By Mary Oliver
With ardour, wit, and sturdy good judgment, the distinguished poet Mary Oliver tells of the fundamental methods a poem is built-meter and rhyme, shape and diction, sound and feel. Drawing on poems from Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and others, Oliver imparts a unprecedented quantity of knowledge in a remarkably brief area. “Stunning” (Los Angeles Times). Index.
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Extra resources for A Poetry Handbook
Vincent Millay, Fatal Interview, XXVT) O to break loose, like the chinook salmon jumping and falling back, . . (Robert Lowell, Waking Early Sunday Morning) Additionally, such an image can be used to link one known thing to another known thing in order to help us "see" (physically see) something more sharply and memorably: The clouds were low and hairy in the skies, Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes. (Robert Frost, Once by the Pacific) Simile The simile uses the words "like" or "as" in its construction.
What does it mean that there is no punctuation? Perhaps the lack of punctuation is trying to say that this is a new kind of poem, to be read in a new way—taking clues from the very graphic layout itself—from the line breaks primarily, rather than the old formalities of comma or dash. What does its apparent simplicity mean? Perhaps that for this writer a poem is not a matter of some serious predetermined subject, but of concentrated focus and attention upon an "ordinary" simple subject—a mere scene—then, through the elevation of art, the scene is The Red W h e e l b a r r o w WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens 74 A POETRY HANDBOOK lifted into the realm of something quite extraordinary and memorable.
What does it mean that this short poem is full of objects rather than ideas or thoughts? " The idea springs from the object, then. The poem is not a discussion, not a lecture, but an instance—an instance of attention, of noticing something in the world. What does it mean that the poem is so brief—only eight lines? Perhaps that such intense focus can't hold for any great length, or must break and move on to another object—another scene, another group of things. Perhaps Williams is implying that the imagination comes alive in the world of things—of objects.
A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver