Virtuosity, sheer eloquence, in great work has its own meanings: in the best Shakespeare sonnets, as a kind of sexual display or gift to the courted person, with the acrobatic wit amplifying courtship with excellence. In Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” the verbal richness is like the banner or ceremonial sword of acknowledged mortality, establishing the tragic beauty of individual, conscious creatures who die. In Elizabeth Bishop’s “In the Waiting Room,” the poem’s verbal fluency, like superfine oil penetrating rock, emphasizes how imagination enters every experience, presiding over ordinary life simultaneously with “rivulets of fire.” . . . (cont.)
See the Favorite Poem Project video of Plath’s poem, read by Seph Rodney.
This forum will take up a new poem each month, with the next poem appearing near the end of October. Stay tuned!