First Poetry Assignment, Essay Example

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Essay

In order to fully appreciate any poem, it is necessary to understand the technical  components and literary devices that facilitate poetic expression. Key among these elements are the components of: theme, form, sound, and diction. These aspects, among others, are what enables a poem to attain force of expression and depth of perception.  As an example, Andrew Marvell’s poem “To His Coy Mistress” employs the theme of wasted time in relation to a love-affair. In order to transmit this theme, which is sometimes referred to as carpe diem or “seize the day,” Marvell uses a  rhyming stanzaic form.  In technical terms, the form Marvell uses is iambic tetrameter with end-stop rhyme. The reason he used this form was because in his time this form was a popular form for satirical poetry. The aural component of the poem is partially based around the way that the end-stop rhyme places emphasis on specific words, such as “time” and “crime” in lines 1-2.

Another example of how formal elements of poetry work to create meaning is Dylan Thomas’ poem “Fern Hill” (1945) uses both formal structure and diction to create a feeling of youth and freedom in the countryside. Unlike “To His Coy Mistress” this poem avoids a deliberate rhyme-scheme. The use of innovative words and phrases such as “dingle starry” (3) and “heydays of his  eyes” (5) evoke a sense of childlike wonder.  This feeling is cut-off by the poem’s ending lines which reverse the opening sense of freedom and possibility.  The dramatic arc between the poem’s initial sense of excitement and wonder to its closing sense of constriction and confinement is the way in which the poem’s theme of the loss of innocence. The poem uses a linguistic base to show the way in which the fascination and enthusiasm for life can be eroded through life-experience.

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