in this case, he accepts his mortality distancing himself from the Wordsworthian vision of positivity. “Where but to think is to be full of sorrow” (line 27) is indeed an accusation directed at the Wordsworthian faith. This accusation is first of all related to the ability of the meditation on the human sadness to bring one to goodness, consequently related to the imagination or the faith in poetry being a “deceiving elf” (line 74) which for a while sings in your ear making you feel better but the reality, thinks Keats, cannot be changed. So, which is the poetic experience that Keats would like to transmit through the nightingale, real? Visionary? A daydream? The music is no more there, and there is the idea that the bird is flying away as well as Keats’ faith in poetic imagination. According to him, this is neither a heroic defeat nor an overall defeat: his idea about the excellence of art relates to the intensity of art itself, and although he cannot find the comfort mentioned by Wordsworth, he has found one, but it is different. Although he feels broken he still can perceive the beauty of that moment, he is not sure to be either awake or asleep, but he is aware of the intensity of his pain to talk about that in poetic tones. Keats stated that in the poetry is very easy to make beautiful things or feelings sound beautiful, but if imagination could be able to make negative things like death, pain and despair sound beautiful as well, it would be a great achievement, powerfully romantic in his realization. It is clear then, with Keats, the transition from a pure romantic faith to the embracing of something more obscure.

Works cited

Bertinetti, Paolo. English Literature. A Short History. Edited by Paolo Bertinetti. 2004

Berlin, Isaiah. The Roots of Romanticism. Edited by Henry Hardy, 1965

Emerson, Ralph Valdo. “Poetry and Imagination” Letters and Social Aims. James R. Osgood and Co., 1876, Last accessed 1 December 2018

Lynch, Deidre Shauna and Stillinger, Jack. “The Romantic Period” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Edited by Stephen Greenblatt, 10th ed., vol. D, W. W. Norton, 2018

Macdonald, George. A Dish of Orts. 1893. Project Gutenberg,  2005. Last accessed 1 December 2018

Pascoli, Giovanni “Il fanciullino”. 1897

[1] Macdonald, George. The Imagination: Its Function and its Culture.

[2] Emerson called it “Transcendency” in his essay.

[3] Like a child is fascinated, for example, by a butterfly, his reaction is honest, without filters.

An example can be extracted from Italian literature depicting the same principle, “Il fanciullino” by Giovanni Pascoli, 1897.

[4] “The Child is father of the Man”, from Wordsworth’s “My Heart Leaps Up” (335 line 7): everything a person has been or done when he was a child has helped shaping both his behaviour and personality in the future.

[5] Macdonald, George. Wordsworth’s Poetry.

[6] State of daydreaming through which wandering about memories or images stuck on the mind.

[7] Diminutive commonly used for Wordsworth’s “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798” Lyrical Ballads.

[8] This origin can be based on either an evolutionistic or a creationistic point of view.

[9] “When these wild ecstasies shall be matured / Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind / Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms” (line 138-140) from Wordsworth’s “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798”. When the darkness will descend upon her, means Wordsworth, she will have shaped herself with some profound experiences: Wordsworth refers to a formation of identity born by the certainty of the Nature. She will have set fixed points, she will know herself so deeply that when difficulties will weigh on her se will not have to worry because her mind will be become a palace, a force of nature like a river or a mountain.

[10] Wordsworth highlights the fact that her sister and him are very similar and for that he is trying to convince her about his methods; his methods can bring him in contact with wisdom and she can as well if decides to follow them. Her life-journey will have its purposes, its disappointments, its “rivers” and its “Tintern Abbey”.

[11] See note 1.

[12] Blake, William. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Lynch and Stillinger 148): supper scene with Ezekiel and Isaiah, Blake reaffirms the disruptive power of the imagination which is always been able to move mountains, but now it struggles due to the loss of capability of persuasion by people.

[13] Macdonald, George. Shelley.

[14] Comparison with Wordsworth’s habit of always giving a meaning to his poetry.

The Poetry of Giuseppe Ungaretti

Interwar Culture and Poetry

This essay will focus on the poetry of Giuseppe Ungaretti and will contrast the ways he is able to convey a sense of Italian identity, not only for the soldiers on the frontline of World War I, but also for himself given his intercultural upbringing and his[1]“hybrid background.” Born in the Egyptian city of Alexandria to Italian parents in 1888 and schooled in France, Ungaretti had a longing for a singular Italian identity. I will also discuss his poetry in relation to his experiences and vivid depictions of war throughout the irredentist and interventionist movements during the first world war. The first world war was the catalyst for many in Italy to answer the national call to arms and re-assert the authority of Italy on the continent. Many saw it as the final stage of ‘Il Risorgimento,’ where Italy would reclaim the unredeemed lands lost to the Austro-Hungarian empire and restore the Motherland to its once former glory, an reunite all Italian speaking people. However, the war brought a profound sense of devastation to North Eastern territories such as the Carso region and is clear in the symbolic imagery and hermetic style used in Ungaretti’s Poetry. The following poems to examine these themes in closer detail include Soldati (1918),’ ‘Veglia’ (1915) and “I fiumi” (1916)

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Ungaretti had stated via a radio interview [2]“Io sono un uomo pacifico,” however his misplaced birth in Egypt had ignited within him a patriotism for Italy of such intensity that it drove him, a man whose identity included a devotion to the theme of universal [3]‘brotherhood,’ to campaign for the interventionist cause. He spent two years as an infantry man in the Italian army during the Alpine offensive after initially being rejected in 1914. His sense of pro – nationalist sentiment is echoed in many of his works such as ‘I fiumi’ and ‘Italia’ where he becomes a pseudo-spokesperson for all Italians, where all patriotic dreams and aspirations are concentrated within each line. His works give an effective insight into the lives of the soldiers on the frontline, for example in ‘Soldati’ the numbness and futility of war is conveyed to us. ‘Soldati,’ is a poem composed of four short lines where Ungaretti metaphorically speaks of death and the ‘Soldati’ as if they are ‘leaves waiting for the autumn.’

The power of this poem lies in its cryptic brevity; wherein the allusion to the leaves on the trees forebode how the Italian soldiers will eventually fall too during the war. In this poem we see the juxtaposition of beauty and melancholy of Ungaretti’s poetry, where on the frontline of the war [4]“la precarieta del vivere umano” is omnipresent. Here he uses words [5]‘not only for their literal meanings or traditional associations’ but also for their [6]‘symbolic and musical values and suggestive overtones.’ Over 1.1 million Italians fought on the front lines and the Italian offensive suffered heavy losses in their efforts to retake unredeemed lands or ‘Terre irredente’ such as Trento, Trieste, and Gorizia. Whether their demise came at the hands of the Austro-Hungarian forces, or simply war illnesses and disease, over 600,000 Italian men perished in the fighting between the period of 1914 until 1918.

‘Soldati’ is a clear example of Hermetic poetry that was founded and lead by Ungaretti’s works, in which he uses unorthodox methods of structure and strips away the pretentiousness and [7]“ornament of poetry in a pure and evocative form.’ ‘Soldati’ does not use traditional forms or punctuation and is directly concentrated into a short lyric to emphasise the subjective nature of this poem, alluding to his avant-garde experimentalist style. Ungaretti makes [8]“deliberate efforts to isolate the word” wherein one can resurrect the power and emphasise “its primal meaning” and “fierce impact.” The symbolic nature of the Autumn ‘foglie’ on the trees also draws parallels to French symbolist poets such as Baudelaire, that preceded and inspired other Hermetic poets such as Salvatore Quasimodo and Eugenio Montale. This truly short example of [9]‘impressionismo atomico,’ first labelled by Francesco Flora and used by Ungaretti in ‘I Soldati,’ is in direct contrast to that of ‘Veglia.’ Here Ungaretti initiates a discourse in his poetry regarding the dehumanisation and loss of identity of soldiers in the trenches of world war one known as ‘Trincenocrazia.’ Here he is very much telling a story, narrating the horrors of war as he saw first-hand.

Ungaretti wrote ‘Veglia’ whilst he was deep in the trenches of the barren Carso region in Northern Italy. Ungaretti uses a cinematic form of [10] “staccato paratactic lines to mimic bursts of thought broken by artillery fire.” The poem opens with a comrade’s slain body lying in the trench he occupies and must hold a ‘vigil ‘over the trench, giving a pseudo-religious tone to the poem initially. Ungaretti depicts the grotesque scene he witnessed throughout the night with the murdered soldier’s corpse acting as the central image of the poem. With the soldier’s [11]“bocca diriginata volta al plenilunio,” (p.23) it gives a haunting depiction of a mouth incapable of speech, a mutability that draws parallels to the idea of censorship of soldier’s letters during the war by the Italian army. This was carried out so that key details could not be intercepted by enemy forces or so that negative information could be disseminated to the Italian public, wherein the true horrors of war could not truly be retold. Ungaretti purposefully focuses on the image of his comrade’s closed mouth to emphasise that all communication is now blocked by death, with the retelling of the horror falling solely to Ungaretti.

The death of his comrade also robs Ungaretti of a witness to his own survival. Alone, as Ungaretti watches the impossibility of speech represented by the broken body, he is reminded of his own attempts to communicate in [12]‘lettere piene d’amore.’(p.23) However, this once more draws parallels to the censored letters of the soldiers, whom were unable to truly express the destruction and desolation, and in order to communicate with loved ones would have to fill letters describing their false reality. The final three lines, spatially set apart in their own stanza, act as the crux of the poem; witnessing this atrocity first hand has made the speaker see life as more valuable. The final lines give rise to a belief that witnessing violence and recording the death of his comrade almost serves to restore the identity of Ungaretti, with his purpose of recording and remembering in the face of such desolation now essential as the lone survivor.

The title, ‘Veglia,’ once more highlights the speaker as the primary witness to this haunting scene and is in direct contrast with ‘Soldati’ which does not contain a narrator and resembles more closely a metaphorical statement or allusion. The reaffirmation of life, suggested by the act of writing, pulls the poem towards the final stanza’s reclamation of the poet’s own vitality. Even though their own death seemed inevitable to many soldier poets in World War I, this final effort of written communication was often the only action possible when a fellow soldier was lost. Ungaretti wrote ‘Veglia’ assuming he would not survive to show it to another. He wrote in order to comprehend the misery that surrounded him, and to attempt communication with a part of himself and the deceased soldier. By recalling the physical situation surrounding his companion’s murder, the surviving poet was able to begin assimilating the War’s grim reality, giving him a purpose to carry on. Likewise, in poems such as ‘Veglia,’ ‘Chiaroscuro’ and ‘In Memoria’, this reality exists on a spectrum that portrays the [13]“alienating forces of modern life (especially war) that reduces humanity to nonbeing but aligns poetic expression with an assertion of being”.

However, this purpose for existence was not shared by all soldiers, with the loss of identity experienced by the soldiers during World War I led many to question what it was that they were fighting for. The National cause and the idea of restoring Italy’s former greatness were the primary focus of many men, with each member coming together from the many diversified regions, supplying a new sense of what it meant to be ‘Italian.’ Many regions of Italy were still divided by different customs and dialects, considering the fact that the country was unified less than 50 years prior to the initial shooting of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 which initiated the war. This theme of identity is found in the Ungaretti’s anthemic styled ‘I Fiumi,’ which is in contrast from ‘Soldati’ and the autobiographical and documentary styled ‘Veglia’, which moves from the destruction and dehumanisation of soldiers to that of Ungarettis own journey towards finding an identity, where he recollects his own ancestry and history, whilst simultaneously using various famous rivers as symbols for an almost [14]“sacral journey” to review and re-establish his sense of identity.

Ungaretti uses four rivers to provide the formation for his identity and his life. We see his use of ‘il Nilo’ to represent his birth and upbringing in Alexandria as the son of two expatriates from the Italian town of Lucca and the innocence of his adolescent years. He then uses ‘il Seine’of Paris, to represent his formative years studying in the European cultural centre, where he would also meet other avant-garde artists and creators such as Picasso and Apollinaire before using ‘Il Serchio’ located in Tuscany to reflect the ancestral generations that preceded him. His use of ‘l’Isonzo’ links back to his experience as a soldier in the Alps, which had a such a profound impact on his life and his writing. The negative connotations of the loss of identity and dehumanisation experienced in ‘Veglia’ are not found here. Instead he speaks of a sense of harmony he would take with him in life as a result of his experiences that would now form his confirmed identity, which he perceives as serving the world better than engaging in war, found in the line,[15]“Mi sono riconosciuto una docile fibra dell’universo.”(p.32) Through this reminiscence we see the moulding of Ungaretti’s identity come full circle, whilst his “own heightened awarenesss of identity” is recognised in the lines [16]“Questi sono i miei fiumi”(p.32) and “Questa e la mia nostalgia.”(p.32) In this poem Ungaretti presents these rivers as if they are a part of an emblematic [17]“carta d’identita,” like the identity card used by soldiers during the war to signal their birthplace, hometown etc.

In conclusion, the differing styles of Ungaretti’s avant-garde hermetic style are clearly and effectively used to convey the themes of identity and the dehumanisation of soldiers during World war I. From the brief symbolist allusion used in ‘Soldati’ to the garish, haunting imagery conveyed in ‘Veglia,’ Ungaretti’s poetry written during the war certainly exists on a spectrum that diversifies him from other Hermetic poets such as Montale. Ungaretti also succeeds by providing the readers of his poetry an interesting insight into his own initial motives and later change of perspective towards the interventionist cause and participating in the war whilst simultaneously engaging with his own journey to establish and reaffirm his own Italian identity.


Alison Cooper, ‘Giuseppe Ungaretti’s Disanimate Modernism’, Annali D’italianistica: The Great War and The Modernist Imagination in Italy, 33.0741-7527, (2015), 99-113 (p. 108).

Arshi Pipa. Books Abroad 50, no. 4 (1976): 854. doi:10.2307/40131061

David Nolan. “Three Modern Italian Poets.” Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review 56, no. 221 (1967): 61-72.

Gabrielle Myers; ‘SPREAD LIKE A VEIL UPON A ROCK’: SEPTIMUS AND THE TRENCH POETS OF WORLD WAR I, English: Journal of the English Association, Volume 60, Issue 230, 1 September 2011, Pages 212–228, [accessed October 27, 2018]

Giovanni Cecchetti. “Giuseppe Ungaretti.” Italica 26, no. 4 (1949): 269-79. doi:10.2307/475408.

Giuseppe Ungaretti, Giuseppe Ungaretti: Vita D’un Uomo: 106 poesie 1914-1960, ed. by Arnoldo Mondadori, 14 edn (Milan, Italy: Oscar Moderni, 2016 p.23, 31, 64

Giuseppe Ungaretti, Il Porto Sepolto: a cura di Carlo Ossola, il Saggiatore, Milano, (1981), p.155

Marian Eide. “Witnessing and Trophy Hunting: Writing Violence from the Great War Trenches.” Criticism 49, no. 1 (2007): 85-104.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Hermeticism (July 20, 1998) [accessed October 28, 2018].

Vivienne Hand, ‘Ambiguous Joy: Contradictions and Tensions in Giuseppe Ungaretti’s   L’Allegria (1914-1919),’ The Italianist 16 (1996): 76-115

Vivienne Suvini-Hand, Mirage and Camouflage: Hiding Behind Hermeticism in Ungaretti’s ‘L’Allegria’, ed. by Professor George Ferzoco (Leicester, UK: Troubadour Publishing Ltd, 2000-2006) Introduction, p.3

[1] Vivienne Hand, ‘Ambiguous Joy: Contradictions and Tensions in Giuseppe Ungaretti’s   L’Allegria (1914-1919),’ The Italianist 16 (1996): 76-115, p.78

[2] Leone Piccioni, Vita Di Ungaretti (Milan: Rizzoli Editore, 1979), p. 83.

[3] Vivienne Suvini-Hand, Mirage and Camouflage: Hiding Behind Hermeticism in Ungaretti’s ‘L’Allegria’, ed. by Professor George Ferzoco (Leicester, UK: Troubadour Publishing Ltd, 2000-2006), p. 3.

[4] Cecchetti, Giovanni. “Giuseppe Ungaretti.” Italica 26, no. 4 (1949): 269-79. doi: 10.2307/475408.

[5] Vivienne Suvini-Hand, Mirage and Camouflage: Hiding Behind Hermeticism in Ungaretti’s ‘L’Allegria’, ed. by Professor George Ferzoco (Leicester, UK: Troubadour Publishing Ltd, 2000-2006), Introduction

[6] Vivienne Suvini-Hand, Mirage and Camouflage: Hiding Behind Hermeticism in Ungaretti’s ‘L’Allegria’, Introduction

[7] The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Hermeticism (July 20, 1998) [accessed October 28, 2018].

[8] Nolan, David. “Three Modern Italian Poets.” Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review 56, no. 221 (1967): 61-72.

[9] Vivienne Suvini-Hand, Mirage and Camouflage: Hiding Behind Hermeticism in Ungaretti’s ‘L’Allegria’, Introduction

[10] Gabrielle Myers; ‘SPREAD LIKE A VEIL UPON A ROCK’: SEPTIMUS AND THE TRENCH POETS OF WORLD WAR I, English: Journal of the English Association, Volume 60, Issue 230, 1 September 2011, Pages 212–228,

[11]Giuseppe Ungaretti, Giuseppe Ungaretti: Vita D’un Uomo: 106 poesie 1914-1960, ed. by Arnoldo Mondadori, 14 edn (Milan, Italy: Oscar Moderni, 2016), p. 23

[12] Giuseppe Ungaretti, Giuseppe Ungaretti: Vita D’un Uomo, p. 23

[13] Alison Cooper, ‘Giuseppe Ungaretti’s Disanimate Modernism’, Annali D’italianistica: The Great War and The Modernist Imagination in Italy, 33.0741-7527, (2015), 99-113 (p. 108). 

[14] Pipa Arshi, Books Abroad 50, no. 4 (1976): 854. doi:10.2307/40131061

[15] Giuseppe Ungaretti, Giuseppe Ungaretti: Vita D’un Uomo: 106 poesie 1914-1960, ed. by Arnoldo Mondadori, 14 edn (Milan, Italy: Oscar Moderni, 2016), p. 31.

[16] Giuseppe Ungaretti, Giuseppe Ungaretti: Vita D’un Uomo: 106 poesie 1914-1960, p. 31.

[17] Giuseppe Ungaretti, Il Porto Sepolto: a cura di Carlo Ossola,  il Saggiatore, Milano, 1981, p.155

Expression of Violence in Indian English Poetry


Expression of Violence in the Poetry of Ranjeet Hoskote, Tabish Khair, Imtiaz Dharker, and Aga Shahid Ali


 In the 20th-century literary world, violence, shifting from the destruction of extensive communal violence to individual crimes of murder, rape and abuse. Unable to accept a fallen world, many poets often employ violence as the central motif in their works. They attempts to separate the sources and effects of violence ending in anger, frustration, despair and even suicide. For some poets, however, violence has provided a source of creativity and change. The violence in post-modern literature has used to make sensational appeal. It has potential to shock the readers and leading them to question their beliefs. It has emphasized the historical significance of violence in the period of war, when poets complained a world mired in conflict, and in which aggression threatened to destroy all human qualities.

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 The Indian English poetry has flourished after independence and it has more than thousand collections of poems. There are many poets, who touched various themes related to social problems. ‘Violence’ is a dominant theme in the Indian English Poetry. Even if we turn the pages of History, we will find a long list of poets with dominant theme of violence. This theme is not there for any destructive purpose but to make corrections in customs, rituals, politics and social life. After the independence of civilization human being suppressed the instinct of violence but it was returned with various forms of violence. Contemporary Indian English poets structured the aspect of violence in their poetry. They expressed their anger through the lines of poetry. Their restlessness compelled them to echo the violence.

 Violence has been part of the human experience throughout the world. It killed millions of people in every year, and many more suffer different types of injury. It results in suicide attempts, interpersonal violence and collective violence. The violence is the primary cause of human and animal death. Though violence has always been existing in human being, the world does not have to support it as an inevitable part of human condition. As long as there has been violence, there is no healthy progress of human being. Violence leads to the destruction of society and disturbs hormonal lives of the people. It is staunch enemy of democracy. The peaceful coexistence of civilization is rejected by violence.

 Violence becomes a part of our lives, so poet expressed violence through their poetry. Every poet has his personal point of view and particular way of looking at this concerning problematic issue. To create fear among the people is one of the basic characteristic of violence. Basically, violence is unlawful use of verbal and non-verbal actions and especially against civilians. Violence is means to be create fear among the people to achieve a political, economic, religious aim.

 India is a democratic country. The notion of equality is celebrated in our parliament. In a developing society it is essential that every citizen play equal and important role, we all are equal and we all have our human rights. Then, why many people have to face various difficulties. In our society, many people become the victim of social assault. Now a day, this has become a hot-cake in the newspapers. The violence becomes burning problem in contemporary era. The focus of this research will be on the issue of violence which has been occurred due to various violence modes. In this research I want to interpret through the critical study of selected poems of contemporary Indian English Poets.

Background of Indian English Poetry:

 The decade of nineteen ninety was very popular for modern Indian English Poetry. There were emergence of new poets with new enthusiasm and new issues in poetry. They are freeform colonial influence but they are under the presser and tensions in the country. There were large historical, social and economic incidents changed their perspective to look at the world with new lens. The most striking feature of the phase, poetry is its range of anxiety, themes and the use of languages. These new generation poets are unafraid, motivated and clear-sighted. They use English with a sense of ease. Their language, rhythms, style and forms are inventive, original and contemporary. They are open, friendly and supportive. These poets are also concerned with the concept of home. Many of them are diasporic so they write about Indian problems and personal anguish for displacement. They divide their time between India and abroad. They are at home in the world anywhere. One more aspect of these poets is that they are free from colonial hang-ups, so they use English language with great felicity, facility and strength. They abandoned agonizing about language. There range makes the different aspect of their writing. The poets of this new generation are Meena Alexander, Bibhu Padhi, Vikram Seth, Rukmini Bhaya Nair, Prabhanjan Mishra, Manohar Shetty, Imtiaz Dharkar, Vinay Dharwadkar, Aga Shahid Ali, Vijay Sheshadri, Sujata Bhatt, C. P. Surendran, Jeet Thayil, Vijay Nambisan, Ranjit Hoskote and Tabish Khair.

 Post-Independence Poetry in English is certainly remarkable but the poetry written in the nineteen ninety has been the victim of the politics of rejection. Inspite of the fast upsurge of poetic talent, it was neglected, not cared for genius. It remains less evaluated and less appreciated. This is, of course, due to academic coldness and also the neglect of the publishing houses. The academics, the critics and even the department’s students in the universities and colleges worship the old masters of the Post-Independence era and conspire at the huge crop, the verse of nineteen ninety. That was growing all the time, like wild grass in the narrow field of Indian English Literature. They dismiss and lament the weed like growth of it as the pursuit of insignificant poetry. Such a view about the poetic output of the last two decades makes the young poets vehemently react. Has Indian English Poet echoing violence through their poetry?’ what are the reasons behind it? Is it harmful to peaceful living of human being? Whether this Indignation is righteous matter of investigation? Of course, investigation of such a sort has no harm in it. If investigated carefully, there is very possibility that something valuable may meet us to take note of it and spread around the world so that the poetry lovers get benefited soundly. There is no harm in receiving the best poet with open and welcoming arms.

 Contemporary poetry criticism has been a week spot in Indian English Literature. Poetry reviewers manage within the ever increasing context of popular journalism. In teaching this poetry craft and prosody has always been left out. The number of poets writing in journals, magazines is well admirable. The new poets coming up and intending to be publish their poetry need to be well guided and instructed in the art of writing poetry.

 The main purpose of research in this direction is not to tell about ‘Violence’ and to introduce so many poets. But a trend which came into existence after world wars, and spread all over the world is really constructive so the researcher want to evaluate this. The researcher took four different poets for his reading and they are writing on nearly same movement. Although they did not belong to same place, yet they hit the common issues in their poetry. Researcher demonstrates various aspects of ‘Violence’ in this study with the help of these four poets. The researcher wants to explain that ‘Violence’ not only gives terrible impression on the individual but when they come to the poems it give really concrete lessons. They express ‘‘Violence’ and tells its good and bad consequences.

Research Questions

 The Indian English poet has written ample poems on the subject of violence. There are number of articles published on these aspects. Some other aspects of the poems have also been explored by the researcher. However, the subject of violence written by Indian English poets has not studied by researcher seriously. There is no comprehensive, critical statement on this domain. So in the present study, an attempt will be made to study violence in the selected poems. This study of poetry tries to reveal two collections of each poet. It can be read as violence poetry in terms of their problematization of the boundaries between pluralism and peacefulness as well as their questioning of monology and objectivity of violence representation. This research into violence needs to address the issue of Ranjeet Hoskote, Tabish khair, Imtiaz Dharker, and Aga Shahid Ali’s poetry.

 Violence is a post-modern phenomenon challenged the traditional approaches to poetry considering it as an object to be deciphered and decoded, but also disrupted the notions of a conventional meaning residing in the poetry and the probability of an objective interpretation. Focusing on the violence in the poetry, postmodern disciplines claim that nature has created multicultural society and it was expected that the bonds between communities will strengthen and a complete ideal society will evolve out of it. But this dream of nature has totally shattered. The violence broke out and suffering inflicted on innocent common people. In this respect, the scenes of violence, exploitation, fear, disharmony makes the poet restless. The main causes behind the expression of their violence. To develop plural society with harmony, it is necessary to inculcate and make aware the value of peacefulness. The study of violence in the postmodern Indian English poetry will provide some concrete solutions and this establishes the postmodern vein of violence.

 This research sets to investigate this issue of violence, its nature and how it functions in the works of selected Indian English Poets and how it can be affiliate to the ethno, ethical and communal values. Finally, the research seeks to prove that the concept of violence, in contemporary Indian English Poetry, is a multi-dimensional one. It takes different shapes and serves a variety of dissimilar purposes.

The Aim and Objectives of the Proposed Research Study:

1)                 The primary objective of the present study is to analyse and evaluate the violence in the poems of Ranjeet Hoskote, Tabish khair, Imtiaz Dharker, and Aga Shahid Ali.

2)                 This study will provide a critical argument on human life as perceived by the poets by exploring the world of violence.

3)                 The present research critically analyses the violence in the poems under study and provides a comprehensive critical statement on them.

4)                 This study will provide a critical argument on value in pluralism and the ostensible superiority of peacefulness in relation to human life as perceived by the poets by exploring the world of violence.

5)                 For the sake of study, only two collections of these poets in which the violence represent are selected for the study.

6)                 As it is a critical study, the researcher will analyse the images and the symbols as well as the style and tone in the poems of these poets.

Proposed Research Methodology

 The roots of violent behavior in humans are often a topic of research in literature and psychology. Violence is intentional physically aggressive behavior against another person. It is inherent in human nature from prehistoric era to postmodern period. It is natural mechanisms for aggression and to overcome conflict. These are just as natural to us as the aggressive tendencies as well as other cooperation modes of human behavior. The most violent behavior represents an effort to eliminate feelings of shame and humiliation. The use of violence is a source of pride and a defense of honor, especially among males who believe violence defines manhood. Violence is a matter of perception as well as a measurable phenomenon and understandings of violence are linked to a perceived aggressor-victim relationship. Today the amount and cruelty of violence to humans and animals has increased over the last few centuries.

The concept of violence is a topic of increasing interest to researchers trying to understand violent behavior. It has been discussed at length by researchers in sociology, medical anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and bio-archaeology. There is possibility of several explanations for human violence in various contexts. Humans are similar to most mammal species and use violence in specific situations. The problems our ancestors recurrently faced that might have been solved by aggression. There are many violent civil wars in the human civilization, which had fought due to economic, social and political inequalities in the world.

Violence cannot be attributed to a single factor. Its causes are complex and occur at different levels. The first aspect of biological and personal factors influences how individuals behave in the society. The individual’s education, age and income define his behavior. There are some biological factors like genetics, personality disorders, and a history of experiencing in violent behavior also molds behavior. The second aspect of violence depends on type of relationships with family, friends and society. The third aspect of community context like schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods also controls and contribute to the violence. Finally, the fourth aspect of violence expression is molded by wide societal factors that help to make an atmosphere in which violence is encouraged: the responsiveness of the criminal justice system, social and cultural norms regarding gender roles or parent-child relationships, income inequality, the quality of the social welfare system, the social acceptability of violence, the accessibility of weapons, the exposure to violence in mass media, and political instability. All these factors are very important in several expressions of violence.

  The present research typically focuses on the various expression of violence. The concept of violence leads rediscovery and revaluation of recent literary figures in Indian poetry. The question of forms leads to the important question of the relation between violence and society. Certain forms thrive in particular religious violence, domestic violence, liberating violence, terrorism that leads to express violence through poetry. Violence study takes note of all such aspects because social, political and economic movements undoubtedly influence literature. In a developing society it is essential that individuals play equal and important role, we all are equal and we all have our human rights. Then, why many people have to face various difficulties in civilized society, social causes need to be examined. In present research, an attempt is made to find a kind of solution against these violent behaviors. The research will try to understand the roots of violence expression and preventing its occurrence. The scientific study try to demonstrate that violence can be prevented and its impact can be reduced. In this regard, widening of horizons, hopefulness and nobility of thought are useful for the revolution and reforms of the society.

 In the light of above conceptual framework, here an attempt is made to study the ‘Violence’ in the poems of Ranjit Hoskote, Tabish Khair, Imtiaz Dharker and Aga Shahid Ali in critical perspective.

The Scope of the Study:

 These four poets, Ranjeet Hoskote, Tabish Khair, Imtiaz Dharker and Aga Shahid Ali – have written ample poems on the relationship between Man and Violence. There are number of articles published on this aspect. Some other aspects of their poetry have also explored by the researcher. However, the Violence poems written by these poets are not studied by the researcher seriously. There is no comprehensive, critical statement on this aspect. So, in the present study, an attempt will be made to study the Violence poems of these poets.

For the sake of study, only three collections in which the Violence poems figure are selected for the study. The selected collections of Ranjit Hoskote (born 1969) are: Zones of assault (1991), The Cartographer’s Apprentice (2000), The Sleepwalker’s Archive (2001). The selected collections of Tabish Khair (born 1996) are My World (1991), Reporter’s Dairy (1993), The Book of Heroes: A Collection of Light Verse and Much Worse (1995), Where Parallel Lines Meet (2000), Man of Glass (2010). 

  The selected collections of Imtiaz Dharker (born 1954) are: Postcards from God (1997) and The Terrorist at my Table (2006). The selected collections of Aga Shahid Ali (1949 – 2001) are: The Half-Inch Himalayas (1981), and The Country Without a Post Office: Poems 1991-1995).

The Research Approach:

 A brief survey of the lives and works of selected poets is necessary at the beginning. Then the significance, objectives and the scope and limitations of the study should also be defined. Then the selected violence poems should be analysed and interpreted. In the light of this approach, the Chapter Scheme of the proposed study is as follows:

Chapter Scheme

Chapter – I: Introduction

 Brief survey of the life & works of Ranjeet Hoskote, Tabish Khair, Imtiaz Dharker and Aga Shahid Ali

Chapter – II: Violence and postmodernism

Chapter – III: A Critical analysis of the Violence in Ranjeet Hoskote’s Poetry

Chapter – IV: A Critical analysis of the Violence in Tabish Khair’s Poetry

Chapter – V: A Critical analysis of the Violence in Imtiaz Dharker’s Poetry

Chapter – VI: A Critical analysis of the Violence in Aga Shahid Ali’s Poetry

Chapter – VII: Critical overview and conclusion.

Selected Bibliography

I)                  Primary Sources:

Hoskote, Ranjeet. Zones of assault. Rupa and Co., 1994.

—. The Cartographer’s Apprentice. Pundole Art Gallery, 2000.

—. The Sleepwalker’s Archive. Mumbai: Dadiba Pundole, 2001.

—. Despair & Modernity: Reflections from Modern Indian Painting (Buddhist Tradition S.). Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2000.

—. Vanishing Acts. Penguin books, 2006.

Khair, Tabish. My World. Rupa and Co., 1994.

—. Reporter’s Dairy. Rupa and Co., 1993.

—. The Book of Heroes: A Collection of Light Verse and Much Worse. Delhi, India. Rupa, 1995.

—. Where Parallel Lines Meet. Viking, 2000.

—. Man of Glass. Harpercollins, 2010.

—. The New Xenophobia. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Dharker, Imtiaz. Postcards from God. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1997.

—. The Terrorist at my Table. India: Penguin Books, 2007. Print.

—. Purdah. Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1989.

—. Leaving Fingerprints. Bloodaxe Books Ltd., 2009.

—. Over the Moon.Bloodaxe Books Ltd., 2014.

—. I speak for the Devil. Bloodaxe Books Ltd., 2001.

Ali, Aga Shahid. The Half-Inch Himalayas. Wesleyan University Press, 1981.

—. The Country Without a Post Office. W. W. Norton & Company, 1998.

—. Rooms Are Never Finished. W. W. Norton & Company; Revised ed. Edition, 2003

—. The Veiled Suite. W. W. Norton & Company, 2009.

Bhatt, Sujata. Monkey Shadows, Carcanet Press Ltd, 1994.

—. The Stinking Rose. Carcanet Press Ltd, 1995.

—. Point No Point. Carcanet Press Ltd, 1997.

—. Augatora. Carcanet Press Ltd, 2000.

Chattarji, Sampurna. Sight May Strike You Blind. Sahitya Akademi, 2007.

—. Absent Muses. Poetrywala in 2010

II)               Secondary Sources:

Jain, Jasbir. ed.,Women’s writing: Text and Context. Jaipur and New Delhi: Rawat Publication, 1999.

King, Bruce. Modern Indian Poetry in English. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Kumar, Satish. A Survey of Indian English Poetry. Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2001.

Mehrotra, Arvind Krishna. ed., A History of Indian Literature in English. London: Hurst and Company, 2003.

Paniker, K. Ayyappa. ed., Indian English Literature Since Independence. New Delhi: IAES, 1991.

Prasad, G. J. V., Continuities in Indian English Poetry: Nation, Language, Form. New Delhi: Pencraft International, 1999.

Shah, Nila and Nayar, Pramod K., eds., Modern Indian Poetry in English: Critical studies. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2000.

Heitmeyer, Wilhelm and Hagan, John. International Handbook of Violence Research. Springer Science & Business Media, 2003.

Dwivedi, Om Prakash. TABISH KHAIR: A Critical Companion. Roman Books; UK ed. Edition, 2013.


How Does Patrick Kavanagh’s Concept of the Parish Inform His Sense of the Significance of the Local in Irish Poetry?

Patrick Kavanagh, whose poetic work is arguably the most influential to modern day Irish poets, was for a lengthy period during his writing career considered a rogue element by the literature colleagues of his era. Today, his work stands shoulder to shoulder with other Irish greats such as Yeats for his inimitable insight and understanding of rural Irish life. Through his seminal work The Great Hunger, this essay will examine that parish experience, which the young Kavanagh carried with him through his literary career and which shaped his portrayals of local Irish life, consequently breathing new life into a ‘pre-packaged’ or sanitised image espoused by many of his contemporaries.

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A semi-educated young man, Kavanagh left his northern parish and moved to the city to venture into poetry composition, but he felt at odds with the views expressed by the urban poets of the day. When the young Kavanagh arrived in the city of Dublin, he grew disappointed in what he termed as a “fictional” portrayal of the Irish peasant’s character by the city poets and writers. He believed that most were generating a falsified image of the Irish people for purposes of exporting their literature to America.[1]

His open rebellion to the popular depiction of the Irish peasant farmer by other writers created a conflict between Kavanagh and the urban literature composers. However, this conflict did not deter him from expressing what Kavanagh thought was the true depiction of rural Irish life in his poems. Kavanagh was proud and considered himself as the only writer during his era to have expressed the realistic image of rural Ireland folk.[2] He held a concept of the parish as a place where the local people, who although lived in poverty, led an honest and righteous life – contrary to the inaccurate image of the urban written literature, and that concept of the parish had a significant impact in his and other local Irish poetry.

Kavanagh was born in the early twentieth century in a religious family that lived in Mucker, in the Parish of Inniskeen, Co Monaghan.[3] He was the fourth child to a family of ten children. Raised Catholic, during his early years he went to a church-based school where most of the reading materials were religious. Therefore, Kavanagh held the idea that rural people were religious just like him. However, he was fond of questioning the moral teachings that the teachers instructed.[4] This character of questioning religious morals inspired some of his writings, such as the Great Hunger. Although Kavanagh was a religious individual, he preferred to explore what he referred to as God’s presence in nature. He believed that God was part of nature but not necessarily nature itself.[5]

The second idea that Kavanagh held about his Parish was that it was a place where hardworking poor people like himself, lived an honest and happy life – despite poverty and hardship. He came from a family of farmers and in the wake of World War I, Kavanagh had to abscond his education at the age of thirteen because of poverty. He dropped out of school partly to work as an apprentice in his father’s shoemaking business and to help in his family farming activities. However, Kavanagh had a deep passion for pursuing his poetic dream regardless of his sudden educational departure or the family’s lack of money.

Kavanagh felt that being in the fields allowed the local people to be closer to God. He held the idea that God was in nature, and parish workers had the opportunity to interact with the vast fields of God’s creation. He also loved to play football in his local football club. All these were the images of his parish that engraved themselves in his mind throughout his writing career. Therefore, in his literature, he portrayed an image of an Irish people who, although struggling with poor economic conditions, lived a life filled with happiness in simplicity and hard work – something shared by their Presbyterian neighbours further north.

At the time when Kavanagh was writing poetry, there were also other political activities taking place in the country, which had an impact on how he perceived the locals. By 1940, Ireland was struggling for national independence. Therefore, other Irish poets such as Yeats and Hades, at the time, strived to create an image of the Irish peasants as people who were always in conflict with each other and whose main aim was to overturn the English colonial stereotype.[6] The depiction of Irish people always in conflict and struggle, stemmed from assumptions and fictional imaginations of urban writers concerning rural life.[7] In addition, most urban writers were Protestant, while most rural people were Catholic. Therefore, the misrepresentation of his folk resulted in the development of Kavanagh’s urge to correct the image portrayed by urban writers.

Finally, another local practice that informed Kavanagh’s imagery of parish life was the fact that late marriages were a common practice. Rural Ireland was a conservative patriarchal society practicing agriculture as the primary source of income. Conversely, the rise of revivalists around the country, whose main goal was to hold land rather than use it for farming, created the need for rural people to be conservative. For this reason, many farming parents did not allow their children to marry only to avoid subdividing the already limited land further.[8] As a result, it was common practice for the eldest sons to remain unmarried even at a late age with the hope of inheriting the family land from their parent. Therefore, most young men at the time indulged in sexual adventures only to satisfy their sexual imagination. Kavanagh depicted this in The Great Hunger, where he talks about the struggles of rural people against sexual deprivation.

In this, his most famous poem, Kavanagh refutes the common mythical misrepresentation of rural Irish folk and instead depicts the life of the parish local according to the concept he had acquired during his early childhood. The poem entails the struggles of an old Irish farmer with himself and his environment. However, in this case, he is not struggling for liberty from colonial rule but rather from hunger, infertility, self-acceptance, and spiritual fulfilment; concepts that Kavanagh felt were a candid expression of local people’s lives. He set the poem at a time when there was “great hunger” in Ireland but not the oft-talked of famine, but the reality of everyday deprivation and struggle for survival in rural Ireland.

Kavanagh had experienced the world of viciousness, misery, and poverty first hand. Therefore, he did not try to exaggerate its effect emotionally. In The Great Hunger, the main character is a potato farmer named Maguire. In the opening act of the poem, he describes how Maguire and his men grew intimate with the land in which they would spend hours ploughing. He writes that “potato-gatherers like mechanised scarecrows move” through the field and that these farmers would continue ploughing these filed until “the last soul… rolled down the hill”.[9] These stanzas illustrate that local farming people worked hard in the field, not just for a season, but for their entire lives, from birth to death. Kavanagh drew this depiction from his early childhood days when he, together with his other family members, would plough the land tirelessly during the farming seasons.

In the first sentence of the poem, Kavanagh describes clay as being the word and the flesh.[10] Kavanagh chose to begin this poem by showing the intimacy that the local people had with the land. According to his concept, the Irish people valued nothing more than the land – they held family land sacred. According to the poem, the locals were so intimate with the land that nature had given room for them to operate.[11] They manoeuvred “over worms and frogs” in the fields and gulls would fly off as they approached the hedges.[12] Kavanagh explains how vital the practice of farming was to these people.

Kavanagh also states in the first act that these men ploughing the land had not married. Maguire and his men have committed their lives to the fields. Kavanagh writes that Maguire was “lost in a passion that never needs a wife”.[13] For Maguire, his wives are his field and his dog. He seems not to have any control over his life. However, according to the poem, this man was not saddened by his current state. He instead thought of himself to be “wiser than any man in the townland.”[14] Kavanagh describes this local Irish farmer based on the controversy that, according to him, had plagued the young men living blindly in rural Ireland without any consideration of their current states.

Additionally, Kavanagh describes Maguire’s mother, with whom he lives, as dominating him. Society has forced him to commit to a life serving the Parish – church, land and family. He must remain calm and mindless until a time when it will be appropriate to get married. Meanwhile, he is growing old and infertile each day. He is addicted to furtive masturbation because it is immoral, according to his Christian values, to indulge in any sexual endeavours with a woman before marriage. At the beginning of act VII, his mother commands him to attend mass, pray and confess his sin; maybe then, he would “have all the luck.”[15] Maguire obeys his mother even though he does not fully agree with her. His tragedy, as Kavanagh describes, began at his boyhood and may only end with his death. This idea Irish young men, who seem dominated by the parents, sprouted from what he had observed in his parish, which was men remaining single for as old as forty years because they were waiting for permission from their parents to get married.

Kavanagh uses the tragedy about Maguire’s life to express the significant conflicts involved in the life of young rural men. The conflicts between Christianity and fertility and paganism and then between work, obedience, and love. The rivalry between Christianity and paganism shows in act III, where Kavanagh states that the men knew that God the Father was in the trees.[16] Pagans prayed to their God in the trees. However, these men were not pagans because they also believed in Christ and the Holy Spirit, as stated in the following lines in the poem. Kavanagh talks about this rivalry between different beliefs throughout the poem. This depiction of the rural Irish as a people who were torn between paganism and Christianity came from Kavanagh’s conflict with God’s nature. He grew up as a Christian but, like most other local villagers, had a concept that God was in nature.

In addition, there was a rivalry between Christianity and marriage within Kavanagh’s poem, which was conceptualised from the late marriages he observed in his parish. Maguire lived with his mother until she was ninety-one, and he was sixty-five years old. He was not allowed to marry nor defy his mother. The fact that his mother raised him as a Christian made sure that he could not defy the Christian values. Therefore, Maguire is in a dilemma of whether to follow his natural desire for marriage or adhere to his Christian values. This tragedy was also befalling his young employee, Joe. In act XI, Kavanagh also describes Joe as a “young man of imagined wives.”[17]

There is also a rivalry between Maguire’s impending impotence and the need to work the fields. Throughout the poem, Kavanagh expresses the frustration and loneliness that Maguire felt. However, he kept on ploughing as summers and winters came and went. In act XI, Maguire is forty-seven years old and he instructs other younger men on what to do. A young man, Joe, is following in his footsteps of life without marriage. Young girls no longer show interest in Maguire because they do not see any political viability in creating a friendship with him. Therefore, he seems to have accepted his fate as he continues to follow the commands of his mother, diligently. Kavanagh uses this narration to express the rivalry that most young men faced in rural Ireland.

Kavanagh also felt that rural Irish people later regretted their life’s choices. According to the poem, the tragedy that Maguire faces is not pertinent to him alone but also to his sister, Mary Anne. In act XII, Maguire’s sick mother expresses to the priest that she fears for her daughter’s future who is facing the imminent danger of her looming infertility. Mary Anne has an undying devotion to working in the homestead. When their mother dies, Mary Anne begins to question her actions at her late mother’s bedside. She realises that life has passed her by without her consent. She is no longer young. She remorsefully remembers a summer, forty years ago, when she together with three of her young friends went for an adventure.[18] Kavanagh uses the character of Mary Anne to express that the issue of failure to marry applied equally to both men and women as did the subsequent regret.

The final act of the poem highlights the sometime hopelessness and emptiness of rural life as Kavanagh had seen it. Maguire is now an elderly man. His voice has grown hoarse, and his body feeble. Joe and his sister are now first cousins to the dead in the townland.[19] He is an infertile man who is destined to see his death without having experienced life. Despite this, Maguire is not afraid of dying. He is optimistic that the church will light a candle for him to help him manoeuvre through the dark world of death. Kavanagh concludes that the circumstances faced by Maguire are not unique to him, but rather, a common occurrence everywhere in rural Ireland.[20]

The poem, The Great Hunger, is a great example to illustrate how Kavanagh’s concept of the parish – his understanding of local lives in rural Ireland – impacted his writing. He had experienced rural life as one where people lived in poverty. According to Kavanagh’s childhood experience, the local Irish were religious, hardworking peasants. They valued their land and farming activities more than anything else. However, these people were plagued with the conflicts between remaining true to their cultural values and submitting to the natural aspirations of love and marriage. Although, his notion of the rural Irish brewed conflict between him and his colleagues during his career, contemporary Irish poetry has begun appreciating his poetry. Today, Irish people celebrate the Bloomsday, which Kavanagh and his poetry friends pioneered, and other Irish-based poetic celebration days. Kavanagh has become an essential figure in contemporary Irish poetry, because of how candidly he expressed the significance of ‘the local’ in Irish parish life.


Agnew, Una, “The Spirituality Of Patrick Kavanagh – Catholicireland.Net,” Catholicireland.Net, 1999 [Accessed 31 May 2019]

Allison, Jonathan, ‘Patrick Kavanagh and Antipastoral’ in The Cambridge Companion to Contemporary Irish Poetry, ed. Matthew Campbell (Cambridge MA: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 42-59

AllPoetry, “The Great Hunger,” Allpoetry.Com  [Accessed 13 June 2019]

Andrews, Elmer, Contemporary Irish Poetry: A Collection Of Critical Essays (London: Springer, 2016), pp. 11-16

Hirsch, Edward, “The Imaginary Irish Peasant,” Publications Of The Modern Language Association Of America, 106 (1991), 1117

Kennelly, Brendan, “Patrick Kavanagh,” ARIEL: A Review Of International English Literature, 1 (1970) [Accessed 31 May 2019]

Kiberd, Declan, Inventing Ireland (London: Harvard University Press, 1997), pp. 476-477

O’Grady, T. B., “The Parish And The Universe,” An Irish Quarterly Review, 85 (1996), 17-26 [Accessed 31 May 2019]

[1] Elmer Andrews, Contemporary Irish Poetry: A Collection of Critical Essays (London: Springer, 2016), pp. 11-16, (p. 11).

[2] Allison, Jonathan, ‘Patrick Kavanagh and Antipastoral’ in The Cambridge Companion to Contemporary Irish Poetry, ed. Matthew Campbell (Cambridge MA: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 42-59, (p. 42).

[3] Una Agnew, “The Spirituality of Patrick Kavanagh – Catholicireland.Net”, Catholicireland.Net, 1999 [Accessed 31 May 2019].

[4] Agnew, “The Spirituality Of Patrick Kavanagh – Catholicireland.Net”.

[5] Agnew, “The Spirituality Of Patrick Kavanagh – Catholicireland.Net”.

[6] Edward Hirsch, “The Imaginary Irish Peasant”, Publications Of The Modern Language Association Of America, 106.5 (1991), 1117 .

[7] Hirsch, (P.1117).

[8] Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland (London: Harvard University Press, 1997), pp. 476-477, (p.447).

[9] AllPoetry, “The Great Hunger”, Allpoetry.Com  [Accessed 13 June 2019].

[10] AllPoetry, “The Great Hunger”.

[11] Brendan Kennelly, “Patrick Kavanagh”, ARIEL: A Review Of International English Literature, 1.3 (1970), (p.13).

[12] AllPoetry, “The Great Hunger”.

[13] AllPoetry, “The Great Hunger”.

[14] AllPoetry, “The Great Hunger”.

[15] AllPoetry, “The Great Hunger”.

[16] Kennelly, (p.14).

[17] AllPoetry, “The Great Hunger”.

[18] AllPoetry, “The Great Hunger”.

[19] AllPoetry, “The Great Hunger”.

[20] Kennelly, (p.15).

What Natural Influences Did Blake and Wordsworth Respond to in Their Poetry?

What natural influences did Blake and Wordsworth respond to in their poetry? Blake and Wordsworth were under different influences stemming from their childhood. Wordsworth’s pleasant and simplistic life style in the country, contrasted with the harsh reality of life experienced by Blake in the City of London. In what way does nature itself play a significant role in their poetry?  How so, why, and in what way?

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When looking into the influences of both William Blake and William Wordsworth it is very important to remember a key important event often associated with the term “revolution”, French. During a financial crisis within the lower and middle classes of France partly due to the France’s involvement with the other most known revolution, American. To attempt to fix its current financial issues the French crown had called for it’s first meeting of notables which turned into a meeting named the estates general, it’s goal was to gain order and assent for new tax laws for the people.
The enlightenment of France had drastically changed the views of the middle and lower classes of French society to the point where they had demanded intervention from the government, taking full advantage of the crisis France was enduring to get it. It is important to note that the estates general was composed of three estates, the first being the clergy with the second being the nobility the last of the three was the rest of the French populous. The Third Estate was far larger than the other two but only had a third of the vote, with the other two estates believing this to be fair and just. Argument ensued due to the third estate requesting for bigger say this of course had failed, with that the third estate had saw the failure within the French hierarchy and thus decelerated itself a national assembly and their first action being the suspension of taxation with the second being taking over the French sovereignty.
Thus, the revolution had officially begun, what followed was a bloody conflict that would forever change all of Europe as well as the world. By 1792, a second revolution had begun to take places forcing the assembly to replace itself with a national convention which first action was to abolish the monarchy thus declaring France to be a republic with the execution of the king the next year. With many revolutionists attacking France as the war went on many were angry at the attacks on the church and conscription rebelled with the radicalization discreetly increasing it had forced a committee of public safety to run in France. This committee was very quick on the trigger to kill those the deemed as against the state, this included its once grand allies. Many of the bordering countries sought to not get involved with the war due to its uncertain outcome, fearing that they could be the next target for supporting the wrong side of the war so many choose to say out.
A linger fear that many people would take up to arms like the French many countries became paranoid that soon it would be them on the chopping block, so people deemed as revolutionist were punished. “The controversy sparked by the French Revolution did not just inspire intellectual debate in educated circles. Influenced by Paine’s notion of universal rights, and beginning to make connections between their economic struggles and political corruption, ordinary working people began to organise into political groups for the first time, and to call for reforms that would enable them to take a more active part in deciding how the country was governed.” (
A fear also occurred within the sourdining countries as well, a fear that they will be the next to have a revolution, anyone who was viewed as a symthpisor
William Blake was born on November 28, 1957 with both of his parent’s being Christian lower-middle class Londoners. Though it wasn’t until the age of ten he was sent to school, his family had recognized from a young age he had a passion for drawing and had decided that the sook take advantage of his natural talents. Prior to going to art school, he was often influenced by his surrounding homestead of “tradesmen and artisans, who typically took pride in their skilled labor and had a tradition of political radicalism that pitted them against the aristocratic elite.” (BOOK) When he had reached the age of 14 he was an apprentice to that of a James Basier an engraver; this would be someone who could mass produce paintings and illustrations rather than having to make just the one copy; this gave Blake the tools of craft he needed.
Some would also put into consideration the fact his religion of Christian was also an influence, but it could be question per-say. At the time the power of the Christianity was at an all time high often many artists as well as craftsmen would see god influence, they’re into their owns. Blake had a passion for the teachings from the bible, but he often would clash with the beliefs of the established church of England, he felt they were not teaching the correct understanding of the lord often his beliefs were significantly far removed from the common and popular beliefs of the time. Part his understanding on how religious beliefs should be accepted was in the contraries of life and the “prophetic significance” of art (Lincoln 11).
Perhaps that’s what really influenced him per-say to make a means for his “message” to be heard. “In the late 1780s Blake developed a revolutionary new technique which he called “illuminated printing.” … involved combining visual and written materials.” (pg. 531) With such a combination of word and picture his messages were clearer for the masses to understand even if they weren’t popular with the British government of the time. A prime example of such works that would begin to question the power of the British government was that of “Songs of Innocence and of experience”
Blake used his technique of “illuminated printing”, when making his poetry book, something a person would see almost atone to that of a picture book. On the cover of his book is that of Adam and Eve, taking his influence of that of the same biblical story of Genesis 2:4-3:24 similar influences could be seen within “Holy Thursday”, the titled is reference to that of the commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, the sacrament of t holy communion before his arrest and  later crucifixion.
William’s poem describes the holy committee service taking place at St Paul’s Cathedral were the poor children were marched to from charity schools. The children enter the cathedral “walking two & two, in red & blue & green.” The children sit and sing with their voices reaching the heavens themselves to be heard by none other than angel’s themselves. The poem ends with a moral: have pity on those less fortunate than yourself, as they include angelic boys and girls like those described here. “Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.” William’s poem not only makes its audience focus on the poor of London, it also takes a jab at one’s own stance with the bible, from influence of Hebrews. Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have angels unawares.”
Within Blake’s work known as Earth’s answer he shows his true nature of rebelling against the ideals of the church in full effect to the bard.  Within the poem Earth is personified as that of a woman in distress who is chained in cold and darkness on the “watery shore,” the bounds of the materialistic world, which is mentioned in the “Introduction”. Earth is seen as rejecting the bard because she sees that God is the only tyrannical figure and not that of man. The bard prevents the earth from its full expression of her love, Earth replies to the bard’s call from the “Introduction” by stating that Reason and the “Selfish father of men” have imprisoned her. Earth only want daylight, arguing for the creative life forces of that of “when buds and blossoms grow”. She asks that the bard, or the reader, “break this heavy chain” that binds even “free Love.” Rather than hide the act of sexual congress natural to all creatures in the darkness of shame, it should be openly celebrated and acknowledged as a gift from her creator. e
Another revolutionist by the name of William Wordsworth, who was a contemporaries and admirers of Blake’s had  stated that “There is no doubt this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott” (Ostriker 204).  Blake was influenced by a lot throughout his life, by the events around and towards him he sought to make beauty of it to which he achieved. Today his frustration with traditional techniques and methods are viewed to that of beauty.

Lincoln, Andrew. “From America to The Four Zoas.” The Cambridge Companion to William Blake. Ed. Eaves, Morris. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003.
Ostriker, Alicia. Vision and Verse in William Blake. Madison: U of WI P, 1965.


Poetry Journals of Different Authors

Poetry Journal 1
Nikki Giovanni portrays a strong black woman as a God in “Ego Tripping.” From the first stanza, the speaker claims that she walked to the Fertile Crescent and built the sphinx. The Fertile Crescent is the first area that human civilization started to develop, due to agricultural availability in the Middle East. The speaker also claims to have built a pyramid capable of catching the light from a dying star. The first stanza ends with the line, “I am bad.” The speaker does not literally mean “bad”, but she is using slang from the seventies, where bad is synonymous with awesome or good. The speaker says that she sat on the throne with Allah. This suggests that she was on the same level as Allah or equal with the God. The speaker says that her daughter is Nefertiti, known as the wife of a great pharaoh, responsible for a religious revolution. While giving birth the speaker says that her tears created the Nile, the longest river in the world. The speaker continues to gloat about her superlative abilities, claiming that she set the Sahara Desert, the largest desert in the world, ablaze by simply looking in its direction. The speaker also states that she crossed this large desert in only two hours, comparing her own pace to the great speed of a gazelle. She also claimed that Noah, who was responsible for building the Ark and preserving humankind, was her son. Accompanying him on this journey by standing at the helm, the speaker then goes on to say that she has transformed herself from a goddess into Jesus, savior of humankind, worshipped by all men. The speaker continues to describe the riches she spread across the planet, such as gold, oil, jewels and diamonds. To close the poem, she describes herself as flawless, making it obvious that she is a god-like being.  The speaker follows this statement and finishes the poem by quoting a song by The Temptations.

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Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in June of 1943 (Concise Major 21st Century Writers). She spent most of her childhood growing up in Lincoln Heights, which was a predominately-black area in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nikki frequently visited her grandparents, who lived in her birthplace of Knoxville. At the age of fourteen, Giovanni moved down to Knoxville to live with her grandparents permanently. She enrolled in college at Fisk University at the age of seventeen. She graduated in 1967 and moved back to her hometown of Cincinnati. Giovanni’s grandmother died shortly after her graduation, which was a strong influence in her poetry writing.  In 1968, Giovanni released her first poetry book, titled, “Black Feeling Black Talk.” Giovanni received a grant and was able to move to New York City to write poetry. While in New York, Giovanni found a job teaching at Queens and Rutgers. After having a child, she decided to focus on softer poetry, targeted toward children. Giovanni is a much-decorated poet, as she has received many awards for her poetry. Some of those awards include the title of, “woman of the year”, which was rewarded to her by multiple magazines, as well as the Ohio Hall of Fame.
The speaker of the poem is a black woman who is proud of who she is, claiming to be a goddess that empowers all people. The speaker gives herself credit for creating the Nile River in addition, the Sahara Desert, along with putting many critical resources on Earth like gold, oil and diamonds.
I thought that this poem was very inspiring, even though I do not quite relate to the struggle that people of the speaker’s descent have gone through. I relate to the influence that poems like this have had on all communities in America, from poor to rich and black to white. I believe that poets like Nikki Giovanni display a strong sense of righteousness and through her writing this feeling is passed on to others who have gone through struggles like hers. So many people I know of have been victims of the same issues that Nikki Giovanni experienced back in the sixties and seventies. Black people did not receive the same rights and freedoms that drew other people to live in the United States. Nikki Giovanni grew up, learned and worked in a time where black people experienced constant, overt discrimination due only to the color of their skin.. I believe that along with her grandmother’s death, the mistreatment of people like her influenced Giovanni to start writing poems like, “Ego Tripping.”
Poetry Journal 2
Abel Meeropol illustrates a horrible and graphic picture through the poem, “Strange Fruit”. In the beginning of the poem, the speaker does not give away what is hanging from the tree; but instead calls it a, “Strange Fruit.”  He puts a picture in the reader’s mind of blood dripping from the leaves down to the root.  He then reveals that the blood on this tree is coming from the body of a black man, who had been hung. The writer then details that there is a southern breeze, implying this occurred in the southern United States, where slavery and racism were highly prevalent. The speaker claims the south to be gallant; many southerners consider themselves gallant for taking “justice” into their own hands by killing and harming black people. He then describes that sight of this body hanging, the description he gives is graphic and horrid. Meeropol describes the sweet scent of Magnolias, predominantly found in the south, immediately followed by the smell of burning flesh. One can only assume the flesh of this person hanging is the cause of this smell. The last stanza simply describes the way that these bodies were left on the tree for days after being hung. The speaker describes the crows picking at the body, the rain soaking it and ultimately the body rots in the sun before it is taken down
Abel Meeropol was born in February of 1903 into a family of Jewish descent (Simkin). He became a teacher in New York City shortly after completing his college degree. Worried about anti-Semitism while writing, Meeropol chose to use the name of Lewis Allan. The poet found a picture of two black individuals being lynched and stated that it left him scarred for a long time. At this time, he decided to write a poem, “Strange Fruit” which was published in the New York Teacher. After witnessing a performance by Billie Holliday and thoroughly enjoying it, he decided to show her the poem. Billie was a big fan of this poem and these two decided to collaborate and make a song. In October of 1986, Abel Meeropol died at the Jewish Nursing Home in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.
“Strange Fruit” is told in the third person, but a photo that the poet had seen inspired it. The photograph was depicting a real-life lynching. It could be assumed that the speaker is the poet himself, Abel Meeropol. The speaker is someone who has witnessed a horrid and graphic lynching but not one who has endured that. Without seeing the photo of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, Meeropol would not have been inspired to write this poem.
I believe that this poem was very influential in the ending of slavery and the light that it shed on racism in the south especially. It affected me personally by unravelling the horrific scenes that took place in the south when lynching was prevalent. I have never really thought about how terrible life was for black people in the south before and during the early 1900’s, post-slavery. Slavery was not the only bad thing happening to this ethnic group back then. I personally cannot relate to the victims in the poem, but I can most definitely relate to the speaker as someone who has witnessed racist acts occur myself. I do wish that I could put what I have seen into words as well as Abel Meeropol did when he saw the photo, but sadly I cannot. I have close friends that have been victims of racism today; people have been beaten to the point of being hospitalized. Of course, acts of violence like this that occur today are being taken much more seriously than they were at the time this poem was written, but the fact that the acts are still occurring is very disheartening. In a time like this, when we are this advanced as a society, I find it extremely hard to believe that people still practice such narrow-minded ideas. This poem was the beginning of people in America noticing how horrendous these acts of violence were, and how they needed to stop being tolerated.
Poetry Journal 3
“A Red, Red Rose” is the story of someone confessing his or her love. According to the first stanza, it is like a flower that has just risen out of the ground, which was immediately followed by another simile in which his love is compared to a sweet melody played perfectly. The speaker continues to profess his or her love by comparing it to their looks, after mentioning their beauty. The speaker then states that he will love this person for a long time, using exaggerations such as, “until the sea runs dry” or “until rocks melt in the sun”. In the final stanza, the speaker begins to tell his or her love that they must go. However, promises that they will return, even if they have to walk ten thousand miles. 
Robert Burns was born in January of 1759 in a small town named Alloway of Scotland ( Robert was born into a family of farmers. Although farming was a priority in the family, Robert’s parents insisted that he read material from writers like Shakespeare and Milton. Burns was not a fan of farm work, nor did he cooperate because he thought it was bad for his health. When Robert was twenty-five, his father died, leaving him exhausted and poor. This event sparked Burns to open his mind and see beyond the religious and political views of Scotland, and he added a bit of satire to his poetic works. Robert began to engage in multiple relationships with many women, having a few children along the way. His first piece of literature was released in 1786 and was named, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect.  After releasing multiple works, Robert decided to move to Dumfries and become a tax collector. Still writing poetry, Robert released a few more pieces of work, one of which is, “A Red, Red Rose.” In July of 1796, Burns died at the age of 37.The same day, a son of his was born.. His works continued to raise money and provide for his family long after his death.
The speaker of this poem remains unnamed. However, it is obvious that whoever this speaker is, they are in love with a woman. Additionally, that woman is beautiful because he calls her bonnie-lass. Another obvious characteristic of the speaker is that they are Scottish. It could be assumed that the speaker is Robert Burns himself, and that he is professing his love for a woman that is very close to him. Not only can we assume that he is in love with this woman, but that he is madly in love with her. The speaker uses many similes to compare his love and in the end, when he announces his departure, he says that he will be back regardless of the distance he has to travel. All of these things point to how absolute his love is for this woman.
I found the poem a bit amusing. The way the speaker compares his love to a sweet melody is something I have never heard before. The speaker states that he will continue to love her until rocks melt, which is clearly impossible. I could definitely relate to this poem, as I am someone who is currently in love. I cannot say that I relate to the level of love that this man is in, if it is even possible. I cannot safely say that I would walk ten thousand miles for anyone, maybe nine thousand. The thought that this could be a same sex relationship did occur to me while reading “A Red, Red Rose”; I do not want to exclude that possibility. However,back in the 1700’s, I do not think someone would really write about it. This man, Robert Burns, was very satirical so it could be possible that he wrote this with a female speaker in mind. I believe that most of the world could relate to this poem in some way. That is because I think most of the world has been in love or an intimate relationship at some point in their lifetime before the age of twenty-five. I do find it very intriguing that a poem written over two hundred and fifty years ago is relatable. I assume that poems about love would hold their value through time and the words can be recognized and cherished forever. Although that does spark another question, will there ever be a time that poems like this, about love, will not be recognized and treasured?
Poetry Journal 4
Walt Whitman wrote “O Captain! My Captain!” in response to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The poem begins with a sailor speaking to his Captain on their return home after a victorious tour. The speaker hears the people cheering and seems to be excited as the ship approaches shore, only to turn around and find that his captain is dead on the floor of the ship. The speaker begs that the captain awake and hear the excitement around him. The speaker bends down to get a closer look and attempts to lift the captain up. At this point, he realizes that the captain is not coming back. The poem ends with the speaker saying that the crowds will roar and celebrate with excitement as he mourns his captain’s death on the ship floor.
Walt Whitman was born in May of 1819 in Long Island, New York ( Walt did not grow up in a wealthy family.  n fact, the Whitman’s had lost most of their riches prior to Walt’s birth. In an attempt to overcome these financial issues, Walt and his family moved to Brooklyn. Unfortunately, this was not a successful move and the family remained under. At the age of eleven, his father took Walt out of school to start earning an income for the family. At the age of seventeen, Walt began teaching in the New York City area for a few short years. Walt started a newspaper in 1838 and eight years later became an editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Walt was quite the stubborn editor, for he did not take into consideration his supervisor’s beliefs, nor those of his readers. This led to very short stays at each of the newspapers that he worked for in New York. After losing all credibility in the New York newspaper scene, Walt moved to New Orleans. The same continued in New Orleans and he did not last long in his career here, but this was the first glance Walt had at slavery in the south. Walt decided to move back to Brooklyn where he started a successful newspaper called, “The Brooklyn Freeman.” Walt grew increasingly angry at the idea of slavery and the issues it could cause for America. These events are what drove Walt to start writing poetry, although at the time he had no idea how powerful his words would be. Walt stopped writing poetry for some time to work on other things in his life, but during the Civil War, Walt’s brother was injured. Walt traveled to Fredericksburg, Virginia in search of his brother. When found, Walt’s brother and other injured veterans became an opportunity for Walt, as he met with them and discussed their experiences. Walt visited over eighty thousand veterans after the Civil War, which revived his poetry writing. In March of 1892, Walt Whitman passed away, but not before becoming one of the most influential poets in American history.
One of the sailors on the ship is the speaker of, “O Captain! My Captain!” The sailor’s role was to first express excitement in victory when sailing home. However, shortly after realizing that his captain is dead, his role is to stress the importance of death. The poem begins very cheerful and happy, then immediately turns dark. Going directly from one extreme to the other is a good way to stress the importance of each event, the good and the bad. When analyzing the poem a bit more and reviewing the life of Walt Whitman, it becomes obvious that the captain represents Abraham Lincoln and the ship represents the country, America. The sailor is mourning the death of his captain.
I believe that the poem does a great job of showing symbolism between the ship and the country, but more importantly the captain and Abraham Lincoln. “O Captain! My Captain!” is one of the first poems that I have been able to see beyond the words and look for the symbolism while reading it the first time. I think that this experience will really affect the way that I approach reading poetry in the future. This poem is very relatable to me in two ways, the first being that I work for a Union that is responsible for providing sailors to all shipping companies in America. The fact that this poem takes place on the water and the speaker is one of the sailors is something very relatable. The second is the way that this sailor mourns for the death of his captain. I have mourned the death of someone close to me before as well, I can relate to the fact that the sailor doubts the death initially. I know many that have gone through experiences like this one; I can imagine that many Americans felt very similar to the sailor when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, along with people that are closer to me mourning the death of a friend or relative. Many across America mourned President Lincoln’s assassination, but no one mourned as heavily as Walt Whitman, which is evidenced by this poem. 
Works Cited, editor. “Robert Burns Biography.” Biography, A&E Television Networks, 18 Mar. 2016, Accessed 5 Dec. 2019. Editors, editor. “Walt Whitman Biography.”, A&E Television Networks, 27 Apr. 2016, Accessed 5 Dec. 2019.
Concise Major 21st Century Writers, editor. “Giovanni, Nikki 1943 – .” Encyclopedia, Cengage, Accessed 5 Dec. 2019.
Simkin, John. “Abel Meeropol.” Spatacus-Educational, Sept. 1997, Accessed 5 Dec. 2019.