From your reading of poetry show how two or three of the poems may have given you a new or different sense of poetry or of human experience, and comment on how these effects were achieved in the poetry. Refer to poems by at least two different poets.
There are lots of poems which may create a new or different sense of poetry or of human experience. Some very good examples for this are Wislawa Szymborska’s “The Joy of Writing”, in which she explores the process of creating poetry, and “Hitler`s First Photograph”, which is about the dictator as a child, as well as Carol Ann Duffy’s “Valentine”, that compares love with an onion.
In “The Joy of Writing” the special feature, which gives us a new sensation of poetry, is that Szymborska does not only write a “normal” poem, but also about how she writes it and what abilities and power this gives her. She suggests, that the author can decide alone, what happens in a poem. For incidence she says: “the twinkling of an eye will take as long as I say” or “without my blessing, not a leaf will fall, not a blade of grass will bend”. That shows the total power of the writer. The last stanza also suggests that writing is somehow godlike, by saying “The power of preserving. Revenge of a mortal hand”. Here she expresses, that with poetry one can create something eternal, while the real life is limited.
The imagery supports this new approach to poetry by creating the picture of a doe drinking from a spring, which is one of the most classical and simplest contents of poetry, but yet is explored in a completely new way. The author tries to make clear that the poems actually only consists of letters, which seem meaningless alone, but together have the power to create vivid images in our heads. Evidence for this is given with the phrase: “…parts the boughs that have sprouted from the word “woods”.”
The idea that poetry gives the writer power is also reinforced by the analytical and superior and nearly arrogant tone. This tone is created with phrases like “as long as I say”, “if I wish”, “unless I say so” or “without my blessing”. The author seems to be proud of her power and reinforces it again and again.
The structure is ambigous, neither totally irregular, nor absolutely ordered, which might want to confirm the new idea that writing has no rules. While most of the stanzas have four lines, the first one has nine and the last one has only three verses. This shows the writer’s freedom to write what and how he or she wants.
Overall, this poem gives us a new sensation of poetry by using simple and well known diction and imagery, an ambigous structure as well as a superior tone, to describe the difficult subject matter of writing and how it gives power and freedom.
In “Hitler`s First Photograph” Szymborska explores the life of Adolf Hitler in a completely new way by describing his childhood instead of his time as an adult. Normally when we hear about this man, we hear about him as a cruel dictator. In this poem the author suggests that Hitler in his first years was like every other child of his age and that by then nobody could have known what would happen some decades later, when Hitler established the National Socialism in Germany and World War II began. The phrase “Whose tummy full of milk, we just don’t know: printer’s, doctor’s, merchant’s, priest’s?” for example uses dramatic irony to underline, that the future is unpredictable and many things could happen. That also implies, that we just do not know what will be later and every child or young person could be a potential dictator or another important man in history.
The imagery used in this poem creates the picture of a happy, young family who see their “little angel” grow up, which is a new or not that well known aspect in the life of Adolf Hitler. The phrases “no dearth of signs on the earth and in the sky: spring sun, geraniums in windows , the organ-grinder’s music in the yard” and “a dove seen in a dream means joyful news” refutes our expectations of some sinister and dark signs accompanying Hitler’s birth and suggests the opposite.
The diction is baby like and uses a lot of onomatopoeic words, what we would not expect from a text about Hitler. Good examples are: “itty-bitty robe” or “tootsy-wootsies”. This illustrates again that even Hitler was once an innocent baby and that he was treated like every other baby.
The structure of this poem is with four nearly equal long stanzas relatively ordered, which represents the normality of Hitler’s family. The four stanzas also divide the text in subtopics. The first stanza consists except for one sentence only of questions, which give ideas what the baby Adolf Hitler will be later. They all suggest normal professions and there is not the idea that he could be the dictator, who he actually became, which shows a lot of dramatic irony. The second stanza describes the day of his birth and the third stanza is about his childhood.
In “Valentine” Carol Ann Duffy rethinks the idea of valentine gifts anew and suggests that an onion would be perfectly suitable as one.
Duffy compares the properties of an onion with the properties of love and shows that they have a lot in common, which seems odd on the first view. For incidence she writes: “It will blind you with tears like a lover”. This simile means, that onions can make people crying with their scent, as well as love can make people crying with strong emotions. Another good example is the metaphor: “It is a moon wrapped in brown paper”. This means that an onion, although its outside is brown and unspectacular, is bright and miraculous inside and is therefore as romantic as the moon, which is a symbol for love.
The imagery and the diction are quite negative and do not fit the expectations created by the title “Valentine”, which shows that Duffy’s approach to this topic is novelly. For incidence words like “tears”, “grief” or “shrink” would be more associated with dead or sadness than with love. This contrast between our expectations of the topic and the actual diction and imagery is one thing that this poem has in common with the earlier discussed poems by Szymborska.
The poem lacks structure, which clearly breaks with tradition and shows the attempt to create something new. The odd structure supports the content of the poem
To conclude, all three of the discussed poems create a new sensation of poetry by choosing a common topic, of which we have a certain conception, and then disprove our expectations.