Howard Nemerov: Poems Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What represents the feather from a gull in the poem "Art Song’’?

    In the poem mentioned above, the narrator mentions how he held the feather in his hand while the wind tried to rip it away from him. The feather is described as being extremely delicate and fragile, especially when compared with the violent nature of the wind and the sea which tries to steal away the feather from the narrator. The feather from the gull is used here to represent the narrator’s literary inspiration. The narrator admits that a person’s inspiration is something which is extremely fragile and which can disappear extremely quickly. The wind mentioned in the poem is also used as a symbol to suggest the adversities the narrator may have to deal with at some point in his life.

  2. 2

    What does the narrator want to transmit through the poem "30th Anniversary Report of the Class of 41’’?

    Through this poem, the narrator presents the natural course of life many people took, that it get married, have children, work for a living, grow old, watch their grandchildren come into this world, and then waiting for death. This is presented as the natural way of life but for the narrator and for other people from his generation, their experiences were tarnished by the war in which they played an important part in. because of this, the rest of the actions described in the poem are attempts to have a normal life, to forget about the traumas from their past and try to build a new life for themselves. This does not come as something natural for the former soldiers who struggle every day to keep up a sense of normalcy. Thus, what the narrator wants to transmit through this is that war changes a person in such a manner it becomes impossible to return to the life they had before the war.

  3. 3

    What does the narrator want to transmit when he claims that the body of most people can’t follow a rhythm or that it doesn’t have a rhyme?

    This assumption appears in the poem "The Dancer’s Reply’’, towards the end of the poem. Until that point, the narrator showed the differences which existed between himself and the rest of the population especially when it comes to the way in which a person lives his or her life. The narrator claims he is not a slave like the rest of the people around him and that he is not subject to the same whip which many have to obey. He next claims that the bodies of the people around him have no rhythm and no rhyme, especially when compared to his own body. This may suggest a lack of purpose which many people experience and which affects their lives on a fundamental level and making their lives a lot harder.

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