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After the witching hour, but I promised to be more productive about chatting about the ModPo poems, so a brief exploration. That said, it is my hopes to generate content Before heading over to ModPo forum to express opinion, but this post will be backward. These are thoughts left on ModPo boards regarding a Robert Frost poem and a Genevieve Taggard poem. Btw, a bit fuzzy on being able to post the poems without copyright infringement, ergo, one will need to just follow the link if a desire to read. 

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“Mending Walls” is a rather famous Robert Frost poem, so famous that I’ve never heard of it! Terrible, yes, but I neither studied poetry in school, nor am a big fan of Frost. He has always come across as rather pastoral and bland. Younger years found his poems delightful, but after teenage eyes read Plath and Dickinson, meh,  I didn’t want to meander, I wanted to travel the path that was being mowed down in flames.

“Mending Walls” may just address this idea of Frost and his path if theories are true. If one is truly interested, please visit this link for scholarly theories. If one wishes a live close read and is available tomorrow morning, visit this live feed which should be most interesting.

I have pondered a few things regarding “Mending Walls”…

1. A classmate posted about this line: He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

Her line of thought was akin to mine, however, we drew a different read as to who was the ‘real’ Frost.

Katherine, this too caused me to pause. I’m confused, though, which do you view as the non-modern Frost?

I think I may be on an opposite interp (granted not saying mine is correct by any means) for I read the ‘old stone savage’, the farmer who repeats “Good fences make good neighbors” as the Frost who writes on the side of the pines, not from under the forbidden fruit. I started a thread somewhat regarding this when I questioned the verbiage in the opening line in which the speaker is rather informal and folksy. Though the poem is written with the speaker seemingly more progressive than the neighborly farmer, I get the feeling that Frost is actually the neighbor in the end who refuses to give in just because time has broken down the wall.

2. In another thread, I wondered about the opening line of “Mending Walls”

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” is such an usual line, it is rather casual, if not folksy, that I didn’t really equate it to Frost. Curious, since I didn’t recall it mentioned in the video, I ‘Googled’ it and found this most informative link. (Actually, I think this is part of our useful links on the main page). I’ve not read all of the theories, but from those that I did read, John Kemp’s especially, was most interesting.

Compressing the ideas from what I skimmed this is what I ended up with and would be curious if anyone else had a thought…

The unique phrasing of the first line sets the poem’s tone. This line does reappear a third of the way down the poem, however, it doesn’t quite feel as oddly phrased. Some would theorize that is because the language has since been established between the speaker versus the farmer, one being more ‘country’ the other being more formal. If one takes the video into account, the meta-poetic reading, then Frost is working both sides of the walls. Is he showing his internal ‘battle’ of modern verses tradition via language use/tone? The speaker being rather free, folksy and imaginative whereas the farmer comes back rather formal with his “Good fences make good neighbors”.

Apologies that I’m not formulating this into a question very well, but I would love to read more thoughts on those that believe this is Frost grappling with modern poetry and his own style. What, if anything makes you read it that way?

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G. Taggard’s poem,”Interior”  from 1935 was most interesting. Several threads have been discussing the interiority and walls of this poem, but there was one that addressed the rhythm/structure that better resonated with my ‘close read’. Many have theorized that there are two poems working within this poem…building these interior walls. I’ve agreed with that idea, as well as expounded upon something that came to me while posing a different question…

Curious, do the majority see the “Oh No!” as a ‘no, you won’t pay attention’ or ‘oh no, what wil you do now’? . Whilst I read the Ands as walls/ bricks as Allan has stated so well, I cannot help but read it, too, as a mocking of the female who sits inside, quietly living her life with each And as an intake of breath, as if a mocking the subjects only worries in life.

& this…

(this was a reply by a fellow student to above question) —
I see the Ands both as a brick wall protecting the interior & as an angry chanting mob mocking her.

The whole poem in stressed by this bipolar tension. I fear that the whole thing will soon come crashing down & then what?

(and my response) —

Thanks for the reply!

I must say that I see your POV, especially as I read it as poem within a poem due to the halting nature of its structure (ballad-like, esp if it were re-lined and punctuated).

There is this other part of me, though, that reads it as a woman to woman commentary. Not so much that the mob outside is going to take control, but that the woman inside must quit living the quiet life/safe life. As I write this…I wonder if it isn’t a bit meta-poetic, she is calling herself to not get sunk in academia, but to cry out her own socialist voice…. just a thought.

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If you’ve made it this far down the page, especially if a fellow student, I welcome any thoughts.
Good night & Good morning ~ a

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3 thoughts on “walls – a dwelling in the other possibility

  1. A…L…ped…es…tal so AW…dos… not… do angela, i need your help… is this an example of mopo or a goofy riddle… or is it what happens when you put y.h.c. and a construction site, WCW,an ex costruction guy, a UP prof,and a couple of notions into a blender? i’d like to think it’s WCW and a riddle with a point.

  2. Pingback: Right In Front Of Me (A Poem) « What If It All Means Something

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