Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sam's Journal #4

So far I would say Chapter 6 on Subject Matter has helped me the most, particularly the sections about Imagery and Resonant Detail. What is written about how imagery is not just visual I find to be very true. I could write a poem about coffee and cigars, but that is probably going to be very flat unless I include the taste or feel of either of them, which qualifies as imagery in the poem. I think it's very important to remember this when we write poetry because well, you don't want a flat poem do you?
    2) The poem used in this section taught me a lot. The poem is written by Theodore Roethke called, My Papa's Waltz. The first two lines use very vivid descriptions,

"The whiskey on your breath
Could make a boy dizzy;"

It tells me a couple of things, his dad is likely an alcoholic, also, that is a lot of booze to be on someone's breath. Those are very specific things we're being told. The type of alcohol, not just any, whiskey. We're also being told the amount he's consumed, which it sounds like enough to make anyone attempt to dance a waltz and knock pans off the shelf. I read this poem and envision it from the boy's perspective. That's mostly due to the details that Roethke has pulled out and put into the poem, however, very important elements that give us a sense of where the speaker of the poem is during the events written about in the poem.

1) The previous poem is also a good example of resonant detail,

 "My mothers countenance/ Could not unfrown itself."

"At every step you missed/ My right ear scraped a buckle."

"Then you waltzed me off to bed/ still clinging to your shirt"

These are significant details to Roethke that he felt were important to include in the poem. We get a sense of where he is during the events of the poem, as I said above, in the second line. The boy in the poem is right at waist level to his Papa. We also get a sense in the last line I quoted above that the boy isn't afraid of his father, he might be drunk but he isn't afraid of him. He's clinging to him "like death," not trying to escape and hide. There aren't a huge amount of details in this poem, but the ones that are present tell us a lot about the moment Roethke is writing about.

I'm always glad to be reminded of the importance of Imagery because I do tend to tell rather than show, poetry is much more powerful when things are shown rather than told. The same with details, every detail isn't necessary, so make the ones you put in count.

1 comment:

  1. I think this imagery will really shine during lecture about metaphors and if we share our "voice sounds like touch feels like" poems.


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