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Poetry | Strong Emotions

Poetry can evoke strong emotions and poets use diverse stylistic devices and artistic details to evoke strong emotions in the audience. In such a way, they attempt to reach the desirable effect and involve audience in the poetry making them not distant observers but active participants of what poets write about. In this regard, it is possible to refer to three poems, including My Papa’s Waltz by T. Poethke, Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night by D. Thomas, and Ode on a Grecian Urn by J. Keats, where the poets evoke strong emotions in the audience using diverse tools and literary techniques.

In fact, My Papa’s Waltz by T. Poethke is a noteworthy poem, which sounds quite ironic, especially in the depiction of a drunken father by a child, who perceives it as a sort of play. The author compares the father bringing the child to the bed to waltzing that sounds quite ironic. At the same time, Poethke uses other literary techniques to evoke emotions in the audience. For instance, he uses simile to increase the emotional impact on the audience:

But I hung on like death (Poethke, 3)

The author compares the father to the death for the narrator holds on his father like death being afraid of his father’s losing control and falling down or any other accident. In such a way, he reveals his attitude to the father and the perception of the father by the child, who is apparently aware of the danger his father exposes him to. At the same time, the simile sounds quite ironic. In fact, it is possible to trace other manifestations of irony in the poem, which enhance the emotional impact of the poem on the audience:

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.
(Poethke, 9-12)

In fact, this case of irony is close to sarcasm. The author reveals the negative effects of such waltzing, which is not just dangerous but which does hurt and it is the child, who suffers from waltzing above all, whereas the drunken father leaves all the damages unnoticed. As for Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night by D. Thomas, it is also possible to trace a number of artistic details and stylistic devices, which enhance the impact of the poem on emotions of the audience. For instance, the author uses metaphors to increase the emotional impact of the poem and to show those strong feelings and emotions he wants to convey in his poem:

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
(Thomas, 2-3)

The author stresses the internal state of the narrator through repeating the word rage, which is accompanied by the epithet “dying”. In such a way, the poet prepares the audience for something gloomy and negative to happen.

Repetition and change of epithets, for each stanza starts with epithet plus men, for instance, wise men…, good men…, wild men…, grave men… (Thomas, 4,7,10, 13). Repetitions with different epithets brings in new, sometimes absolutely different shades of meaning into the poem, especially when the poet shifts from wise and good men to wild and grave ones. In such a way, the poet depicts absolutely different shades of human nature and characters, which he describes in his poem.

Another literary technique used by Thomas is the personal involvement of the author and reference to his personal life, especially when the author refers to his father:

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
(Thomas, 16-20)

Personal references increase substantially the emotional impact of the poem on the audience.
Finally, Ode on a Grecian Urn by J. Keats also has its specific literary techniques, such as paradox:

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared,
Pipe to the spirit dities of no tone.
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss
Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
(Keats, 11-20).

In such a way, the author evokes controversial emotions in the audience and shifts them fast in the course of the poem. As a result, readers have different emotions, which change fast, that make reading the poem highly emotional.

Thus, the three poems discussed above reveal the literary richness of the poems and their impact on emotions of the audience. Poets use different literary techniques, which help them to evoke strong emotions in the audience.

Works Cited:

Literature and the writing process. Ninth Ed. Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN-10: 0205745059/ISBN-13:9780205745050