Poetry is a very powerful way of communication between a writer and a reader. Just like other forms of literature, poetry reflects the thoughts, wisdom, and sensibilities of the one who created it. Since poetry is a combination of symbolism and different parts of speech presented in a creative way, every reader sees and interprets it in his or her own way. Its meaning is just like a big puzzle that one should put together wherein most of the time, the writer chooses not to reveal it.
Moreover, in classical masterpieces just like the old Greek poetry, it is sometimes impossible to know its meaning because those who created it are long gone from this world. Most poetries especially those classics explore social predicaments, life complexities and human nature. Its authenticity lies in its realistic themes and humane nature. It reflects history and the writers’ social and cultural orientation, most of the time it contains political messages.
However, the impact that poetry has on people depends on how they are going to perceive its meaning. The Canadian Authors Meet The Canadian Authors Meet (1945) by F. R. Scott is another timeless poem that talks about Canadian Writing Groups. The poetry is like questioning and examining the contemporary themes in poetry by Canadian poets during the early to mid twentieth century. Apparently, during the time that F. R. Scott created the poetry, “the prevailing tradition in Canadian verse was very much of the offspring of English Victorian style”.
It is then right to assume that in this poem by Scott, he is making a certain form of criticism by the continuous conformity of the Canadian poets towards English classic poetic style. He described those growing number of conformist writers as puppets beneath the English society, “Expansive puppets percolate self-unction/ Beneath a portrait of the Prince of Wales” (Line 1&2). Prince of the Wales is the title given to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom thus it is used by Scott to make a point of comparison on how Canadian poetry also made English society as their superior basis in creating their “masterpieces”.
Moreover, there are those poets who contends themselves with the comfortable stability of Victorian lifestyle and its well metered verse and style, “From group to chattering group, with such a dear/ Victorian saintliness, as is her fashion,/ Greeting the other unknowns with a cheer–” (Line 4-7). The woman which he describes in this stanza is an offspring of English Victorian verse. “Virgins of sixty who still writes of passion” (Line 8) demonstrates people who totally idolize the Victorian style still believes in the “usual happy endings and justice” with the “association of moral lesson at heart” by Victorian fiction.
They are like virgins, innocent and blind to the becoming complex life of humanity. The speaker perceives this writers like a fool literary wannabes who write sweetly sentimental and patriotic imitating Romantic and Victorian poetry. The second to fifth stanza in the poem portray a social gathering of the group of poets as they celebrate their passion in art and poetry. The word “we” declares that the speaker is one of the participants therefore one of the poets.
In the first two stanzas, the speaker somehow responds and laments towards the poets who totally conform to the traditional world of values, style and culture by the English literature. In the third stanza and fourth stanza, the group of poets though recognizes the achievement of “…Carman, Lampman, Roberts, Campbell, Scott,” who “Are measured for their faith and philanthropics,/ Their zeal for God and King, their earnest thought” and whose poetries are “…heavy with Canadian topics” (Line 9-12). Carman, Lampman, Roberts, Campbell and Scott are “group of Confederation poets”.
Their poems “celebrate patriotism against the colonialism of British North America on some of the Canada’s provinces and territories”. Their works are apparently inspired by Canadian setting. However, here the writer still challenges the poets from his poetic tone to innovate a modern and fresh way of style and form. The lines “The cakes are sweet, but sweeter is the feeling/ That one is mixing with the literati;” (Line 13-14) illustrates that to embrace the title of being “literati” (intellectual) means to challenge oneself to newness or freshness.
The Victorian and Romantic Poetry belongs to English society for its own sake therefore the Canadian poets should also create their own that would be more of a reflection of their self and identity. When the Canadian poets will manage to create their own identity, they will gather again so to celebrate the “…most delightful party” (Line 16). The lines “Shall we go round the mulberry bush, or shall/ We gather at the river, or shall we/ Appoint a Poet Laureate this fall,/ Or shall we have another cup of tea?
” (Line 16-20) challenge the poets to seek and welcome the birth of poetry’s new age where it will reflect the modern conditions and contemporary conditions of life. Through questioning, the speaker which is also a poet challenges his colleagues whether they will enthusiastically welcome the birth of modernism not just in redefining the usual themes but also innovating the form, or whether they will contend themselves to stay in their comfort zones beneath English style.
Moreover, the lines “O Canada, O Canada, O can/ A day go by without new authors springing/ To paint the native maple, and to plan/ More ways to set the selfsame welkin ringing? (Line 21-24) reflects that though the writer dismisses the Confederation poets because their works reflects traditional style but he incorporated a social verse still. He still encourages other poets to denounce injustices but rather should champion social change and reform.
In poetry, there are themes in the past that be must be continued of course especially if those themes are still being applied today, just like inequalities, human nature, injustices and etc. However, the very optimistic, romantic and artful lifestyle with so much sentimentality during medieval period no longer applies in contemporary. Al Purdy’s Lament for the Dorsets: In this poetry, Al Purdy is evidently attracted to decayed things, those things that are part of history that are often ignored because their existence itself seems impossible.
Consequently, people consider them as a myth not worthy of so much attention. Literary writers now wanted to explore more realistic themes that will explore common human experience. But Al Purdy gives tribute towards a part of history that most people only considered a myth and a fictional story despite the evidences from archeology. The poetry “Lament for the Dorsets” basically ponders and laments the extinction of an Inuit group for hundred years ago.
Inuit people preceded from the Dorset culture were seasonal nomads who traveled in small groups and who primarily depended on sea mammals. “Dorset civilization was spread over an extensive area of northern Canada and is thought to have existed for approximately two thousand years. It is not certain when Dorset culture disappeared, but it was after members of the Thule culture arrived from Alaska, for there are indications of contact between the two groups (“Dorset Culture”).
This poetry basically laments the unique civilization that just died out because it is unable to constantly survive in the changing climate conditions or because it was dominated by a more superior and more sophisticated group (thule). However, through the writer’s poetry he is able to celebrate the authenticity of Dorset culture, as it becomes a medium of reminder to the contemporary people that once upon a time there exists a kind of group that reflects primitive lifestyle.
Meanwhile, at the end of the poetry, Purdy incorporates a evidence about this culture to justify their existence. Purdy shows that a tiny carving of an ivory swan discovered by the archeologists is what enables the Dorsets to live beyond their graves until their civilization is discovered some 600 years later, as it says “After 600 years/ the ivory thought/ is still warm” (Line 72-74). The poet established such a long introduction in this poetry by which he describes what the Dorsets have left behind from their settlements at several locations near Canadian territories.
The kind of lifestyle that the Dorset people had is also illustrated in these lines. However, in the succeeding lines after line 50 the poet created a narrative to dramatizes and justify the last evident of Dorset’s existence. In the poetry, the speaker is assumed to witness the last few moments of the last Dorset. The narrator even imagines that the last Dorset is probably a hunter handicapped with a lame leg after being mauled by a bear, “Some old hunter with one lame leg/ a bear had chewed/ sitting in a caribou skin tent/ — the last Dorset? ” (Line 47-50).
To make it more personal and vivid, the writer even named him as Kudluk — who symbolically carved “…a 2-inch ivory swans”, a sign of rebirth “for his dead granddaughter” (Line 52-53). Watching Kudluk’s quiet death “after a while wind/ blows down the tent and snow/ begins to cover him” (Line 69-71), one feels his race disappears. Kudluk’s last mysterious act which is carving of a tiny ivory swan is the Dorset’s pivot into the future, because the beauty of the carvings still speaks to us. Moreover, the ivory swan also reminds the people about Dorset culture.
The Cold Green Element by Irving Layton Probably while writing this poetry, Irving is thinking about death though there is no cohesive plan on what would be the exact theme since the poem is continuously wandering, flowing from one thread to the next. “The Cold Green Element” determines to preserve the hopeless tone through the various hallucinogenic scenarios, highlighting the fragmented tale of a lost young man. The man in the poetry has a difficulty to deal with the dreamlike vision of death, moving through surreal images of death and sadness, fear and great despair.
But what are the indications that the man in the poem is at lost? In the first four lines, “At the end of the garden walk/ the wind and its satellite wait for me; the meaning I will not know/ until I go there” (Line 1-4) indicates that just like any other human being, the man in the poem is constantly on paths who are not sure what will be his exact destination. He recognizes the paths but not the meaning. But not until the man meets the first omen of death; the black hated undertaker. The man whose “heart beating in the grass” (Line 6) and the “undertaker” is heading down the same road; the path of death.
The next imagery is being delivered almost casually. The writer mentions of a dead poet who “out of the water/…now hangs from the city of gates (Line 9-10). Crowds who “if its limbs twitched in the air/ they would sit at its feet/ peeling their oranges” (Line 13-15) indicates that the narrator’s coming of death is being viewed casually by people and he is in intense awareness of it. The crowd who is comfortably peeling their oranges illustrates that people approach his death very naturally, with their peculiar fascination with his destruction and the grotesque way of his death.
The lines “And turning over I embrace like a lover/ the trunk of a tree, one of those/ for whom the lighting was too much/ and grew a brilliant/ hunchback with a crown of leaves” (Line 16-20) demonstrates that the man is in a scene of defeat and wanted to seek comfort to the crown of leaves, hoping that in this way he can survive death and humiliation. However, that doesn’t really give him a sense of comfort since the rest of the poem incorporates fragmented and despairing images of fear and death. The writer sees himself powerless just like the “old women”.
Moreover the writer is afraid for his loss of virility and manhood. In the line “spent streams mourning my manhood” suggests that the writer has a very humane concern for his loss of manhood. The viewed scene or image of those “old pupils” is one that is associated with blood and death. The line my “murdered selves” is an indication that the narrator is only in the midst of imagination thinking about his death for a long time, struggling with the reality that death is inevitable. The narrator again mixes death and fruit as he says, “my murdered selves/ sparked the air like the muted collisions/ of fruit” (Line 29-31).
This indicates that the writer is making a point of comparison, by which there is a tension between the morbid darkness of death and the bright colors of fruits. In the finality he said, “I am again/ a breathless swimmer in that cold green element (Line 39-40) which means that the writer is again in the struggle to conquer himself about his morbid imagination towards the different possibilities of death. The narrator is apparently in the midst of trying to overcome his fear towards death. Work Cited Page: Layton, Irving.
The Selected Poems of Irving Layton. New York USA. New Directions Publishing, 1977. P. 13-14 Al Purdy. “Lament for the Dorsets. ” Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets: Selected Poems 1962-1996. Ed. Al Purdy and Sam Solecki. Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 1996. 68-70. Irving, Edward. Gavin, Carlyle. “The Collected Writings of Edward Irving”. Michigan .University of Michigan (2007) “Dorset culture. ” Encyclop? dia Britannica. 2009. Encyclop? dia Britannica Online. 02 Apr. 2009 <http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/169627/Dorset-culture>.Sample Essay of Custom-Writing