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Words Analysis

Author: Poetry of Anne Sexton Type: Poetry Views: 601

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Be careful of words,even the miraculous ones.For the miraculous we do our best,sometimes they swarm like insectsand leave not a sting but a kiss.They can be as good as fingers.They can be as trusty as the rockyou stick your bottom on.But they can be both daisies and bruises.Yet I am in love with words.They are doves falling out of the ceiling.They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.They are the trees, the legs of summer,and the sun, its passionate face.Yet often they fail me.I have so much I want to say,so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.But the words aren't good enough,the wrong ones kiss me.Sometimes I fly like an eaglebut with the wings of a wren.But I try to take careand be gentle to them.Words and eggs must be handled with care.Once broken they are impossiblethings to repair.


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This kind of poetry, which unveils the poet's innermost feelings, is usually termed confessional poetry, and it is the subject of much critical controversy. A Times Literary Supplement reviewer, for example, said of Live or Die that "many of Mrs. Sexton's new poems are arresting, but such naked psyche-baring makes demands which cannot always be met. Confession may be good for the soul, but absolution is not the poet's job, nor the reader's either." A Punch critic added, "When her artistic control falters the recital of grief and misery becomes embarrassing, the repetitive material starts to grow tedious, the poetic gives way to the clinical and the confessional." Many reviewers raised at least two questions. First, should her poetry be classified as confessional? Second, does her work consistently demonstrate the artistic control which many critics feel is an essential quality of good poetry?
Much of Anne Sexton's poetry is autobiographical and concentrates on her deeply personal feelings, especially anguish. In particular, many of her poems record her battles with mental illness.
The poet is talking about writing a poem. The words have to be carefully chosen to fit the thoughts. Then she describes the way in which words cross her mind. The words which occur spontaneously or miraculously are the best. The poet uses adjectives like good and trusty. Some words may be hurtful yet the poet loves them. There is a shift to biblical imagery in doves falling out of the ceiling and six holy oranges sitting in my lap. ‘doves falling out of the ceiling’ reminds us of Ted Hughes ’The Thought Fox’. But inspite of their abundance the poet is dissatisfied as she has ‘so much to say. Towards the end of the poem the poet tries to remind the reader to handle words with care
‘Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.’- Prof Yogesh Anvekar

| Posted on 2014-11-14 | by a guest

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