Coleridge's Poems

Coleridge's Poetry in "Conversation"

Coleridge's Poetry in "Conversation"

Nothing about Samuel Coleridge's "conversation" poems is conventionally conversational. These poems do not create a dialogue between two characters, but instead focus on an internal dialogue that Coleridge's personas have with themselves. For Coleridge, conversation is a personal, individual action. In "Sonnet to the River Otter" and "Frost at Midnight" the personas philosophize to themselves about themselves, but their physically present human counterparts are unnecessary to the thoughtful commentary. As the river and the infant child exist in these poems they are merely objects that initiate the persona's internal dialogues. Both poems feature an evocation of the object that quickly gives way to personal ruminations: "Dear native brook! wild streamlet of the West!" (Coleridge, "Sonnet to the River Otter," 1), and "My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart / With tender gladness, thus to look at thee," ("Frost at Midnight," 48-49). The lines following these mark a turn inside the persona to his own thoughts that have nothing to do with the subject he called upon. In "Frost at Midnight,"...

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