Poetry Discussion: Responses & Replies

Discussion posting on Williams and Stevens Wallace

Stevens and William Carlos Williams have contributed significantly to making poetry a common person’s thing. Although their styles of expression exhibit appreciable differences, one thing appears to be common to both i.e. expression using themes and subjects that are familiar to the ordinary people.
The portrayal of a ‘jar left in Tennessee’ or a ‘wheelbarrow’ in works of poetry appear to be a unique phenomenon if judged in the light of the fact that their contemporary poets were still following the usual trends of shifting the minds of readers away from the realities of life.
One can be critical of the fact that they were not poets in essence and this factor manifests in their works. However, the fact that a great deal of poetic inspiration comes from tragic occurrences is sufficient to support the notion that the life experiences of the poets work as real stimulants to bring forth extraordinary poetry.

Discussion posting on Hughes

I have chosen Hughes’s “Harlem” for the analysis. Interestingly, the speaker remains unidentified throughout and after reading the poem! What an ingenious way of expression.
Of note, are the then prevailing circumstances which forced Hughes to adapt this way of expression. However, limiting the idea of ‘deferred dream’ to the African-Americans seems to be an oversimplification of the meanings that Hughes wanted to convey to the readers. I feel that the idea can be extended to anyone or any nation that suffers from a similar misery.
Interestingly, Hughes classifies the reactions of people into different categories; reactions of people when their dreams are broken. This is a manifestation of the keen observation that Hughes possessed and which allowed him to arrive at conclusions that are extraordinary.

Reply to Juliette McBreen

I agree that Hughes’s “Harlem” contains some really great metaphors and keeping in view the social and political circumstances of Hughes’s time, the reader’s mind instantly shifts towards the miseries of the African-Americans; however, I strongly feel that Hughes ideas are equally applicable to the other nations of the world that are facing oppression. To me, Hughes appears to be a great observer, as he has classified the responses of people to broken dreams. Also interesting is his rather ‘direct’ way of expressing things e.g. in Trumpet Player he expresses how music affects the soul of the one who plays music. It appears that Hughes adopted this way of expression on purpose; since this is the only means through which meanings can be conveyed without ambiguity.

 

Reply to Tanja Upton

I agree with your idea about the subtle humor that seems to form the background of the poetry of these poets. Since both poets belong to the ordinary classes of the society, the focus of their poetry appears to be close to the hearts of people of this class. In a life that is full of misery and worries, the use of subtle words to provoke a sense of laughter can be regarded as a blessing that is a gift to those who enjoy the works of these poets. It is clearly evident that instead of making use of heavily crafted vocabulary, both William and Stevens resort to intelligent ideas that are understandable by the majority of poetry lovers.

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