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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Comments on Alisajs

(Poetry Analysis)

The poem “Alisajs” is an acrostic written in a non-compliant form called Free Verse. This is so because it does not comply with the rules governing metered poetry. This free flow allowed the poet to write freely without worrying about trying to make the words fit a specific meter, rhyme scheme or stanza.

What message is being conveyed in this poem? How can you find out what message the poem is designed to convey? And how can you be sure that indeed you have accurately figured out what the poet is really communicating through the speaker of the poem? Not really unless you have the rare opportunity to sit down with the poet and have a frank discussion on the matter. After all, a poem is not a neatly constructed essay with a thesis statement at the beginning to tell the reader what it is all about. A poem does not usually tell readers what it means, otherwise it would be prose and not poetry. However, poems usually do have themes but they also try to create an emotional effect and make an association between things and ideas not often joined.

Poets don’t always choose a title that states their theme, but they often do. One should never ignore the title of a poem however vague it may be, for it may help one find the theme of the poem, or at least identify the key image representing the theme. Of course, this requires digging a little deeper to find meaning in a vague title, but if the title does seem to be telling something, it never hurts to relate that meaning to the rest of the poem because this controlling idea is continuously developed throughout the poem by sets of key words that identify the poet’s subject and attitude and feeling about it. What is a theme? The theme is the controlling idea in any poem, extracted from its details of language, character and action, and cast in the form of generalized statements.

Rarely does a poet begin and end the poetic experience in the same place. The poet's understanding of an experience is a gradual realization, and the poem is a reflection of that epiphany painted with words, poetic images, and patterns whirling around in the poem that are not always precise, because they have different meanings for different readers. However, the poet leaves readers with a trail of clues that provides both explicit meaning and the implicit meaning.

How might readers find meaning in any poem since poetic images are not always precise? Fortunately, there are analytical tools for poetry that allow readers to come up with intelligent ways as to what is the poet’s intended message is in the poem. Poetry analysis provides tools to extract both the explicit and implicit meaning from the poem. Poetry analysis is therefore, the process of investigating a poem’s form, content and history in an informed way, with the aim of heightening one’s own and others’ understanding and appreciation of the poetic work. This process is undertaken for many reasons and can take many forms. Teachers would analyze a poem in order to gain a more conscious understanding of how poems achieve their effects in order to communicate this to students. Writers learning the craft of poetry might use the tools of poetry analysis to expand and strengthen their own mastery. Persons who read poetry might use the tools and techniques of poetry analysis in order to discuss all that the poem has to offer, and thereby gain fuller and more rewarding appreciation of the poem.

There are some basic tenets which are very helpful when seeking to interpret what the poet says in the poem. It is important to try to understand the poem’s explicit, literal meaning first. Then seek answers to these attentive questions about the implicit meaning of the poem such as: What is implied? What is unsaid or suggested in the imagery…go beyond the obvious…break new grounds of understanding…think outside the box …search for new ideas and connotative meanings as it were.

Also, there is the matter of trying to understand the language of the poem. For example, these are some of the poetic devices like the metaphor, similes, understatements, overstatements, and other unusual uses of language that poets use to stretch the readers’ imagination so wearing a thinking cap is highly recommended; because poets are noted for setting up words to resonate with many meanings at once, and that’s the beauty of poetry. So in poetry, expect to find words packed with more meanings than when used in ordinary language. As we search for connotative meanings in poems we are required to think divergently most of the time.

When conducting an analysis of a poem it is imperative to comment on such matters as:

The Title

The analysis process is a sure way to discover the poem's message to the reader--what was the poet really trying to communicate. The analysis looks at poem’s message for both explicit and implicit answers. An example of an analysis of a poem is given below.


Adorably you muse with plenty of
love and romance, woven
into delicate, cognitive threads
sown exquisitely together
as well, you grasp tightly a
jardinière in your hands
sending lots of sunshine, to golden sands…


The title at once makes the reader thinks the poem is about a loving relationship revealed by one person to the other. However, it does not become clear immediately, that the poem offers a broader view of what civic-minded people do as they embrace the idea of being social partners in nation building. The title is feminine but begs the question: Is it a real name or a good user-name? The poet shows versatility in the structure of the poem


The speaker communicates directly to a female though it is hard to tell if speaker is male. The speaker showers praise on Alisajs in a public ceremony via some type of social networking site.


The poem’s mood is that of excitement, confidence and sincerity.


The speaker’s tone is respectful, sophisticated. There is no shift in the speakers tone and attitude; this suggests that the sentiments expressed are sincere.


The language is dignified, poetic and lofty yet easily understood by the audience.


Love and romance, caring and sharing, voluntarism, establishing connections, social consciousness of citizens, are possible themes in this poem.


The title gives a good structure for a user-name since the real name seems not to be in play here. This is based on the fact that a good user-name is easy to spell, to type and remember. It is simple and more or less free of special symbols. Probably the real name is ‘Lisa’ with the first letter ‘a’ and the last two letters ‘js’ as the permutations. A user-name is used for professional purposes, and helps to protect one’s privacy when communication via web services once the real name is not disclosed.

This poem has seven lines spelling out the name of the poem’s title. In this short poem there is much adoration shown in the imagery riding on the rhythmic wave of adjectives and adverbs providing needed insight into the personality traits of the person upon whom the accolade is being showered. The use of the acrostic form is most appropriate because this form provides the avenue from which to praise people, cities, and events during any kind of awards ceremony whether on a grand scale or not so grand.

This poem shows the poet’s versatility. There is a marked departure from the formal structure or established modes of conventional poetry arrangements in this poem. This contention is based on the fact that in the poem there are no set patterns of rhymes and meter. The poet makes effective use of the enjambment which is something not readily utilized in structured poetry with metered verses. The enjambment is the continuation of a syntactic element from one line of verse into the next without a pause; it allows the speaker to put emphasis on certain words or phrases. Also notice that in this poem, there is only one end-stop in the form of an ellipsis. End-stops are not typically found in Free Verse. What is evident in this poem is that the poet has borrowed techniques from unstructured forms and amalgamated them with conventional forms of which the acrostic belongs. Supposedly, that’s what versatile poets do nowadays.

The explicit or literal meaning of this poem is about a tender, loving attraction publicly shown to Alisajs by an admirer via some type of social media.

The insight into the personality traits of Alisajs shows that she is people-oriented; she is talented, and compassionate with a winning personality and an unselfish devotion as seen in Lines 5, 6 and 7. During the course of the conversation, Alisajs’ admirer lets it be known that she is adored because of the love she shares and so much more as implied by the use of the ellipsis (…). Questions arise: What kind of relationship is being demonstrated? Is it agape love, platonic or a romantic relationship? Is the relationship a long distance one or not? Is the person male or female who is talking to Alisajs? Answers to these questions go unanswered for thelack of sufficient clues in this short poem.

The speaker hints that Alisajs is talented and intelligent as seen in Lines 1, 2, 3, and 4. However, the question arises: What exactly is her area of expertise? The imagery does not say but leaves the fires of speculation burning to suggest that she could be any one of these: landscape designer, gourmet cook, motivational speaker. Could it be that she is a song writer or a poet whose forte is aligned with romanticism as envisioned in Line 1? Could she be a care-giver in some geriatric hospital as the mind sees in Line 7? What is Alisajs’ social status in the community? The speculation seems to say that she is probably from the bourgeois class given the sophisticated language of the speaker.

The implicit meaning of the poem is derived from the many feelings surfacing from the array of images being painted. The implicit meaning is propelled by metaphors found in the poem. These figures of speech stir up ambiguities of the language and give rise to speculative results from the additional questions they raise. This is all purposeful work on the part of the poet to speak to the readers’ subconscious mind. These figures of speech stir up ambiguities of the language and give rise to speculative results from the additional questions they raise. So where the mind goes, the poem will follow the mind. So, through the implicit prism, Alisajs is a metaphor for what civic-minded people do when pushing the voluntarism envelope in neighborly love to splendid heights by honoring the concept of social partners in nation building.

Please let me know if you find this helpful.

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