For a number of the poems presented on the first day, we were instructed to pay attention to
the refrain or repetition: “XVII (I Do Not Love You),” “Let America Be America Again,” “Triolets for Ken,”
“A Cry from an Indian's Wife” and “The Raven.” “Siren’s Song,” “The City of the End of Things” and “The
Raven” all tell dark stories, the latter two evoking a feeling of descent – all of the poems from this first
day have some kind of narrative, though it may not be straightforward. "A Cry from an Indian's Wife,"
"Gertrude Talks Back," and “Siren’s Song" all deal with female stereotypes or oppression. "Gertrude
Talks Back," "Five Ways to Kill a Man" and “Siren’s Song" all have a twist at the ending of the poem that
serves to make the poem more forceful and reveals some kind of deeper truth. Several of the students
in this section mentioned that the poems that they selected meant something to them personally.
The poems today all shared a theme of loss in honor of Remembrance Day. Several focused
specifically on a loss of love – “The Loss of Love,” “Tears in Heaven” and “Mid-Term Break.” “Funeral
Blues” and “Tears in Heaven” were both spoken though they are meant to be sung. The theme of
repetition was present in “The Second Coming,” though it didn’t use any of the traditional repetitious
forms. “In Flanders Fields,” “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” and “Tears in Heaven” all employed repetition
as well. “The Second Coming” and “In Flanders Fields” were both written after the war, though they
share what is found there in different ways – “The Second Coming” is a much more violent and brutal
look at the chaos of the battlefield through the symbolism of the falcon whereas “In Flanders Fields”
deals with the haunting aftermath and the lives that were lost.
The natural images in “A Dream Within a Dream,” “We Spent the