On modern poetry
We have now arrived in the 20th century. The poetry of the 20th century is simply immense and it is hard to chose a list of major works. But here we have a selection, anyway.
Read one, or several, of the poems below. Write about their mood, message, and meaning.
Mood – How would you describe the feeling the poem has or is trying to portray?
Message – How would you interpret what the poem ”is trying to tell you”?
Meaning – What did you think about the language in the poem? Any particular line that was powerful or caught your attention? Why? Any particular line or word that you thought about or had to look up?
Post as a comment.
Choose a poem, or song, with a lyrics that you find interesting. Comment on its mood, message, and meaning.
Post as a comment. Include the text and author in the posting.
List of modern poems
1. The Wasteland – T S Eliot
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
2. Howl – Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg is best known for Howl (1956), a long poem about the self-destruction of his friends of the Beat Generation and what he saw as the destructive forces of materialism and conformity in United States at the time.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machin-
ery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene-
ment roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes
hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy
among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy &
publishing obscene odes on the windows of the
3. Daddy – Sylvia Plath. Along with Anne Sexton, Plath is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry.
You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo. Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time–
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
4. The Snow Man – Wallace Stevens
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves, Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
5. This is just to say – Carolos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
the icebox and which
you were probably
for breakfast. Forgive me
they were delicious
and so cold.
6. The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
7. The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
8. O me! O life! – Walt Whitman (1892)
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.