Thursday, March 31, 2016

In Praise of Metaphysical Conceits

Today is the birthday of Andrew Marvell, probably most well known as the author of "To His Coy Mistress."

I love some of the images and metaphors that he uses. I love that they often go straight over the heads of my students, and I love pointing them out.

For example:

"Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chap't power."

I always say, "Really? Amorous birds of prey in a love poem? Really? Does anyone know how birds of prey mate?" Predatory birds having sex in free fall--not the image we typically associate with love poems.

Most of all, I love this image, which comes earlier in the poem:

"My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;"

Vegetable love--describe your love as a vegetable. Is carrot love better than broccoli love? Is rutabaga love a different kind of love than brussels sprouts love?

Ponder these questions as we prepare to leap into National Poetry Month (gulp!). Tomorrow I will post a list of 30 poetry writing prompts to keep us all inspired as we write a poem a day or cheer the ones who are making the attempt!

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