As Poetry Essay Samples

How Is Love Portrayed in Japanese Literature?

When we think poetry, we think love. When we think Japanese, we think nature. How about when we think Japanese poetry, then? Both love and the four seasons are interrelated topics in Japanese poetry. One of the earliest collections of Japanese poetry is the Man’yōshū, which dates back to 758 AD. Then, in chronological order, appeared several other types: Kokinshū, Haikai, Hokku and modern Tanka. The emphasis on the topic of love has varied in degree in Japanese poetry since Man’yōshū reaching to modern thirty-one syllable Tanka.

In Japanese poetry, the four seasons were used as metaphors of expressing love, making love and the four seasons two unified themes. This correlation is greatly manifested in Man’yōshū. The following is an excerpt of a poem written by Empress Iwa no Hime (347) where the death of love is metaphorically manifested as winter, which is the season of death.

Just as I am
I shall wait for my Lord
Till on my black hair,
Trailing unconfined,
The frost shall fall.

Later, in the dawn of the tenth century, the prominence of the theme of the four seasons rises up to the level of that of love making both topics even more dependent upon each other. Love becomes of intense importance on the formation of the seasonal poetry in Kokinshū. Later on, during the seventeenth century, we witness shrinkage in the impact of the theme of love in comparison to that of the four seasons in Haikai, until it completely disappears in Hokku. Finally, in modern thirty-one syllable Tanka, the theme of love comes back to becoming the major independent theme which is not associated with seasons.

Japanese poetry is a very broad sea through which you would experience a great wave of beauty. The art of metaphorical resemblance of love in seasons and vice versa makes our minds marvel about what we read. Even though the nature and love are perceived as two different themes, they are beautifully interdependent in most of Japanese poetry, leaving us unable to disregard one of them when talking about the other.

The presented example of poem analysis essay was acconplished by one of our writers due to our instructions and required formatting style. Read it to have a full understanding of how papers of such kind are required to be written. You can’t use this paper in your own purposes not to be accused of plagiarism.

Writing poetry analysis essay paper can take a lot of time and efforts from you. But there is an easier way out. You can get professional assistance from academic writers experienced in various spheres of knowledge.

 

Robert Matz
Sample Essay
English 201.025
   

Gwendolyn Brooks' "First fight. Then Fiddle." initially seems to argue for the necessity of brutal war in order to create a space for the pursuit of beautiful art. The poem is more complex, however, because it also implies both that war cannot protect art and that art should not justify war. Yet if Brooks seems, paradoxically, to argue against art within a work of art, she does so in order create an artwork that by its very recognition of art's costs would justify itself.

Brooks initially seems to argue for the necessity of war in order to create a safe space for artistic creation. She suggests this idea quite forcefully in the paired short sentences that open the poem: "First fight. Then fiddle." One must fight before fiddling for two reasons. First, playing the violin would be a foolish distraction if an enemy were threatening one's safety; it would be, as the phrase goes, "fiddling while Rome burns." Second, fighting the war first would prepare a safe and prosperous place where one could reasonably pursue the pleasures of music. One has to "civilize a space / Wherein to play your violin with grace." It should be noted further that while Brooks writes about securing a "civilized" place to play the violin, she seems clearly to be using this playing as an image for art in general, as her more expansive references to "beauty" or "harmony" suggest.

Nonetheless, much that Brooks writes about the necessity to fight before fiddling indicates the she does not support this idea, at least not fully. For example, Brooks describes making beautiful music as being "remote / A while" from "malice and murdering." In addition to the negative way Brooks describes war in this line, as murder motivated by malice, the phrase "a while" significantly qualifies the initial command to "First fight. Then fiddle." While this initial command seems to promise that one will only have to fight once in order to create a safe space for art, the phrase "a while" implies rather that this space is not really safe, because it will only last for a short time. War will begin again after "a while" because wars create enemies and fail to solve underlying conflicts. The beauty of violin playing remains illusory if it makes us forget that the problem of war has not really gone away.

Brooks suggests moreover not only that war cannot really protect art but also that art is not really a just excuse for war. Indeed, she implies that art might be responsible for war's unjust brutality toward others. This idea is most evident in the poem's final sentence: "Rise bloody, maybe not too late / For having first to civilize a space / Wherein to play your violin with grace." Though on first read it seems like this sentence repeats the warning to fight before it is "too late," its language has a number of negative connotations that undercut this exhortation. "Civilize" might at first seem a laudable goal, but it is also hard not to hear in this word all the atrocities that have been committed because one group believed another group needed "civilizing" or lacked civility. Moreover, if war inherently makes even "civilized" people uncivil because of its brutality, war's final achievement in the poem--"a space / Wherein to play your violin with grace"--seems heavily ironic. "Grace" can suggest a valuable beauty or refinement, but also more superficial manners. And this possibility of merely superficial refinement, blind to the violence and even injustice committed in its name, is especially suggested by the image of having to "rise bloody." The artist playing his violin so gracefully also has blood on his hands. The first hypothesis of the poem, that one can fight and then fiddle--that is, that once can fight and put the war out of one's mind by playing beautiful music--has been replaced by a recognition that one cannot deny the violence that made beauty possible. For at a minimum war continually threatens this beauty. Even worse, this war has perhaps been unjustly waged with the protection or promotion of "civilized" beauty as its excuse.

This conclusion is striking since violin playing in the poem seems not only to provide a metaphor for artistic creation generally, but also writing poetry in particular. For by its heavy use of alliteration, assonance and consonance, the poem emphasizes its own musicality, as if it were like a violin being played. In just the poem's initial line "first" "fight" "fiddle" alliterate, as well as ring changes on the different sounds of the vowel "i"; "fight" and "ply" assent; and "slipping string" repeats the initial "s" and final "ing" sounds. Moreover, the sonnet itself is a very refined artistic form, easily associated with the difficulty and cultural prestige of violin playing. Indeed, as an emblem of Western civility (one thinks of Renaissance sonnets), the sonnet might be involved in the very justification of the destruction of other less "civilized" peoples that the poem condemns.

One might wonder why Brooks produces poetry, especially the sonnet, if she also condemns it. I would suggest that by critically reckoning the costs of sonnet-making Brooks brings to her poetry a self-awareness that might justify it after all. She creates a poetry that, like the violin playing she invokes, sounds with "hurting love." This "hurting love" reminds us of those who may have been hurt in the name of the love for poetry. But in giving recognition to that hurt, it also fulfills a promise of poetry: to be more than a superficial social "grace," to teach us something we first did not, or did not wish to, see.

One thought on “As Poetry Essay Samples

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *