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What are the two layers represented in the poem?

P.B. Shelley (peanutbutter and Shelley)

 First Set of Layers: Layers of Time – The first line of the poem tells us that this happened a loooooong time ago
Time Traveler
The narrator
The reader (us)

The second set of Layers: Layers of Irony –  this line on the statue is supposed to intimidate and cause fear

  • In reference to “look on my work ye mighty and despair”:Everything in his kingdom is gone (covered in sand)

    He is right, WE should despair – no physical mark we ever make on this planet will survive (gone into oblivion – lost in time and never be remembered)

  • Eventually time and weather will erode it

    The poem has memorialized Ozymandias; not because of his statue. He will be remembered, but not as powerful – rather as stupid and vain recreated the statue with words by writing the poem

    The only reason why we know about Ozymandias
    The idea that poetry will outlive stone










Song of the Men of England



Who are the drones?


by PB Shelley (PB & Shelley)


The drones non–worker male bee which are stingless (cannot protect themselves) and make no honey; there to impregnate the queen (their only job is to reproduce); privileged from birth to death (cradle to their grave);

Drones are a symbol of nobility

Worker Bee's are the men of england who work hard for the noble and get nothing in return.


Annabel Lee



by Edgar Allen Poe

The poem is about a boy who sings a song about the a love he had when he was young and talks about how pure their love was, so pure that the angels in heaven were jealous and took her, Annabel Lee, from him.

Because he wants to remain close to her, he has created a ritual each nite to remember her.








Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Dramatic Monologue and Blank Verse

Ulysses is giving a long speech about his departcher:



Crossing the Bar


by. Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Poem is appropriate for funerals

Tennyson has requested that this poem be the last in any anthology of poems.

Sunset and evening star,

  • The day is dying, he is close to death
  • It is getting very late at sunset, the stars are already out

Turns again home.

  • Our soul came from somewhere out there crossing that sand barrier, we live our life, and when we are ready to die, we go back across the sand barrier

Twilight and evening bell,

  • End of day, not much life left

Andd after that the dark!

  • Death



My Last Dutches


What's the Poem about?


by Rober Browning

Dramatic Monologue – Heroic Couplets (used ironically – he is not heroic)

The duke is meeting with agent to discuss the dowery for marrying a new (young) girl to make his dutches after he had his previous one killed while they sit and view the painting he had made of her which is hidden most times by a curtain.


There's a Certain Slant of Light


What's this about?

by Emily Dickinson

This poem describes a
Winter Afternoon – the dying season, during the death of a day – poem about death

Emily Dickenson lived in a big house by herself – there was a lot of loneliness in her life; she is more attune to her mood (than men)


The Soul Selects Her Own Society


What's the Poem about?

Emily Dickinson

Poem is about how your inner spirit chooses who your soul mate(s) are, and how for some there is only one soul mate (dickinson)

Your heart does the choosing, and once one has been chosen, your heart turns to stone shutting out all others.



requires e



I Heard a Fly Buzz


Poem is about?

Emily Dickinson

There is a noticeable quietness about the room that the speaker is in as he/she lays on her deathbed surrounded by loved ones who haven been mourning for a very long time and no longer have any tears left to cry.

The room is so quiet, you can hear a fly buzzing

The Fly symbolizes not only death, but also how short life is (flies have a short life span); in th poem the fly is also dying (which is something they have in common).


Terrence, This is Stupid Stuff


What's the Poem about?

by. A.E. Housman

(this american eagle is stupid in the house)

The poem is about a man who is complaining about the type of poetry Housman writes because it is always sad, about pain, suffering and death. If a cow were to be dying, Housman would write a poem about its death; however it would have been the poem which caused the cow to die in the end...

They are in a bar and the man is drunk, he drinks to the point that he no longer cares about his problems and wishes Housman would write about things that were uplifting, poems that others could find joy in singing and dancing to when they are happy. Rather than poems that further dampen their mood.

Housman responds by telling him that they cannot always drink to the point that they no longer see the problems in the world. The problems will always be there and you need to find ways of helping yourself work/get through the problems, rather than cover them up with endless steins of beer. He then tells him a story about a king who would injest poison a little bit over a long time building up an immunity. When the people in his kingdom tried to poison his food, he was left unaffected, and in the end was able to see those who were unfaithful to him (by the looks on their faces).

The moral of the poem is that although alcohol may help short-term, poetry will be more useful during the hard times.



What Lips my Lips have Kissed



What's the Poem about?

Edna St. Vincent Millay

st. valentines = love

This Petrarchan Sonnet is about Millay who is laying in bed alone on a dark and rainy night reminsicing about all her young lovers she had slept with in the past; in the summer of her youth. She had so many that she cannot remember their names, however she remembers how she felt laying in their arms.

The raindrops which hit her window pane remind her of when the men would stand outside her window tossing pebbles against her window hoping she would allow them to come in.

She feels as if she has entered the winter season of her life where her sex life has entered its cold road towards death.



The Road Not Taken




Robert Frost

The poem is about a man (speaker/frost) who is walking through a forrest and comes upon a junction (symbolism for cross-roads in life). Both paths look equally as welcoming, having looked as if neither had been walked upon in some time. He decides to head down one path and thinks to himself he will return at another time to journey down the other road. However he doubts he will ever make it back. If when he returns, it is possible the road may no longer be there, he may not feel the same about wanting to go down the road, or it may not be traversable. He lets out a sad sigh as he wishes he were able to take both roads, rather than decide on taking only one.

The speaker loves life so much, he regrets not being able to take both roads

In order to try both roads in life, you would need to have more than one life - ulysses

When you select one choice, the other disappears – Emily Dickinson – The soul selects its own society

Selection necessarily requires exclusion



We Real Cool


What's this about?

Gwendolyn Brooks

This poem is about adolescent boys who have quit school and are not rebellious teens who spend their days hanging out at the pool hall drinking and hustling other patrons.

The boys have tallent, they are good at alliteration and were able to write a song they can sing and they play jazz tunes in the spring. Had they not quit school they may have ammounted to something, rather than waste their lives and talant drinking and loitering.


A Lovely Love


What's this shit about?

Gwendolyn Brooks

The poem is about a boy and girl who are trying to find a place in a church to have sex for the first time; both are young and are trying to not get caught by the custodian. Their passion for each other is primitive and naive as they explore thier love for eachother in the privacy of the church confessional during the holidays.


Sonnet ABBA CDDC EFEFGG – Brooks own rhyme scheme is a combination of Petrarchan and English

Poem is about two young lovers against society; and this is their first time making love: 





B: ABBA CDDC EFEFGG – letter of the English in the form of the Petrarchan 

Two beautiful rhyme schemes become one





The Negro Speaks of Rivers


Five Uses of the Concept of a River

Langston Hughes


1) Time is like as a river which flows in one direction – dawn line 4, sunset line 7 – time changes as it flows through space; like how the river flows past its bank, the fiver stays the same, but the water is different. You cannot go back in time, you cannot go back in a river and see the same water (molecules)


2) Blood is a River – he can trace his accessory all the way back through time his ancestors were able to see the Euphrates, the Nile, the Congo …



3) History of Slavery – the rivers he picks gives us the history of slavery in condensed form 

  • Euphrates – where civilization began; slavery began as well (black Africans enslaving blacks)


  • Congo – white traders from Europe conducted a slave trade in Africa (white’s enslaving blacks)


  • Nile – black slaves built the pyramids (black Arab-Africans enslaving blacks)


  • Missippi – the end of slavery; emancipation proclamation (whites enslaving blacks)

4) Flow of the river – slavery is a universal evil no matter where you find it

  • Mississippi River flows from North to South


  • Nile Flows South to North


  • Congo flows from middle of Africa from East to west into the Atlantic


  • The Euphrates from from West to East

5) Reiver – alternate spelling of River

  • Reiver is a person who betrays; the negro speaks of betrayls


  • His people betrayed him; taking someone elses life from them to make your life easier


The American dream is deferred: if you keep any group form that dream; the dream will not go away, but get violent




what's the poem about?


Langston Hughes

The way that black community in Detroit had the American dream denied to them; their response was to shoot people with uniforms because uniforms represented the oppressive government.


Morning After


Poem about?

Langston Huhes

Poem was written around prohibition, the speaker is laying in bed next to his girl after a long night of partying. She is keeping him awake with her snoring.

Why is there a repetition? This is a blues song pattern (in blues music you repeat lines)

Poetry and music are very closely related



My Papa's Waltz


Is this poem about child abuse or a fond memory?

Theodore Roethke

Poem is musical (in waltz beat) 

In our time: Argue this poem reflects child abuse 

  • Line 1: Whiskey on breath


  • Line 3: hang on like death (child is in fear; play is rough)


  • Line 10: battered on one knuckle


  • Line 5: appears out of control


  • Line 7: mom’s disapproving expression 

  • Line 12: right ear scraped a buckle


  • Line 13: beat time on my head

Argue that it is not child abuse – argue how in each line

  • Line 5 – romping is playful 

  • Rough-housing
  • Musicality of the poem; child is looking upon the memory fondly Title: Papa’s (term of endearment)

  • If it was irony he would say ‘father’
  • Can almost hear the child giggling in the background Poem is about a child dancing on his dad’s feet






The Emperor of Ice Cream


wtf poem

by Wallace Stevens