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A World Transformed II: World in Flux






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Elena Gray-Blanc

Tania Asnes

Daniel Berdichevsky

the World Scholars Cup


Poetry Resource
2012: A World in Flux

Table of Contents

Preface: Forward and Re-Verse ............................................................ 2 I. Poetic Structure .................................................................................... 3 Objectives........................................................................................... 3 Structural Elements .......................................................................... 3 Rhythm and Meter ............................................................................ 4 Sound Techniques............................................................................. 5 Rhyme ............................................................................................ 5 Other Sound Devices ................................................................... 6 Poetic Forms ...................................................................................... 6 Figurative Language and Imagery ................................................. 6 Poetic License .................................................................................... 7 II. A World in Upheaval........................................................................... 8 Objectives........................................................................................... 8 Alexander Bloks Night, Street, Streetlamp, Druggists (1912) .............................................................................................................. 8 Poem and DemiTranslation ........................................................ 9 Analysis .......................................................................................... 9 T.S. Eliots The Hollow Men (1925) ............................................ 11 Poem and DemiTranslation ........................................................ 11 Analysis ......................................................................................... 13 Gertrude Steins Reflection on the Atomic Bomb (1946)..... 15 Poem and DemiTranslation ....................................................... 16 Analysis ......................................................................................... 17 III. Everything is Different Now: Poetry & Technological Change 19 Objectives.......................................................................................... 19 Roald Dahls Television (1964) .................................................. 19 Poem and DemiTranslation ......................................................20 by

Analysis ....................................................................................... 22 Heres to the Crazy Ones (1997) ...............................................23 Poem and DemiTranslation ..................................................... 24 Analysis ....................................................................................... 24 Cyril Wongs Close All The Windows (2004) ....................... 25 Poem and DemiTranslation ..................................................... 25 Analysis ....................................................................................... 26 IV. Poems of the City ............................................................................ 28 Objectives ........................................................................................ 28 William Wordsworths Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 (1807)........................................................... 28 Poem and DemiTranslation ..................................................... 29 Analysis ....................................................................................... 29 Rudyard Kiplings The Song of the Cities (1896) .................. 30 Poem and DemiTranslation ..................................................... 30 Analysis ........................................................................................32 Amy Lowells New York at Night (1912) ..................................33 Poem and DemiTranslation ......................................................33 Analysis ....................................................................................... 34 Joyce Kilmers Main Street (1917) .............................................35 Poem and DemiTranslation ......................................................35 Analysis ....................................................................................... 36 V. Conclusion...........................................................................................37 Works Consulted ................................................................................... 38 About the Author .................................................................................. 39 About the Editor & Alpaca-in-Chief .................................................. 39

Elena Gray-Blanc University of California at Santa Barbara, 08 edited by Tania Asnes Barnard College B.A. 05

Dedicated to anyone who can find a good rhyme for alpaca.

DemiDec and The World Scholars Cup are registered trademarks of the DemiDec Corporation.


Preface: Forward and Re-Verse

Five poets walk into a bar.1 Theyre talkative poets, so they put away their iPhones and start chatting about change.
Poet 1 keeps it short and sweet. Nothing will ever change, he says. Poet 2 blinks. Youve got to be kidding, he says. War has forever changed everything. Poet 3 shrugs. I do see some change, but I doubt its significant. Poet 4 looks into the distance. I want, so badly, to see change happen. Youre all missing the point, says Poet 5. Change is rotting the childrens brains! In 1802, when William Wordsworth wrote Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, the standard writing tool was a pen2. By 2004, when Cyril Wong composed Close All the Windows, he could assume that his audience would understand window to mean a common feature of computer operating systems. As the world shifts in response to technology, politics, and social progress, poetry morphs along with it. Poets drop old conventions and develop new ones. Their diction (word choice) changes to suit their societys vocabulary and word usage. They innovate styles and forms. The poems you will examine in this Resource were written in very different contextsyet they are bound by a strong common thread: they revolve around a world in the midst of transformation3. In poetry as in life, we might say, the only thing that never changes is change. T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, and Roald Dahl all lived through two World Wars. William Wordsworth saw Europe transition from an agricultural economy to an industrialized, mechanized land of smokestacks and whirring engines. Each writer took the changes of his or her lifetime personally, reacted to them, and wrote poems that captured his or her reactions. As you read this guide, think about changes you have experienced, which you wish you could communicate to everyone who lives after younot just to your children, or the children of your friends, but to anyone with a library card4, a Kindle Fire, or whatever the next new method of written information exchange will be. The art of poetry survives even in the face of new media and forms of communication because it has a way of condensing the truth5 so that we can hold it in our hand, like a little clear gem6. Whenever you put a poem to the magnifying glass of analysis, you are likely to discover something old, something new, something strange, and something familiarall at once.

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Or a barbeque, if we want to keep this resource G-rated. Not even a ballpoint, and forget about typewriters. 3 Even the metropolis poems celebrate or complain about change. 4 I still have one of these. Maybe I am that old. 5 Some would call tweets a form of modern poetrybound, not unlike haikus, by very strict rules. 6 Or Retina Display.


I. Poetic Structure
Poetry is not just prose with funny blank spaces at the end of each line7. It is a different way of writing, with different goals. Some poets want to express an emotion, a state of mind, or an image they feel they cannot capture in normal language, while others simply enjoy rhythm and rhyme. Poems come in all shapes and sizes8: there is no single criterion for what makes a poem a poem. However, whether a poet wants to convey his mixed feelings about his mother, show lost souls lingering on the bank of the underworld, or rant about the evils of television9, he will use the same basic techniques or poetic devices to do it. This section introduces the building blocks of poetry. Once you understand the tools poets use to express themselves, you will more easily grasp the ideas they are expressing.

By the time you complete this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions. What are the paragraphs of a poem called? How is poetic rhythm classified and analyzed? What are some common poetic forms? What techniques do poets use to create pictures in the readers mind?

Structural Elements
Each poet has his or her own favorite way to put words together, but there are some standard ways to organize poetry. Usually, each line (one horizontal10 row of words on a page) does not stretch all the way across the page11. Some lines may even contain just one word. When quoting a poem in a piece of prose writing, like this Resource, it is standard to use a slash (/) between lines to indicate a line break. The form of a poem is often as important as its content in conveying the authors meaning.12 When reading prose, we are accustomed to seeing groupings of lines called paragraphs. In poetry, a group of lines is called a stanza. Most of the time, stanzas have several lines, but some poets use oneline stanzas when they want to draw special attention to an idea13. Stanzas are helpful guidelines, showing us which ideas the poet wanted to link together in the readers mind. The end of a stanza often marks the end of an idea, or a train of thought. Stanzas can also be called verses.14 Groups of

As we will see, some poems dont exactly have those. Very often, that size is too long, particularly if the poet is reading the work aloud. 9 Pshaw, I say. Obviously, Roald Dahl never experienced the wonders of Star Trek. 10 Or vertical, in some languages, but the poems in this guide are all horizontal. Youre welcome to turn them sideways. 11 Or screen. 12 You might think of form as the architecture of the poem. A brick building looks quite different from a cement one, even if they are the same height and design. 13 If the whole poem is about a student who is running to catch a bus, and the last line is: She jumped aboard, then setting that line in its own stanza would enhance the impact of the students triumphant leap into the bus. 14 Verse is also sometimes used as a synonym for poetry. Long ago, verse meant line, not stanza, which just adds to the raging confusion of the poetry world.


stanzas are called sections, which might be distinguished from each other with numbered headings, worded headings, both of those, or just more space than is left between stanzas.15 Some poems include an epigraph, usually a short quote, that introduces the poem and sets its tone16. Epigraphs are also used in prose, or even films, when writers quote another work at the beginning of a work or section or a work.

Rhythm and Meter

You might associate rhythm with music, but it also has a place in poetry17. A poet uses the sound of words to create emphasis, or even patterns. Much of the time, writers choose words based on their associations, the ideas or meanings that they suggestyet they might refine their word choice because of rhythm. A words accent or stress is the part of the word that has a stronger sound. The stress on the word alpaca is on the second syllable, pa. The stresses of the words in a poem form its meter, its specific rhythm. Some poems do not have a specific meter, but still use rhythm in some places to emphasize ideas. A poet who wants to evoke the idea of a star might decide to use the phrase faraway sun or burning orb depending on his desired rhythm. To find a poems meter, count the syllables in one line of the poem, then determine where the stresses fall. When you read Twinkle twinkle little star, you should hear the stresses, which are bolded here. The number and placement of stresses in the lines of a poem determine the meter. Each combination of syllables and stresses has its own name18, based on ancient Greek words for numbers and different kinds of poetry. Studying the meter of a poem is called scansion. Meter is divided up into units of stressed and unstressed syllables, called feet19. One of the most common feet is the iamb20, consisting of two syllables with the unstressed syllable first. In a poem, a foot can take the form of one or several words. By itself, the word explain is an iamb. The opposite of an iamb is a trochee, consisting of two syllables with the stressed one first. By itself, the word border is a trochee.21 These are a few common meters: Example: iambic tetrameter (four iambs per line)

He dropped the textbook on his toe, Because his heart was full of woe. iambic pentameter (five iambs per linethe favorite meter of William Shakespeare. Iambic pentameter without rhymes is called blank verse.)


Alpacas always look so cute in hats.22 Perhaps my dog would like to wear a fez.

A famous poem by T.S. Eliot called The Wasteland has sections with evocative titles like: I. The Burial of the Dead and V. What the Thunder Said. 16 When poets feel like being fancy, they use an epigraph in a foreign language. Bonus points for Latin. 17 Prose can have rhythm, but rhythm is a much more prominent and deliberate element of poetry. 18 And usually an incredibly goofy name. Try to say anapestic tetrameter without giggling. 19 Like a centipede, a poem requires an unusually high number of shoes. 20 Not the lamb. Though lambs do have feet. 21 And also the name of a defunct chain of bookstores. 22 If you dont believe me, check out some previous WSC resource guide covers.




trochaic tetrameter (four trochees per lineTwinkle twinkle little star is in this meter, with the pause after each line counting as an unstressed syllable.)

Gently, gently, in the garden, Gather roses for your mother dactylic trimeter (three dactyls per linea dactyl has three syllables, with the first one stressed)


Blueberries, radishes, jellybeans: These things are raining down everywhere.23

Sound Techniques
Rhyme Some of the lines in the above examples rhymed, while others did not. Poems can, but do not necessarily, include rhyme. Rhyme is the repetition of identical sounds, usually at the end of lines. When the ends of two lines rhyme, it is called end rhyme. When rhymes appear in the middle of lines, it is called internal rhyme. A poem that uses a pattern of end rhyme is said to have a rhyme scheme: I saw an alpaca enjoying some grass, It chewed with its eyes to the ground; It didnt look up when I passed And ascended a mound. A B A B

In this stanza of poetry24, lines 1 and 3 rhyme, while lines 2 and 4 rhyme. We assign the letter A to lines 1 and 3, and the letter B to lines 2 and 4. The stanza is said to have ABAB rhythm. A tiger chased me through the trees; I ran as fast as a spring breeze. I ran as fast as an antelope, But I was quickly losing hope. How glad I was when he retreated, Thank heavens! Thank heavens! I repeated. A A B B C C

In the above stanza, lines 1 and 2 rhyme, lines 3 and 4 rhyme, and lines 5 and 6 rhyme. We assign the letter A to lines 1 and 2, B to 3 and 4, and C to 5 and 6. The stanza is thus said to have an AABBCC rhyme scheme. If new rhymes appear, they are marked with D, E, F, and so on, to the letter Z25. One of the most famous poetic forms26 in the English language, the Shakespearean sonnet, has the rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg. The gg is called a rhyming couplet, because it is a stanza made of two rhyming lines.

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Perhaps on a bad, stormy day in the town of Chewandswallow. Poetry of questionable merit, shall we say. 25 If a poet managed to write beyond that number of rhymes, I suppose wed need a new alphabet. 26 More on poetic forms in a moment. Hold your horsesor alpacas.


Other Sound Devices Poets can grab our attention, or connect ideas, using repeated vowel sounds (made by combinations of a, e, i, o, u) or consonant sounds (made by any of the other letters in the alphabet). In alliteration, words that begin with the same consonant are placed close to one another, as in pickled parsnip pie. In consonance, consonant sounds repeat in the middle or at the ends of adjacent words, as in learn, explain, and pardon. In assonance, vowel sounds repeat in adjacent words, as in optics are awfully awesome. Note that the sound is what matters in assonancenot the letter. The o in optics sounds like the a in awfully and awesome.

Poetic Forms
The main factors that define the Shakespearean sonnet Debate it! are the number of lines (fourteen), meter (iambic pentameter), and rhyme scheme (abab cdcd efef gg). Resolved: That rhyming poetry is harder to write. Shakespearean sonnets are also known for the consistent way in which their theme (main idea) progresses. They are made up of three quatrains (four-line stanzas) and one couplet, the rhyming couplet previously mentioned. Usually the first two quatrains put forth the theme, the third quatrain introduces a new, contradictory idea, and the final couplet summarizes or provides a new perspective on the theme. A related form, the Italian sonnet, has the same number of lines, fourteen, but a different rhyme scheme and thematic organization. There are variations, especially in the last six lines, but an Italian sonnet generally has the rhyme scheme abba abba cde cde. The last two lines of an Italian sonnet do not rhyme. The sonnet is thematically split into an octave (eight-line stanza) and a sestet (a six-line stanza or two three-line stanzas called tercets). The octave puts forth a theme or argument, the sestet introduces a contradictory idea or counter-argument, and then resolves it. A Japanese poetic form called the haiku has three lines. These lines are divided into units of sound called on. Though on are not the same as syllables, we can think of a haiku as having five syllables in the first and third line, and seven syllables in the second line. A haiku usually contains a reference to a season, like snowflake to indicate winter. It also is distinguished by a cutting word, which breaks up the ideas. Due to its short length, haiku is a good form for creating a single picture in the readers mind, or for expressing a deep yet simple truth. Free verse refers to poems that lack consistent patterns of meter or rhymelike many of those in this guide. Even a largely free verse poem may use some rhymes or metrical patterns, as the poet desires. Free verse poems grew popular in the late 19th century and have remained so ever since. A prose poem is written in the style of prose, using sentences, or grammar that resembles normal speech. It still uses some elements of poetry, such as figurative language.

Figurative Language and Imagery

When the poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) writes, O my Luves27 like a red, red rose, he uses a simile, stating one thing is like28 another. If Burns had said O my Luve is a red, red rose, he Similes vs. Metaphors Read more about the differences here.

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The poem was written in a Scots dialect. Valley girls use a lot of similes.


would be using a metaphor. A simile compares two things; a metaphor declares that two things are the same. Many literary scholars consider similes to be a type of metaphor. Metaphors can be impliedthat is, not directly stated. When T.S. Eliot talks about The yellow fog that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes, he is using a metaphor, comparing the yellow fog to a dog. When a metaphor continues for several lines or longer, it is called an extended metaphor. Extended metaphors are closely related to another technique of comparison, symbolism. If I am annoyed at my little sister because she climbs all over my room and pretends to be me on Facebook, I might write a poem in which I use a monkey as a symbol for herto symbolize her uncivilized nature. In the poem, the monkey jumps on my bed, leaves stains on my clothing, and types gibberish into my online profile. I never mention my sister in the poem, but it is understood that the annoying monkey represents her.29 On the contrary, I might feel very fond of my Xboxso fond of it that I would describe it as being friendly30, lovable, and smart31. In this case, I am using personification, applying human or life-like terms to an inanimate object.

Poetic License
Prose writers use many of the same literary techniques Debate it! used in poetry, but poets can use them in ways prose Resolved: That poems are more expressive than writers generally cannot. A long string of metaphors, prose. without punctuation, would be unexpected and hard to follow in prose. Imagine if this resource were written without proper punctuation and dogs prowled the paragraphs with nary a care for the glowing openness but wait poetry is the supreme art form (and deadline-less! Yet also a lifeline) dont you think? Poets have the freedom or poetic license to alter grammar to suit their needs, as in the sentence above. Poets are expected to exaggerate, distort, and take advantage of language in order to create their desired effect32. The poems in this guide reflect the choices that each poet made in order to convey his or her meaning. They also, to an extent, reflect the trends in poetry at the time they were written. When analyzing the elements of a poem, try the trick of omission. Ask yourself: how would the poem be different if this element were changed or removed? Removing the personification of London from William Wordsworths poem would make the narrators praise of the city seem less personal. Cyril Wongs poem, written in free verse, would lose its casual tone if it were written in a strict form, using consistent meter and rhyme. As you proceed through the poems in this guide, analyze them carefully, but also take the time to lose yourself in the language of Kipling, Stein, Dahl, and the others. For a moment, their changing worlds will become your own.

And she probably screams when she reads it. Like, perhaps, a certain gray computer you will encounter in the Art Resource. 31 Or, when the Xbox stops functioning correctly, Stupid, rude, and deceitful. 32 This advantage basically disappears when a prose writer is composing fantasy or magical realism, genres in which the boundaries of reality disappear.



II. A World in Upheaval

What do the atomic bomb, World War I, and the last days of the Russian Empire have in common? They were moments of incredible change in the world and in the prospects for the human future. In this section, you will hear a poet complain that change is impossible. You will hear another suggest that fearing nuclear weapons is a waste of time. Still another will mourn the senseless slaughter of soldiers, and the loss of modern societys soul. At different times, from different perspectives, each of these poets felt the weight of change on his or her shouldersa weight that made pens move and typewriter keys tap.

By the time you complete this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions. What were the major conflicts in Europe during the first half of the twentieth century? How did they change the outlooks of the poets writing during those years? How did the forms and techniques used in poetry transform in response to changes in the world at large?

Written between 1912 and 1946, the poems in this section look at ways in which war and violent revolution can change entire generations and their experience of the world.

Alexander Bloks Night, Street, Streetlamp, Druggists (1912)

Russians are often portrayed in books and movies as cynical and melancholy, perhaps because the most famous works of Russian literature focus on the less cheerful aspects of the countrys past and present. Alexander Blok (1880-1921) lived through some of Russias wildest moments.33 When Tsar34 Nicholas II35 took the throne in 1894, Blok was an aristocratic teenager living with members of his family in a fancy manor near Moscow, reading poetry and eating meals prepared and served by dozens of servants. When he died in 1921, Russia was in the grip of a terrible famine that claimed millions of lives, and the nation was ruled by the socialist Vladimir Lenin.

An ancient Chinese curse translates as, May you live in interesting times. Poor Bloks times were very interesting. Also often transliterated as czar, tsar is the Russian word for king or emperor. 35 When the townspeople in Fiddler on the Roof ask the rabbi to say a prayer for the tsar, he replies: May God bless and keep the tsar far away from us.



Bloks generation was the last to grow up under the old Debate it! Russian system of kings, nobles, and serfs36. In 1917, growing unrest in Russia swelled into a massive uprising. Resolved: That violent revolution is never justified. Over nine million people (about one in twenty) were killed. Nicholas II surrendered his throne in March, giving in to rioters who were starving, desperate for World War I to end, and tired of exploitation. The Russian Parliament took power in his place. In October, a socialist group rebelled against the Russian Parliamentlaunching what historians call the Russian Revolution began. The next year, a revolutionary firing squad executed the tsar and his family37. When Blok wrote Night, Street, Streetlamp, Druggists in 1912, World War I was still two years away, and Russia was experiencing a brief moment of calm after a failed uprising in 1905. The poem reflects the general feeling of Russia: that times had been awful, were still bad, and would become even worse.38 Poem and DemiTranslation
Text Night, street, streetlamp, druggists, A meaningless and dull light. Live at least another quarter-century Everything will be like this. There is no way out. You dieand start again from the beginning And everything repeats, as of old: Night, the icy ripples of the canal, Druggists, street, streetlamp. Vocabulary
druggists: pharmacy dull: dim, boring

DemiTranslation Walking along the street at night, I see the street, streetlamps, and pharmacy in a dim light. Nothing means anything. Nothing will change in the next 25 years. There is no way out of our situation. Each generation, people die and are born, but, everything is the same as it always was. We still walk at night and see the same icy ripples in this canal. We still see the same pharmacy, street, and streetlamp.

ripples: small waves canal: a manmade waterway or river

Analysis The poem takes place in St. Petersburg, a main city in Russias northwest and the capital of the Russian Empire39 at the time Blok was writing. We can tell its location from the mention of the icy canals. Called the Venice of the North40, St. Petersburg is made up of islands, and numerous canals are a main feature of the city. In Russian literature of the 19th and 20th century, and a good deal of other art including film, St. Petersburg was often portrayed as a cold, empty, lonely, and hopeless place. At the same time, it was admired as an imposing, impressive city. Like almost any metropolis, it could inspire high praise as well as biting criticism. In Night, Street, a socially and politically dissatisfied Alexander Blok makes St. Petersburg a symbol of Russias unchanging, despairing society. The poem begins and ends with descriptions of the objects lining a city street by a canal. It is night, and the dim streetlamps illuminate a drugstorethe druggists, in the parlance, or language, of the day. This description is simple, without embellishment. Blok does not tell us that the night is deep much less as deep as a velvet pillow. He does not describe the front of the druggists. There is no grammar connecting the objects; we are merely told: Night, street, streetlamp, druggists and then Druggists, street, streetlamp. The speaker seems downcast, speaking without energy. With his
36 37

Not to be confused with surfers, whose lives look pretty fun, serfs were the poorest of peasants under another name. Princess Anastasias were finally located in 2008, turning the movie Anastasia into a sort of science fiction. 38 Sadly, they were right. Early 20th-century Russia was not a glass-half-full kind of place. 39 The capital was moved to Moscow in 1918. Moscow had also been the capital before 1713. 40 Venice is a famous, canal-crisscrossed city in Italy. People get around by walking and by riding boats.


matter-of-fact style, Blok implies there is nothing in St. Petersburg worthy of poetic language. In the second line, he musters just enough energy to describe the streetlamps light: meaningless and dull. The next several lines show us that the description meaningless and dull goes beyond the streetlamps light; it is an evaluation of life in Russia at Bloks time. Live at least another quartercentury / Everything will be like this. There is no way out. Despite the stirrings of revolution, Blok did not believe Russia would change in the next twenty-five years. In the second stanza, Blok goes further, implying Russia is unlikely to ever change: You dieand start again from the beginning / And everything repeats as of old. Even though old generations die and new ones are born, life remains meaningless and dull. In Bloks view, Russian history is one long, depressing, repeating wheel of time. The next line, Night, icy ripples of the canal is an objective descriptionbut it carries deeper meaning. Night stands for the darkness the narrator feels in a Russia lacking change or progress. The image is stark and bleak. The icy water vibrates in the darknessand that is the full extent of movement in the scene. Had Blok written about a boat cutting through the canal, or a carriage rolling down the street, we might interpret a sense of life and movement. Instead, he situates us in a deserted atmosphere, in which the ripple of water is the only motion. In the poems final line, we return to a plain, unenergetic statement: Druggists, street, streetlamp. The circular structure of the poem, starting and ending with the objects along the street, emphasizes the idea that Russian history is caught in a hopeless loop.41 In our translation, the poem does not have a consistent meter or rhyme scheme. In Russian, the meter of the poem is fairly steady iambic tetrameter, and the rhyme scheme is abab cdcd. The meter creates a droning sound, as do the steady, predictable rhymes. These devices help convey a sense of monotony, emphasizing that life is boring and hopeless. End rhyme can also connect the meanings of the words at the ends of lines. In the Russian version, the words light and the no in no way out are end-rhymedemphasizing the lack of light, the lack of hope for progress. Bloks gloomy commentary in Night, Street anticipated his later sympathy with the goals of the 1917 Russian revolutionaries, who created major political change, ended the Russian Empire, and ushered in the Soviet Union. They wanted to bring progress to a society they felt was outdated and unfair. One of the two great ironies of Night, Street is that it was written immediately before the enormous changes swept through Russia beginning in 1917: a revolution, the end of an order that had existed for centuries, and the installation of a completely new political ideology, communism. When Blok wrote the poem, change was imminent, but had not yet happened, and he doubted it would. On a second ironic note, the lines You dieand start again from the beginning. / And everything repeats as of old turned out to be somewhat of a prediction. By the time the Russian Revolution and following civil war had ended, Russia had been completely transformedbut not necessarily to the betterment of most peoples daily lives. While the new government claimed to represent the people

Or a more alliterative hopeless hoop.


instead of the elite, Russians continued to suffer under the political repression and violence of the new post-revolutionary government. By the time he died, Blok had lost faith in the Russian Debate it! Revolution and its aims. In his view, the revolution had Resolved: That familiar evils are easier to bear. replaced one totalitarian rule with another. It had proven the famous words of French writer Jean-Alphonse Karr: The more things change, the more they stay the same.42 According to Blok, the progress made in his time amounted to mere rippleswhen he wished someone would make waves and enact meaningful change.

T.S. Eliots The Hollow Men (1925)

When Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was a child, he rode in horse-drawn carriages on streets lit by gas lamps. He was fifteen when the first modern airplane lifted off. He probably never saw a television until he was over forty.43 The technological and lifestyle changes Eliot witnessed probably seemed insignificant compared to the violent upheavals the world endured during his lifetime. World War I began in 1914, when Eliot was twenty-five. By its end in 1918, about 17 million soldiers and civilians had died from battle wounds, famine, and disease. While Eliot did not fight in the war, many of his friends and contemporaries did. The grief and pain experienced by everyone in Europe informed most of his post-war work, including The Hollow Men. Poem and DemiTranslation
Text Mistah Kurtzhe dead. A penny for the Old Guy I We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats feet over broken glass In our dry cellar Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion; Those who have crossed
42 43

headpiece: a type of helmet

DemiTranslation Mr. Kurtz is dead. (This is a quote from Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness; Kurtz is a character who has lost his humanity, like the speakers in this poem.) Can you give me some money to make a straw figure (effigy) of Guy Fawkes? (Once a year, English children have traditionally made and burned an effigy of Guy Fawkes, an Englishman who attempted to blow up the English Parliament.) I We are the empty men, without souls or a purpose. How awful! When we talk to one another, our voices have almost no sound and our words have no meaning.

alas: an exclamation of grief or dismay

cellar: basement

paralysed: unable to move

As reiterated in the song Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae. Before you ask, no, Im not sure how he survived.


With direct eyes, to deaths other Kingdom Remember usif at allnot as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men. II Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In deaths dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the winds singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star. Let me be no nearer In deaths dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rats coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom III This is the dead land This is cactus land Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead mans hand Under the twinkle of a fading star. Is it like this In deaths other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone. IV The eyes are not here There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river Sightless, unless
tumid: swollen or enlarged sightless: blind, unable to see perpetual: everlasting multifoliate: having column: pillar

We can be seen, but we have almost no substance, and we do not have the power to touch or change anything. The people who were not afraid to die, and went to the afterlife, have almost forgotten about us. They would think about us and blame us if we were violent or causing trouble, but to them we are only ghosts, without any power. II
solemn: serious or sad

In this world between the place where the living are and the afterlife, I cant see the reproachful eyes of the dead who crossed over. I can see the reflections of their eyes, and I can hear distant, sad sounds that remind me of their voices. I keep my distance from them, and I wear disguises to hide from them. Just as the wind goes back and forth, without staying in one place, I move around to avoid being seen. I do not want to meet the dead who have gone on to the afterlife. III

staves: sticks

cactus: a plant of the desert supplication: begging for something, or prayer

This is a place where there is no life. Only desert plants grow here. It is like a graveyard. Only ghosts are here, praying for release from this place. I wonder if it is like this in the real afterlife. When we are awake and lonely in the middle of the night, we want to make a connection with another human being, and show love. We cant, because we are ghosts, and there is no one here. Instead, we pray to find some meaning in our existence. IV In this lonely, empty place, there is no one to see us or blame us. Here, in the last place before the afterlife begins, the empty men stand together by the bank of the river that divides us from the land of the dead. We do not speak. We cant see clearly. The eyes of the dead are everlasting and bright. The many dead, similar but each one unique, make up the afterlife. We are waiting for the peaceful dead to show us the way to where they rest, where we hope to go. V


The eyes reappear As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of deaths twilight kingdom The hope only Of empty men. V Here we go round the prickly pear Prickly pear prickly pear Here we go round the prickly pear At five oclock in the morning. Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow Life is very long Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom For Thine is Life is For Thine is the This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.

many leaves

Our existence is pointless and has no meaning. We just go around and around in circles. We can think about changing, or moving on, but we cant actually do it. It is the will of God. We can think about creating something better, but we cant achieve it. We can move, but nothing happens, and we cant touch anything or change anything. We have been here for a long time, and we dont know when we will be able to leave. We feel as if we have the potential to do something, but we cant. We cant really die, but we are not alive. It is the will of God. Our world has ended, Our world has ended, Our world has ended, but it wasnt a big, exciting moment. We are just fading away.

prickly pear: a type of cactus

conception: the beginning of something

spasm: an involuntary muscle movement, like a twitch potency: the possibility of something being created essence: the true nature or essential part

Analysis Understandably, given its historical context, The Hollow Men is primarily about death, a theme repeated in its imagery of ghosts and the afterlife as well as in its dictionphrases like dying and a dead mans hand. Resignation, fear, and grief are common tones poets use when writing about deathbut The Hollow Men resonates with something else: guilt and shame. The poem is written in free verse. As such, it has no consistent meter. At the beginning of the poem, many lines begin with a stressed foot, a trochee, giving them a jolting quality: We are / We are / Leaning / Headpiece Where an iamb can sound like a question (Hello?), a trochee has the sound of a forceful statement like Hey there! At the start of the poem, the repeated trochees help get our attention. The trochees continue, mixed with other kinds of meter.


The line Behaving as the wind behaves in section II is in iambic tetrameter. The mixed meter throughout the poem reflects the confused emotional state of the speakers. In European tradition, a straw man, or human-shaped figure made of straw44, was sometimes used as a symbol of a communitys guilt, or sins.45 Ritually burned or cast into a river once a year, these straw men were said to protect a group of people from the spiritual consequences of their misbehavior.46 The use of straw men is documented as far back as ancient Rome47. The speakers of the poem are like straw men, hollow men stuffed men filled with straw. These lost / Violent souls are strongly implied to be World War I soldiers, who have sacrificed their lives for the sins of their society. The hollow men seem to exist in a limbo49, a middle ground between the worlds of the living and the dead. In Christianity, limbo is for souls deemed neither righteous enough for heaven nor wretched enough for hell. The hollow men are ghosts, possessing Shape without form, The Hollow Men, Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness, and Apocalypse Now shade without colour / Paralysed force, gesture without The first line of the introduction (or epigraph) to motion. They grope together / And avoid speech / The Hollow Men is a reference to Joseph Gathered on this beach of the tumid river. Conrads novel Heart of Darkness (190348). Kurtz is a character who loses his morality and his The river symbolizes the River Styx, the boundary principles. He is afraid to face death and afraid to between the living world and the underworld in ancient face the living, just like one of the hollow men, Greek mythology. It also refers to the rivers in which before he dies near the storys end. When film straw men were sacrificed. The hollow men are stuck on director Francis Ford Coppola adapted the novel one riverbank, unable to cross over to their eternal rest. into Apocalypse Now (1979), a film set during the Vietnam War, he included a scene in which Kurtz The hollow mens sins are what keep them suspended in reads The Hollow Men aloud. limbo, or trapped on the wrong bank of the River Styx. They are afraid to look into other peoples eyes. Eye contact, in Western tradition, is associated with honesty and self-confidence.50 The hollow mens fear of it implies that they are ashamed, or have a secret to hide. They try to hide from the world by using deliberate disguises like the skins of rats and crows. The crossed staves / In a field, the crosses that mark their graves, are also like the poles that hold scarecrows, straw-stuffed human figures meant to repel birds from eating crops. World War I made the soldiers hollow by stealing their moralitynot just their lives. The last numbered section of the poem describes the world that destroyed the hollow men, a world in which human effort is wasted. It opens with a nursery rhyme, to symbolize the lost innocence of the twentieth century. Loss of innocence, as we can see from The Little Prince and Enders Game in the

The most famous of these escaped, made his way to Oz, and eventually received a brain. This practice is similar to that of the scapegoat, in which an actual, live goat was driven out of a village to take the towns sins with it. Since the goats other option was often to be eaten, its doubtful that they minded too much. 46 They would also throw in a letter to Santa Claus for good measure. 47 Where they were dressed in togas and called awstray enmay. 48 It was published in book form in 1903, but was serialized in a magazine in 1899. 49 Another interpretation of this poem is that the hollow men were doomed to eternally dance while ducking under a pole. 50 And flirting. But none of you should be flirting. Especially at World Scholars Cup tournaments.



short story guide, has been a major theme throughout much twentieth-century literature. In The Hollow Men, Eliot shows us a postwar world in which adults, rather than children and adolescents, have lost the ability to imagine. Their ideas do not lead to creation or to a real result. Action and motion have no effect on the physical objects around the Hollow Men. According to Eliot, the postwar world is meaningless, and is not progressing. It is like the limbo in which the hollow men are trapped. The form of the poem reflects this sense of entrapment in an endless, unchanging state. Words repeat, including Between the, For thine is, and This is the way the world ends, as if the speakers are exhausted from the effort of expressing themselves. To a 2012 readers ear, they might sound like the drone of a dying computer.51 The final stanza of the poem, one of the most-quoted in the English language, refers to the utter futility of World War I. The war, it suggests, was not fought for a good reason; it was not a great conflict between good and evil52, but a pointless loss of life. Millions died because European ruling families squabbling over their colonial territories. Eliots final statement, This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but with a whimper, expresses the result of the war: everyone involved was left exhausted and damagedhaving reduced their countries to rubble for nothing.53 According to The Hollow Men, World War I simply left the world poorer, emptier, and less meaningful. The so-called Great War was anything but great.

Gertrude Steins Reflection on the Atomic Bomb (1946)

Born in Pennsylvania, Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) spent most of her life in France, writing poetry, fiction, and art criticism. As a resident of Europe, Stein experienced World Wars I and II from a very different perspective than most Americans. During World War I, Stein and her life partner, Alice Toklas, worked for the French military, buying their own car with which to carry wounded soldiers to hospitals. When Germanys invasion of Poland triggered World War II in 1939, Stein and Toklas moved from Paris to the countryside, where they lived in seclusion for several years. Both women were Jewish and American, giving them good reason to avoid contact with the Nazis during the war. Their friendship with a French Nazi collaborator, a man who survived during the war by working with the German invaders against his own people, helped keep them safe.

My computer doesnt drone when it dies. It turns blue. World War I was the opposite of the rebellion in Star Wars in every way but one: many people died in both. 53 From another viewpoint, World War I led to a major reorganization of European borders, a step towards shaping the Europe we recognize today. Its difficult to imagine todays world without the changes wrought by World War I II.



After the war, they returned the favor by helping him get out of prison. The war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945 with Germanys surrender to the Allies. By then, Stein and Toklas were back in Paris, which remained their home until Stein died the following year. Several nations tried to develop an atomic bomb during World War II, but the United States Manhattan Project54 was the first research program to succeed. The United States deployed the first atomic bomb on August 6, over Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, the United States dropped an even larger atomic bomb on Nagasaki, a Japanese city that had, ironically, been a destination for Hiroshima refugeessome of whom experienced both blasts55. Six days later, Japan surrendered. The war was over. The total number of deaths in the bombings is unknown. Experts estimate about 200,000 people died, either instantly or from injuries and radiation poisoning over the following months. Many others died of lingering side effects (such as cancer) in later years or were disabled by injuries and radiation. The cities themselves were almost utterly destroyed, although they have long since been rebuilt56. While Reflection gives serious consideration to the issue of nuclear weapons, Stein doubts whether the atomic bomb is actually a doomsday weapon, as destructive as all that, perhaps because she has not seen photos of the bombs aftermath in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Poem and DemiTranslation
Text They asked me what I thought of the atomic bomb. I said I had not been able to take any interest in it. I like to read detective and mystery stories. I never get enough of them but whenever one of them is or was about death rays and atomic bombs I never could read them. What is the use, if they are really as destructive as all that there is nothing left and if there is nothing there nobody to be interested and nothing to be interested about. If they are not as destructive as all that then they are just a little more or less destructive than other things and that means that in spite of all destruction there are always lots left on this earth to be interested or to be willing and the thing that destroys is just one of the things that concerns the people inventing it or the people starting it off, but really nobody else can do anything about it so you have to just live along like always, so you see the atomic [bomb] is not at all interesting, not any more interesting than any other machine, and machines are only interesting in being
54 55

atomic bomb: a very destructive large bomb powered with nuclear fission or fusion

DemiTranslation People asked me what I thought about the atomic bomb. I said I wasnt interested in it. I like reading stories about mysteries and detectives. I read them all the time. I dont like them when they are about weapons and the destruction of the world. If these weapons are as destructive as we are told, theyll destroy the world, and no one will be left alive to care. If they arent, then there is no reason to be more afraid of them than of anything else. Also, if theyre not that dangerous, plenty of people would survive if they were used. It wouldnt be that bad. Many good things would be left on the earth. Only the people who make or use the weapons really care about them. A machine is not that interesting to anyone other than its inventor or someone who needs to use it, and a weapon is just a

death ray: an imaginary weapon used as a plot device in science fiction stories

It was not based in Manhattan, although it is possible that Manhattan Project employees drank Manhattans after work. There were an estimated 165 twice-bombed people who survived both blasts. The only officially confirmed of these nijyuu hibakusha was Tsumoto Yamaguchi, who became an anti-nuclear-weapons activist. He died in 2010 at age 93. 56 If they had been hit by modern nuclear weapons, they would still be uninhabited todayand for centuries to come.


invented or in what they do, so why be interested. I never could take any interest in the atomic bomb, I just couldn't any more than in everybody's secret weapon. That it has to be secret makes it dull and meaningless. Sure it will destroy a lot and kill a lot, but it's the living that are interesting not the way of killing them, because if there were not a lot left living how could there be any interest in destruction. Alright, that is the way I feel about it. They think they are interested about the atomic bomb but they really are not not any more than I am. Really not. They may be a little scared, I am not so scared, there is so much to be scared of so what is the use of bothering to be scared, and if you are not scared the atomic bomb is not interesting. Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. They listen so much that they forget to be natural. This is a nice story.

machine. I am not interested in weapons, and when weapons are secret, then they are even more boring. People are interesting, but killing them is not. Also, if a lot of people survive after a weapon is used, then the weapon must not have been so bad in the first place. People pretend to care about the atomic bomb, but they really dont care any more than I do. They are a little frightened, maybe. Im not scared. There are so many scary things in the world that being scared of all of them would be a waste of time and energy. Being scared is the only reason to take an interest in the atomic bomb. People are told so many things that it becomes confusing. They try to pay attention to what everyone else says, and they lose their own judgment. This is actually an optimistic story.

Analysis Reflection on the Atomic Bomb is a prose poem, meaning it is written in the style of prose, incorporating some normal grammar. It is a style of writing that sounds like speech. The style is also modernist, as it rejects the traditional approach to poetic form. It resembles a so-called stream of consciousness, as if Stein is simply saying what comes to her mind. Modernist poets reacted to the stresses of rapid change in the twentieth century by inventing new ways to express themselves, discarding the values and aesthetics of the culture that had led to such violence and strife. Steins tone throughout the poem is ironic and resigned, but also hopeful. The poem suggests that happiness is possible in spite of the horrors of modern warfare. Reflection argues that it does not matter whether the atomic bomb could end the world57/58. If it does, we will not be here to care about it, and if it does not, then there was nothing to worry about in the first place. According to Steins matter-of-fact interpretation, there is no point to living in fear. There are very few people able to cause or prevent an atomic bombing.59 Its not up to us. Reflection notes the world was inescapably, permanently changed by the invention of the bombbut the possibility of doom should not change our daily lives. Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense60, she says. Frequent predictions of doom do not make doom inevitable.61 Reflection is as relevant today as it was in 1946. The Debate it! long Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Resolved: That the bombings of Hiroshima and Union is over, but everyone in the world still lives under Nagasaki were justified. threat of a nuclear attack. International disagreements periodically erupt over the possession or development of nuclear weaponsas we are seeing today in the case of Irans presumable effort to develop their first atom bomb.

57 58

With a bang, surely, not a whimper. For humans, at least. It has been proven that cockroaches would survive a nuclear holocaust, which is comforting. 59 There are, however, plenty of mutants with that power. 60 How did she manage to anticipate the rise of CNN and Twitter? 61 Frequent mentions of doom after just about anything harmless does, however, create humor.


Reflection reminds us that once something has been made, it cannot be unmade. Major technological innovations change the world62, but their impact is hard to measure in advance. Some cause nothing but troublewhile others become indispensable. Whatever an innovations influence, Stein seems to suggest, it is a waste of time to try to stop the tide.


Another good example is the Pop-Tart, a technological pastry innovation that shook the world to its core in the 60s.


III. Everything is Different Now: Poetry & Technological Change

Are the children getting worse? Forget Canada. Blame television. At least, Roald Dahl doesvigorously. Youll see why in his poem Television. Some technologies are invisible to us, but many, like television and the cell phone, change societyand not everyone is comfortable with change. Poets often ask us to take a step back and think about how different the world is becoming. The following poems, written between 1964 and 2004, reflect a world in which technology was advancing quicklywith society following in its wake.

By the time you complete this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions. According to the poets in this section, which twentieth-century technological changes have had the greatest influence on society and the individual? How did these poets perceive technological changeas a positive or a negative? How do these poets present technologys effects on families and personal lives?

Roald Dahls Television (1964)

If you read a writers biography, you will almost always find a list of varied past occupations and unusual interests and experiences. Even by these standards, Roald Dahl (19161990) led a life far out of the ordinary63. The first part of his autobiography, BoyTales of Childhood (1984), describes how Dahl grew up in a mixed BritishNorwegian household, attended English boarding schools, and traveled to eastern Africa as an employee of Shell Oil. A close encounter with a lion who carried off his friends cook from the backyard and several near-misses with deadly snakes punctuated his years as a salesman. When World War II broke out, Dahl, like all young Englishman in the British colonies, was pressed into military service. Dahl was assigned the task of rounding up German citizens in the area. Though traumatized by this mission, in which one German civilian was shot in the head in front of him, Dahl decided to enlist in the Royal Air Force in 1939. For the next two years, Dahl served as a fighter pilot and


Yes, but did he ever kiss a giraffe or use his automobile to catch a flying office chair?


flying ace in the Middle East. Badly injured in a crash in the Libyan Sahara64, Dahl returned home in 1941. He remained in the Royal Air Force until 1946, as a British spy in the United States. A romanticized view of the past runs through Dahls Debate it! autobiography. In his writing, he was always ready to point out how new technologies had changed the world Resolved: That adventure is better than convenience. for the worse. In Going Solo, he comments on how commercial flights changed the experience of world travel: Nowadays [in 1986] you can fly to Mombasa in a few hours and you stop nowhere and nothing is fabulous anymore, but in 1938 a journey like that was full of stepping-stones and East Africa was a long way from home. In his opinion, adventure was traded for convenience.65 In Television, Dahl makes a similar observation: technology meant to enhance a persons experience of the world can also limit it. Poem and DemiTranslation
Text The most important thing we've learned, So far as children are concerned, Is never, NEVER, NEVER let Them near your television set -Or better still, just don't install The idiotic thing at all. In almost every house we've been, We've watched them gaping at the screen. They loll and slop and lounge about, And stare until their eyes pop out. (Last week in someone's place we saw A dozen eyeballs on the floor.) They sit and stare and stare and sit Until they're hypnotised by it, Until they're absolutely drunk With all that shocking ghastly junk. Oh yes, we know it keeps them still, They don't climb out the window sill, They never fight or kick or punch, They leave you free to cook the lunch And wash the dishes in the sink -But did you ever stop to think, To wonder just exactly what This does to your beloved tot? IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD! IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD! IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND! IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND! HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE! HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE! HE CANNOT THINKHE ONLY SEES! Vocabulary DemiTranslation The most important thing to know about raising children is that they should never be allowed to watch television. Better yet, dont even have a television in the house. In most houses, children spend all their time lying around, watching the television. They look as if their eyes are about to pop out of their heads. Last week, we saw twelve eyeballs lying on the floor of someones home. Children sit and stare at the television until they cant think for themselves. They get addicted to the horrible programs. It keeps them sitting in one place, out of trouble, and they dont fight or get in the way when you are trying to cook or clean the house, and thats convenient. But did you ever wonder what it does to the kids? It makes them stupid and destroys their imaginations. It fills their minds with worthless images. It makes children so boring and unable to think that they cant understand fairy tales or stories. Their brains soften, like cheese, and their thought processes stop. They can no

gaping: staring blankly with the mouth open loll: lie in a relaxed position slop: sit sloppily lounge: lie in a relaxed position

hypnotised: susceptible to suggestion and in a state of mental blankness ghastly: horrible

tot: small child

Oddly, his story is similar to Saint-Exuprys, except Dahl crashed between the Allied and German lines, making his situation far more dangerous. 65 He must not have tried to visit Kazakhstan.



'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say, 'But if we take the set away, What shall we do to entertain Our darling children? Please explain!' We'll answer this by asking you, 'What used the darling ones to do? 'How used they keep themselves contented Before this monster was invented?' Have you forgotten? Don't you know? We'll say it very loud and slow: THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ, AND READ and READ, and then proceed To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks! One half their lives was reading books! The nursery shelves held books galore! Books cluttered up the nursery floor! And in the bedroom, by the bed, More books were waiting to be read! Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales And treasure isles, and distant shores Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars, And pirates wearing purple pants, And sailing ships and elephants, And cannibals crouching 'round the pot, Stirring away at something hot. (It smells so good, what can it be? Good gracious, it's Penelope.) The younger ones had Beatrix Potter With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter, And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland, And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle andJust How The Camel Got His Hump, And How the Monkey Lost His Rump, And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul, There's Mr. Rat and Mr. MoleOh, books, what books they used to know, Those children living long ago! So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install A lovely bookshelf on the wall. Then fill the shelves with lots of books, Ignoring all the dirty looks, The screams and yells, the bites and kicks, And children hitting you with sticksFear not, because we promise you That, in about a week or two Of having nothing else to do, They'll now begin to feel the need Of having something to read. And once they startoh boy, oh boy! You watch the slowly growing joy That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen They'll wonder what they'd ever seen In that ridiculous machine, That nauseating, foul, unclean, Repulsive television screen!

contented: happy

Great Scott: exclamation of surprise gadzooks: exclamation of surprise galore: in profusion, of many different kinds wondrous: wonderful and amazing isles: islands smugglers: people who bring goods in and out of places secretly to avoid paying taxes muffled: silenced cannibals: humans who eat other humans

rump: backside

keen: excited nauseating: sickening foul: filthy and disgusting

longer think; they can only look at what is in front of them. People say they understand this, but then they ask how they will keep their children happy without the television. We reply that before television, children used to read. They read so much that they spent half of their time reading books. Every little kids room was full of bookshelves that were packed with books. There were more books on the floor, by the bed, and all over the house. The books were full of exciting, wonderful, well-written stories about dragons, gypsies, queens, whales, islands with treasure, faraway places, ships, pirates in purple pants, elephants, and cannibals. Little children had the works of Beatrix Potter, who wrote about the mean Mr. Tod and other animal characters. There were stories about a camel who lost his hump, about a monkey who lost his backside, and about Mr. Toad, Mr. Rat, and Mr. Mole. Those kids, living long ago, had so many different books! So please, we are begging you, get rid of your television. Put a bookshelf where the television used to be, and fill it with books for the kids. Ignore the kids when they get angry with you for throwing out the television. They will scream, bite, kick you, and hit you with sticks, but dont worry about it. Within a week or two, they will get bored and start to read the books. Once they start reading, they will realize how amazing it is. They will get so excited that they will wonder why they ever enjoyed watching television. They will think the television is disgusting and awful. After a while, all of the kids will thank you for what you did.


And later, each and every kid Will love you more for what you did.

repulsive: disgusting

Analysis According to Dahl, watching television causes children to lose their imagination and curiosity. When a person reads, she has to picture the whole story from the descriptions written on the page. For a viewer, the television does all of this work66. The children in the poem are never given the chance to think for themselves; instead, they are spoon-fed every piece of information and every story they encounter. In the poems most emphatic67 passage, Dahl writes:

Although he does not address it directly in the poem, Dahl also hints that television watching is physically unhealthy. This issue has been at the forefront of pediatricians minds in recent years. Television is a sedentary activity; viewers loll and slop and lounge about. Obesity, diabetes, and other physical ailments are strongly linked to lack of exercise; the more television a child watches, the less he is likely to exercise.

Discuss It: Can New Technology Solve the Reading Problem? According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 43% of American children under two watch television every day. Other studies have found that the older children get, the less they read. Some experts think that e-readers are the best way to get children reading, since kids now are used to interacting with screens. Discuss: will e-readers increase reading among the young?

In the poem, Dahl expresses a nostalgic longing for a Debate it! time before television, in which children explored the world instead of gaping at the screen. He suggests Resolved: That television enhances our experience of the world. television has led to disturbing social changes69. It is a useful tool for distracting children, but to their detriment. The poem explicitly challenges parents to forgo the convenience of using the television as a babysitter: Go throw your TV set away, / And in its place you can install / A lovely bookshelf on the wall.70 The poems form enhances this message. Dahl uses iambic tetrameter, a simple meter often found in nursery rhymes, to evoke the kind of reading children used to do before they had television.

66 67

I have not yet found a television that will do my editing for me. Unlike most people on the internet, Dahl actually understood that capital letters mean shouting. 68 Jersey Shore turns your brain into Velveeta, while French reality shows are scientifically proven to cause brain-brie. 69 It is arguable that texting has had a similar effect, discouraging real interaction. 70 Though he warns that the children will retaliate with dirty looks and duels with sticks.


Television suggests technological progress is not always an improvement. Inventions potentially destructive to our bodies and minds should be ignored or used more wisely71. To Dahl, a world in flux is not a world without choices.

Heres to the Crazy Ones (1997)

When an artist creates a collage, she takes elements from various sources and layers them into a new artwork with its own meaning. Heres to the Crazy Ones is a word collage, assembled from many inspirations and media. It is also undeniably a poem, one meant to be read or heard alongside still or video images. Its inspirations include other ads, historical figures, music, film, and literature. In 1997, Steve Jobs (1955-2011) approached the TBWA/Chiat/Day ad agency looking for a way to reboot Apples public image. Steve Jobs had just returned to Apple and wanted to announce the companys no-holds-barred return to its innovative, market-changing roots. Debate it! Resolved: Insanity and great achievement go hand in hand.

Watch it on YouTube Watch the original Apple Think Different TV ad: http://www.tinyurl.com/thinkdifferentad

Possible Influences on the Think Different Ads

On the Road (1957), a counter-culture novel by Jack Kerouac

Rival IBMs Think IBM advertisements Crazy (1991), a pop song by English musician Seal

Dead Poets Society (1989), a film starring Robin Williams Advertising executive Rob Siltanen and To be great is to be misunderstood, a quote from Ralph copywriter Ken Segall worked together on the Waldo Emerson, a 19th century American writer and poet poem in 1997, with some supervision72 from Jobs and the Apple team. Apples rival, IBM, had already found success with its Think IBM ads, and Apple was generally portrayed by the media and seen by consumers as the less-serious computer company73. Playing on IBMs ads, Siltanens team came up with the slogan Think Different.
The Think Different print ads featured images of historical figures, all distinguished by their far-reaching vision or the changes they effected in the world. Television ads showed film clips of the same figures, with actor Richard Dreyfuss reading the poem aloud on the soundtrack. The poem, slogan, and images and videos of popular heroes were designed to paint Apple as a daring innovator. The campaign had an immediate effect. Apples stock prices shot up from below $4.50 in late 1997 to over $10 by December 199874, even though the company did not release any new products alongside the campaign. The historical figures in the ads were carefully chosen, each widely liked and admired. They included Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, John Lennon, Thomas Edison, and Mohandas Gandhi, among others.

71 72

But I swear if I dont check my smartphone every 5 minutes, it whines. Or interference, depending on the perspective. 73 This was long before the Im a Mac / Im a PC commercials. 74 The share price is hovering around $400 right now. Anyone have a time machine I can borrow?


The writers avoided pushing Apple to the forefront of the poem. Only the line We make tools for these kinds of people suggests that the poem is promoting a specific companys products. The subtlety of the campaign, and the artistic visuals and text, were meant to establish a brand identity rather than to sell a product. People exposed to the ads came to associate the brilliance of Einstein, the conviction of Martin Luther King Jr., and the peaceful resistance of Gandhi with the Apple brand. Poem and DemiTranslation
Text Heres to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. Theyre not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you cant do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song thats never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
canvas: a blank surface used for painting

misfit: a person who does not fit in to normal society status quo: the normal state of affairs glorify: praise highly vilify: insult or criticize

DemiTranslation We salute people who seem crazy, who dont fit in and rebel against authority. The people who cause trouble and stir things up. The people who dont do what society expects of them. The people who have a unique point of view. They do not follow rules, and they dont care what is considered normal. You can quote them, disagree with them, praise them, or insult them. But you cant ignore them. They change things, invent new things, imagine what could be, heal people, explore the world, create, and inspire other people. They create progress. Maybe they need to be crazy to do those things. If they were not a little bit crazy, how could they come up with a brand new work of art when looking at a blank piece of paper? Or think of new music when it is quiet? Or look at Mars and think of it as a place to explore and learn more about the universe? Apple makes tools these people can use. Some people consider these explorers and inventors crazy, but we think they are geniuses. Only people crazy enough to think they can change the world actually do so.

Jack Kerouac and Think Different Completed in 1951 and published in 1957, Jack Kerouacs (1922-1969) largely autobiographical novel On the Road is considered one of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature. The Think Different poem may have been inspired by a passage from the novel: the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes Awww! Analysis Like Steins poem, Heres to the Crazy Ones can be considered a prose poem, written in paragraphs rather than lines. Its form goes against the usual rules of poetry, Directed Research Area: The Journey of Steve Jobs Why and when did Steve Jobs leave Apple, and how was the Think Different campaign related to his return? You might start your reading at http://tinyurl.com/applefalls. What was the significance of a company called NeXT in Jobs career.


emphasizing the campaigns message of experimentation and being different. The poem implies Apples technology and design were long perceived as weird or substandard simply because great new ideas are always seen as crazy. Apples executives chose not to follow in the footsteps of IBM. The campaign characterized Apples different direction as having no respect for the status quo and not being fond of rules.75 Arguably, Apples leaders since then have lived up to the poem: they have proven crazy enough to think they [could] change the world over and over again in the 2000s. They followed the Think Different campaign with multiple products that have reshaped everyday life, from the iPod to the iPhone. Mini-Directed Research Area: Think IBM Apples Think Different ads were developed to challenge the Think IBM campaign of competitor IBM. Investigate the origins of IBMs campaign, starting at this page on the IBM website: tinyurl.com/ibmwscup. You may also want to explore this perspective on the Apple campaign: tinyurl.com/applewscup. Consider how IBMs ad campaign differed from Apples. Which do you think was more effective? Was it fair of Apple to make such an overt comparison to IBM?

Cyril Wongs Close All The Windows (2004)

A favorite of literary critics around the world, Cyril Wong (b. 1977) is one of Singapores better-known poets. His nine books of poetry and one fiction collection touch on many subjects, although all relate to his personal life and experiences. This sets him apart from most other Singaporean poets, who favor national or political themes. On his website, he touts himself as Singapores first confessional poet, emphasizing the personal nature of his writing. As a gay man with a conservative Christian family, living in a country where homosexuality is illegal, Wong has not always had an easy personal life. Although the difficulties he has experienced have, doubtless, made his life more complicated and sometimes painful, his poetry has certainly benefited from the introspection these experiences have caused. Poem and DemiTranslation
Text After discovering the Internet, my mother has trouble finding a connection, and calls me up for help while I am at work. We keep miscommunicating. She has clicked open so many windows the computer threatens to hang. And my logic runs out of variations to explain the same thing over Vocabulary DemiTranslation After my mother started using the Internet, she had technical problems. She called me at work so that I could help her. I was unable to explain what she was doing wrong.
miscommunicating: failing to reach an understanding with another person

She opened so many browser windows at once that the computer began to freeze up. I ran out of ways to explain what was wrong with the computer. Suddenly, I thought about her sitting at the computer, looking at the monitor. I realized that I was helping her find a new way


In other words, Apple geeks are the motorcycle-riding bad boys of the tech world.


and over. Suddenly, I imagine she is looking for her future through that glowing screen and I am really helping her to find back her life after all her children have left for new homes, new families to love. 'What now?' she asks. 'Try again,' I reply, the phone pressed to my ear. 'Close all the windows. Tell me what do you see?'

to live, now that her children have moved out and formed their own families. She asked me what to do next. I told her to try again, holding the phone tightly against my ear. I asked her to close all of the browser windows and tell me what she saw.

Analysis Close All The Windows is, on the surface, a written Debate it! snapshot of a tech-savvy young man helping his mother Resolved: That new technologies are not wellwith her computer.76 The narrators mother, in this designed for older people. poem, is discovering the Internet and has trouble finding a connection. That line has a double meaning. She is having trouble with her Internet service, yes, but she is also searching for another sort of connection: a real relationship with her son. When readily available technology77 changes as rapidly as it has over the last fifty years, the gap between a middle-aged persons comfort level with new technology and a young persons is often huge.78 The poems form, free verse, is modern, emphasizing Wongs point of view as a progressive young person, who does not want to be bound by old conventions. Wong is not close with his family and has written several poems detailing his unhealthy relationship with them. Knowing that, Windows becomes more than just one young persons frustration with a mom who does not know how to use an Internet browser. It is also an opportunity for a mother and son to speak, even if they might not be on good terms. When Wong says she is looking / for her future through / that glowing screen, he is commenting both on her desire to understand new technology and be part of the contemporary world and on her need to connect with her children, who represent her futureand her familys. At the close of the poem, the speaker tells the mother to Try again, and holds the phone close. This passage implies that he still longs for a close relationship with his mother and wants her to try again. The poem ends on a note of hope, as the narrator asks his mom, Tell me/ what do you see? He is asking her to express her point of view about her life and about their future as a familyand offering to listen. Although this poem deals with the distance technology can create between generations, it also points out that technology can bring those generations closer together.79

An experience Im sure none of you has had. As opposed to the technology almost no one has, like a video card that lets you play Skyrim with the video set to max. 78 But not always. My mom and siblings are almost equally likely to think their computers are about to explode. Guess who does tech support? 79 Now you can Skype with your grandmother. Perhaps your grandkids will be able to teleport over for dinner.




IV. Poems of the City

The shift from rural life to urban life may be the greatest change humanity has ever experienced80. There have been cities throughout much of human history, from nine-thousand-year-old atalhyk81, currently under excavation in Turkey, to neon-lit contemporary Tokyo. Until the nineteenth century, however, most people lived in the countryside. Technological changes then drove the migration into cities. The rise of factories drew people to cities to find work, and agricultural advances made it unnecessary for so many people to work the land. The poems in this section discuss modern cities as they emerged and thrived in Europe and the United States between 1802 and 1917. It was a period of tremendous change in the West. These poems anticipate the cities people live in todaylarger, louder, and teeming with millions of people living close together82.
Objectives By the time you complete this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions. According to the poets in this section, how did urbanization affect the lives of city dwellers? Do these poets agree in their view of cities, or do they represent a variety of views? How did these poets use form, rhythm, and rhyme to emphasize their points of view?

William Wordsworths Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 (1807) One of the best-known Romantic83 poets, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was a middle-class Englishman who spent most of his life in the countryside. During his lifetime, Europe changed in a thousand waysbut few changes were as dramatic as its rapid urbanization. The Napoleonic Wars, involving most of Europe, were also fought during Wordsworths lifetime; England and France were at war for many years. Wordsworth had a child with a French woman, and the conflict had a direct, personal impact on Wordsworths life, as he could not travel freely to France to see her or their daughter. Between 1760 and 1815, Londons population exploded84, doubling from about 750,000 to about 1.5 million. Englands overall population also grew in this period, but more slowly.

The change Coca-Cola made to their formula in 1985 was a close second, though. This translates from ancient Akkadian as the city whose name is incredibly irritating to type. 82 Unfortunately, usually close enough to hear very clearly when the neighbors play bad techno. 83 The Romantics were a group of artists and writers of the 19th century who depended on emotion and nature for much of their inspiration. They were not necessarily romantic, and were in fact often notorious for their tragic love lives. 84 Too much dynamite in the food supply.



Many major buildings were constructed just before or during Wordsworths lifetime. One of them was Westminster Bridgea suitable topic for a poem about urbanization, because the changes its construction made to the city were so controversial. When a bridge across the Thames River was first proposed in the early 1660s, Londons ferrymen, sailors, and waterside merchants all opposed it, fearing it would hurt their businesses and possibly prevent ships from sailing up the river. King Charles II, Englands ruler, quashed the project, possibly in exchange for a large loan from city merchants85. The project was shelved until 1639. The bridge was finally completed in 1750, just ten years before Wordsworth was born. Wordsworth was evidently an urban enthusiast, despite spending so much of his time in the quiet countryside. His enthusiasm shines through in his work. Poem and DemiTranslation
Text Earth has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty: This City now doth, like a garment, wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still! Vocabulary
fair: beautiful touching: moving, meaningful dull: not shiny or sharp soul: spirit majesty: impressiveness, the dignity associated with a king doth: does garment: piece of clothing dome: rounded building top glittering: shining, shimmering steep: soak splendour: impressive or magnificent appearance neer: never glideth: moves smoothly will: ones desire mighty: strong

Debate it! Resolved: That there is more beauty in nature than in cities.

There is nothing more beautiful on Earth. A person would have to be depressed to walk by and ignore a sight as great and impressive as London. Right now, the city is wearing the beautiful morning like a gorgeous piece of clothing. The ships in the river, and all the buildings, are exposed under the sky and near the fields. Everything is shimmering in the clean morning air. Since the beginning of time, the sun has never shined on a more beautiful sight than London. No natural structure like a valley, rock, or hill is more impressive. I have never seen or felt such calmness! The river flows smoothly, however it pleases. Dear God! Even the houses seem calm and asleep. The citys strong heart is still. It is usually full of energy, but now is resting peacefully.

Analysis The poems first line, Earth has not anything to show more fair, conveys the poets awe at the sight of London stretching out before him. The city wears the beauty of the morning as if it were an attractive person dressed in his best clothing. When the speaker lists the Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples visible from his vantage point, he establishes that in 1802 the city already contained a diverse mix of business, entertainment, religious, and transportation options. The Romantic poets often took inspiration from nature, writing extravagant praise of waterfalls, forests, fields, and mountains. Their obsession arose partly in response to the urbanization and industrialization of Europe. Being in and writing about nature was a way to escape.

Despite the popular conception of monarchs, many kings were constantly broke, and reduced to either squeezing tax money out of their people or, like Charles, begging and borrowing it from groups of merchants.



In Westminster Bridge, Wordsworth alludes to nature-drenched Romantic poetryincluding his own: Never did sun more beautifully steep / In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill; / Neer saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! He reverses the Romantic ideal, suggesting London is more breathtaking than any natural scene.86 The poem is structured as a Petrarchan sonnet87, a form used in the Renaissance to express lofty sentiments88 or unrequited love (love not returned by the other person). The structure of the poem, which usually indicates adoration and praise, emphasizes Wordsworths glorification of the city of London. He subtly subverts the poetic form to express love for a city, rather than for a person. This break with tradition, and his rejection of his contemporaries usual reverence for nature, would not have been lost on the other poets of his time. The poems last line drives the point home89. He describes London as that mighty heart which keeps England alive. In Wordsworths time, London had become a center of progress. Cities had become the engine of the nationand the world. The poem glorifies urbanization.

Rudyard Kiplings The Song of the Cities (1896)

Born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, to English parents, Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was a seasoned world traveler by the age of ten. His globetrotting childhood was a product of the British Empire, the nearly three-hundred-year dominion of Great Britain over territories in every continent of the world90. Imperialism caused an unprecedented mixing of cultures, as people traveled throughout the far-flung colonies of the Empire. Trade, art, and literature flourished. As a prose writer and poet, Kipling drew heavily on his English heritage, his experiences as a child in India, and his knowledge of distant colonies. The Song of the Cities is Kiplings paean, or song of praise, to the impressive cities across the British Empire in 1896. Poem and DemiTranslation
Text BOMBAY Royal and Dower-royal, I the Queen Fronting thy richest sea with richer hands A thousand mills roar through me where I glean All races from all lands. CALCUTTA Vocabulary
Dower-royal: parent of a current king or queen fronting: with the front facing something thy: your mills: machines or factories

BOMBAY I have been the queen of the world for a long time. I am rich, and the sea along my borders is almost as valuable. I am filled with industry, and I attract people from all over the world. CALCUTTA I am popular with sailors, and I was built here

86 87

He wasnt writing the poem on trash pickup day, obviously. Poems in this form have a specific rhyme pattern and are usually in iambic pentameter, as most of this poem is. 88 Renaissance guys were a lot classier than modern guys, who would probably send a text message. 89 In a horse-and-carriage, of course. 90 Yes, in Antarctica too. In the 19th century, even penguins sipped tea and said, Cheerio!


Me the Sea-captain loved, the River built, Wealth sought and Kings adventured life to hold. Hail, England! I am AsiaPower on silt, Death in my hands, but Gold! MADRAS Clive kissed me on the mouth and eyes and brow, Wonderful kisses, so that I became Crowned above Queensa withered beldame now, Brooding on ancient fame. RANGOON Hail, Mother! Do they call me rich in trade? Little care I, but hear the shorn priest drone, And watch my silk-clad lovers, man by maid, Laugh 'neath my Shwe Dagon. SINGAPORE Hail, Mother! East and West must seek my aid Ere the spent gear may dare the ports afar. The second doorway of the wide world's trade Is mine to loose or bar. HONG-KONG Hail, Mother! Hold me fast; my Praya sleeps Under innumerable keels to-day. Yet guard (and landward), or to-morrow sweeps Thy war-ships down the bay! HALIFAX Into the mist my guardian prows put forth, Behind the mist my virgin ramparts lie, The Warden of the Honour of the North, Sleepless and veiled am I! QUEBEC AND MONTREAL Peace is our portion. Yet a whisper rose, Foolish and causeless, half in jest, half hate. Now wake we and remember mighty blows, And, fearing no man, wait! VICTORIA From East to West the circling word has passed, Till West is East beside our land-locked blue; From East to West the tested chain holds fast, The well-forged link rings true! CAPE TOWN Hail! Snatched and bartered oft from hand to hand, I dream my dream, by rock and heath and pine, Of Empire to the northward. Ay, one land From Lion's Head to Line! MELBOURNE Greeting! Nor fear nor favour won us place, Got between greed of gold and dread of drouth, Loud-voiced and reckless as the wild tide-race That whips our harbour-mouth! SYDNEY

glean: to slowly gather something in small amounts adventured: risked silt: a rich soil formed when water deposits dirt on its banks brow: forehead withered: shrunken, old, or dry beldame: older woman brooding: thinking obsessively shorn: shaved or cropped drone: to make a low, murmuring sound maid: a young woman neath: beneath gear: equipment afar: far away loose: set free, allow bar: prevent Praya: a waterfront walkway in Hong Kong innumerable: uncountable keel: the bottom of a ship landward: toward land prow: the front of a ship virgin: new or untouched ramparts: the walls of a city Warden: guardian veiled: covered or hidden portion: situation jest: joke circling: circulating, passed around land-locked: without a coastline, surrounded by land well-forged: well-made link: a part of a chain rings true: lasts, resists damage snatched: taken away or stolen bartered: traded oft: many times, often heath: land covered with shrubs and bushes favour: luck, or help from someone dread: fear drouth: drought, dry weather conditions reckless: not careful

because I am next to a river. I have become a wealthy city. Kings have risked their lives to rule over me. England, I am Asia. I have good land, and gold, but I am a dangerous place. MADRAS General Clive, a British army commander, liked me and made me a major city by basing an army here. I was one of the most important cities in the Empire. I am not as important now, but I wish I were. RANGOON I am thought of as an important trading center, but I do not care. I care more about the priests, and my people, who gather at the Shwedagon Pagoda to worship and celebrate. SINGAPORE Listen, Mother England! Everyone in the world, from the east and the west, needs to stop in my port for repairs. I control the trading route between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. HONG-KONG Listen, Mother England! The waterfront is safe today, because there are many ships on guard in the harbor. But we must keep watch, or other ships will come and attack. HALIFAX My ships go out in the mist and patrol the ocean, keeping the city walls safe. I protect the North, and I never rest in my guard. I am well hidden and safe. QUEBEC AND MONTREAL This part of the world was peaceful, but a malicious, half-joking rumor started Pontiacs Rebellion. We are ready for war, and we remember fighting in the past. We are not afraid, and are willing to defend ourselves. VICTORIA We are the city farthest to the west, just across an ocean from the East of the Empire. The Empire stretches all the way around the world, and is strong. CAPETOWN I have been stolen and traded many times by different empires. I am a place of mountains, shrub lands, and pine forests, but I dream of the British possessions in Africa to my north. Yes, I want to be part of one big British colony, stretching from my great mountain, Lions Head, all the way to Cairo. MELBOURNE We had to work hard to build this city, and we were unafraid. Even though we faced dry weather and other tough conditions, we wanted the gold that can be found here. We are as loud and wild as the ocean outside the city harbor. SYDNEY


Greeting! My birth-stain have I turned to good; Forcing strong wills perverse to steadfastness: The first flush of the tropics in my blood, And at my feet Success! BRISBANE The northern stirp beneath the southern skies I build a Nation for an Empire's need, Suffer a little, and my land shall rise, Queen over lands indeed! HOBART Man's love first found me; man's hate made me Hell; For my babes' sake I cleansed those infamies. Earnest for leave to live and labour well, God flung me peace and ease. AUCKLAND Last, loneliest, loveliest, exquisite, apart On us, on us the unswerving season smiles, Who wonder 'mid our fern why men depart To seek the Happy Isles!

harbour-mouth: entrance to a harbor birth-stain: a bad beginning perverse: against or opposed steadfastness: dedication stirp: lineage babes: children infamies: evils or wrongs earnest: serious leave: permission labour: work ease: relaxation, leisure exquisite: very beautiful unswerving: unchanging mid: amidst fern: a green plant

Although I began as a prison colony, I have become great. I have insisted on succeeding, despite hardships, and I have adjusted to the geography and climate. BRISBANE I am composed of northern people living in a southern place to which they are not accustomed, but I have still managed to build a country for the good of the Empire. Despite our suffering, we are becoming great. HOBART The desire for exploration led people to find me, but evil people ruined me. For the sake of those born here, I forced justice on criminals. Because I am willing to work hard and live virtuously, God has granted me peace. AUCKLAND Auckland is the most distant and most beautiful place. The weather is always beautiful here. We wonder, in the middle of New Zealands natural beauty, why anyone would ever want to live anywhere else.

Analysis Each stanza highlights the importance of one city or region. Most of the poem is written in iambic pentameter, a classic meter often used by Shakespeare, with five iambs per line. Kipling also uses other rhythms to highlight the aspects of each city he found of special interest.91 The poem uses an abab rhyme pattern in each stanza, but Kipling also links some stanzas by repeating rhymes. Rangoon and Singapore are connected in this way. They share the a rhyme. The sing-song rhythm and the rhyme structure give the poem a musical quality when read. The Singapore stanza emphasizes that citys importance within the British Empire. East and West must seek my aid / Ere the spent gear may dare the ports afar Singapore sings in the poem, highlighting its importance as a port where ships on long voyages could dock, make repairs, resupply, and continue to other parts of the empire. Singapore was a crucial port for the trading vessels of the nineteenth century. The last two lines of the stanza underline Singapores crucial position, as it straddles the passage between the Pacific and Indian Oceans92. The Madras stanza refers to the history of British colonization in India. The Clive of the first line is Major-General Robert Clive (1725-1774), one of the first and most important officials to lead British colonial efforts in India. Madras was his base of operations, from which he led the British army in a fight against the French for colonial control of the region. In Rangoon, Kipling takes his inspiration from the culture of Myanmar. The first line provides the Empires view of Myanmars worth, as a place rich in Debate it! trade.93 The following three lines all refer to Myanmars native culture. The mention of the shorn priest alludes Resolved: That the benefits of international trade outweigh the potential for cultural loss. to the shaved heads of Buddhist priests, who form the majority of religious officials in the country. The last line

91 92

For example, the line about the Shwe Dagon is in a different meter, emphasizing the importance of this landmark. Singapore has extremely long legs. 93 Matters of consequence alert!


of the stanza refers to the Shwedagon Pagoda, perhaps the most important center of worship in Myanmar. It is certainly the oldest, and one of the most beautiful, of the worlds many pagodas. The other stanzas of Cities are a similar mix of historical references, appreciation for the diverse cultures within the Empire, and Kiplings fascination with the way the parts of the Empire affected one another. Each of the cities Kipling praises influenced and was influenced by the Empire. The poem surveys the way cities function as centers of their own regions and as interconnected parts of the globe.

Amy Lowells New York at Night (1912)

Born into a prominent, wealthy, well-educated family, Amy Lowell (1874-1925) had all the opportunities found in turnof-the-century Americawhich, for most women, including Lowell, did not include college. She instead educated herself through reading and self-study. Lowell was one of the round pegs in a square hole praised in The Crazy Ones: probably a lesbian, she pursued a writing career even though she could have chosen not to work, or to join the family business. Her independent lifestyle, which included such shocking habits as cigar smoking, did not fit societys expectations of a turnof-the-century upper-class American woman. Poem and DemiTranslation
Text A near horizon whose sharp jags Cut brutally into a sky Of leaden heaviness, and crags Of houses lift their masonry Ugly and foul, and chimneys lie And snort, outlined against the gray Of lowhung cloud. I hear the sigh The goaded city gives, not day Nor night can ease her heart, her anguished labours stay. Below, straight streets, monotonous, From north and south, from east and west, Stretch glittering; and luminous Above, one tower tops the rest And holds aloft man's constant quest: Time! Joyless emblem of the greed Of millions, robber of the best Which earth can give, the vulgar creed Has seared upon the night its flaming ruthless screed. O Night! Whose soothing presence brings The quiet shining of the stars. O Night! Whose cloak of darkness clings So intimately close that scars Are hid from our own eyes. Beggars By day, our wealth is having night To burn our souls before altars Vocabulary
jags: sharp parts leaden: like lead crags: steep cliffs masonry: a building technique foul: dirty, loathsome lowhung: hovering at a low altitude goaded: spurred to action anguished: in great pain labours: work, birth monotonous: boring, all the same luminous: glowing aloft: up, in the air emblem: symbol vulgar: popular; crude creed: faith, dogma seared: burned ruthless: merciless screed: a written rant soothing: calming, healing cloak: cape intimately: closely scars: permanent marks on the skin

The sharp, jagged skyline is close to us. It brutally cuts the very heavy sky. The ugly and dirty houses, which look like steep cliffs, lift themselves into the sky. I can see the chimneys snorting smoke into the sky. The smoke makes the sky gray. Polluted clouds hang over the city. The city is like a workhorse, never able to rest. It is like a woman forever giving birth, constantly in pain. Below the buildings, the straight, boring streets all look the same, running from north to south and from east to west. They glitter. Above them, a glowing clock tower reminds us that time is money. The clock tower is a symbol of the citys crude religion: greed. Millions of people follow their greed. But the pursuit of material things does not make people happy. Rather, it ruins their lives. The glowing clock is a symbol of greed burned into the night sky. Oh, night! When the stars quietly shine, calming and healing us. Oh, night! Whose dark cape fits us so tightly that we cannot see the scars we bear from living in the city. We are poor by day, but wealthy at night. Night is when we can walk under the dark trees and the mysteriously bright crescent


Dim and tree-shadowed, where the light Is shed from a young moon, mysteriously bright. Where art thou hiding, where thy peace? This is the hour, but thou art not. Will waking tumult never cease? Hast thou thy votary forgot? Nature forsakes this man-begot And festering wilderness, and now The long still hours are here, no jot Of dear communing do I know; Instead the glaring, man-filled city groans below!

altars: places where rituals are performed thou: you thy: your tumult: commotion cease: end votary: devoted follower forsakes: rejects man-begot: manmade festering: rotting jot: a little bit communing: connecting glaring: shining brightly

moon. Night is when we can feel holiness. But I don't feel that holiness tonight. Where is it hiding? Night has come, but it is not peaceful. Will the commotion of daytime last forever? Night, have you forgotten me, your devoted follower? Nature rejects this metropolis, this manmade and rotting wilderness. Now we are in the long, still hours of night, but I dont feel any connection at all with the night or with the city. Instead, the crowded city groans below, shining too brightly with its artificial lights!

Analysis New York at Night is an example of free verse. It uses a rhyme structure and, more loosely, the meter of iambic tetrameter. The alternately steady and uneven rhythm reflects the city Lowell describes, monotonous yet also chaotic. New York City is famously called the city that never sleeps, a name Lowell says it has rightly earned. Even at night, she complains, the waking tumult does not cease. There should be peace beneath the stars, but, instead, the glaring, man-filled city groans below! Lowells New York is personified, groaning with effort and distress like a woman giving birth: her anguished labors stay. Lowells tone in the poem is one tired of New Yorks restlessness. The city is uncivilized and violent, its skyline a near horizon whose sharp jags / Cut brutally into a sky / Of leaden heaviness. Its houses are ugly and foul, and its chimneys snort like beasts. The beautiful streets are monotonous or boring. The skyscrapers, though impressive, are monuments to materialism and greed, the vulgar creed of mankind. The tallest tower is topped with a clock, which Lowell calls the joyless emblem of the greed of millions. It is a reminder that, to the people of the metropolis, time is money. This attitude robs them of the best / Which earth can giveof the precious, non-material joys of life94, such as friendship, intimacy, and leisure time. For Wordsworth, the city was more magnificent than the peaceful landscapes of the country. For Lowell, urban life was a parade of noise and filth95. Hers remains a common point of view, as many people are uncomfortable living in citieseven though cities are where they can find the most jobs and other opportunities 96Lowells vulgar creed".

94 95

One of these joys is probably sleep. Although anyone who has lived in close proximity to chickens knows that the country can be loud and filthy, too. 96 Or, to put it another way, matters of consequence. Saint-Exupry really had a point about adults.


Urban populations are concentrated enough to support a variety of businesses. Lowell wrote New York at Night just as the truly modern city was emerging, and the problems she experienced in city life are familiar ones today.97

Joyce Kilmers Main Street (1917)

An obsessive overachiever98, Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) had already earned a reputation as one of Americas foremost poets by the time he died in World War I at thirty-one. Before going to war in 1917, Kilmer was married, had five children, and pursued a career as a teacher and writer of prose, poetry, and criticism. He also earned a name as one of the bravest soldiers in his regiment; his willingness to undertake dangerous missions on the front lines would ultimately cost him his life. Kilmers best-known poem is Trees, which opens with some of the most-quoted lines in English language poetry: I think that I shall never see / A poem as lovely as a tree. Three years after Trees and Other Poems, Kilmer published Main Street. Poem and DemiTranslation
I like to look at the blossomy track of the moon upon the sea, But it isn't half so fine a sight as Main Street used to be When it all was covered over with a couple of feet of snow, And over the crisp and radiant road the ringing sleighs would go. Now, Main Street bordered with autumn leaves, it was a pleasant thing, And its gutters were gay with dandelions early in the Spring; I like to think of it white with frost or dusty in the heat, Because I think it is humaner than any other street. A city street that is busy and wide is ground by a thousand wheels, And a burden of traffic on its breast is all it ever feels: It is dully conscious of weight and speed and of work that never ends, But it cannot be human like Main Street, and recognise its friends. There were only about a hundred teams on Main Street in a day, And twenty or thirty people, I guess, and some children out to play. And there wasn't a wagon or buggy, or a man or a girl or a boy That Main Street didn't remember, and somehow seem to enjoy. The truck and the motor and trolley car and the elevated train They make the weary city street reverberate with pain: But there is yet an echo left deep down within my heart Of the music the Main Street cobblestones made beneath a butcher's cart. God be thanked for the Milky Way that runs across the sky, That's the path that my feet would tread whenever I have to die. Some folks call it a Silver Sword, and some a Pearly Crown, But the only thing I think it is, is Main Street, Heaventown.

blossomy: flower-like track: path crisp: cold; crunchy radiant: glowing sleigh: horse-drawn sled bordered: having along its edges gay: cheerful

I like to watch the moon reflecting in the sea. It looks like flowers blooming. But it isnt even half as beautiful as the main street of a small town in winter. After a few feet of snow fell, sleighs would zoom and crunch over the snow, in the bright sunlight, with their bells ringing.

The main street of a small town was always so nice in the fall, when the leaves of the trees turned dandelions: yellow flowers orange and red. In the spring, bright yellow flowers frost: a thin layer of ice would grow along the road. I like to remember how main street used to be when the winter ice humaner: more human turned it white, or when the summer made it hot ground: crushed (pasttense of grind) and dusty. I think the main street of a small town is the most human kind of street. burden: weight,
responsibility breast: chest dully: barely conscious: aware recognize: recognize teams: groups of horses pulling carriages wagon: vehicle used to transport goods buggy: carriage motor: car trolley car: streetcar elevated train: an aboveground subway reverberate: vibrate echo: lingering sound cobblestones: rounded stones used for streets butchers cart: a wagon belonging to a meat seller Milky Way: our galaxy tread: walk on folks: people

A city street, busy and wide, is crushed by the wheels of a thousand vehicles. It is like an unlucky person who only ever feels one thing: the weight of traffic on his chest. It is not aware of anything; it barely feels the heavy vehicles zooming by or any of the endless work going on in the city. But it cannot be human. It cannot be like the main street of a small town. It does not recognize anyone. Back in my old, small town, only about a hundred carriages and maybe twenty or thirty people went down the street each day, plus some children at play. The street seemed to know and enjoy them all. The trucks, automobiles, streetcars, and subways make the tired street vibrate with pain. Even though I live in the city, I can remember the sound of the meat sellers wagon going down the main street in my small town. It sounded like music. Thank God for the galaxy that looks like a street going across the sky. Thats the street I would like to walk on when I die. Some people call the galaxy a Silver Sword, and others call it a Pearly Crown. But I think it is the main street of heaven, and

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There are many people who can overlook all of a citys drawbacks for 24-hour food delivery, though. He probably participated in Ye Olde Worlde Scholars Goblet as a teenager.


pearly: made of pearls

heaven is like a small town.

Analysis The poem is written in iambic heptameter, an unusual poetic meter99 that gives it its lilting rhythm an up-and-down sing-song sound. It focuses on the main street of a small town, probably New Brunswick, New Jersey, where Kilmer grew up. Kilmers tone is nostalgic, and the poem glorifies life in a simple little community where everyone knows everyone else.100 He contrasts it to the main street of a big city, where he now lives, one that cannot recognise its friend. This is probably New York City, where Kilmer attended Columbia College. The city is portrayed as impersonal, just as in Lowells New York at Night. Like Lowell, Kilmer uses personification, describing the town and city street in human terms. For Kilmer, Main Street is humaner than any other street, because the people who ride and walk along it know and care about one another. Main Street is very aware of its surroundings: There wasnt a wagon or buggy101, or a man or a girl or a boy / That Main Street didnt remember, and somehow seem to enjoy. The big city street is like an unfriendly, overworked person, dully conscious of weight and speed and of work that never ends. It is barely consciousbarely human. It can feel only the heavy traffic crushing it. Meanwhile, the light traffic on the cobblestones of Main Street makes cheerful music. In the poems final stanza, Kilmer gives the small town the highest possible praise: he compares it to heaven. We can guess Kilmer considered the big city to be more like hell. Kilmer might be surprised by the friendliness of many modern metropolises in the developed world. There are Debate it! websites dedicated to helping city dwellers find their Resolved: That city life is more stressful than neighbors, community gardens have been built in highcountry life. density urban areas, and many inhabitants of cities favor walking and bike ridingwith some city governments even providing free bike rentals.102 Because cities tend to have concentrated, diverse populations, they can be hotbeds for changebut Kilmer longs for the steady, dependable nature of small towns.

Used a lot in the 16th and 17th centuries, the meter fell out of favor with poets since thenprobably because they couldnt spell its name. 100 This is both good and bad. Theres always someone to tell your mom if you get into trouble. 101 A type of carriage, and no relation to the buggers of Enders Game. Main Street did not have any giant sentient outerspace insects, although, if it had, the poem might have been much more dramatic. 102 Yet, after living in the same New York City apartment for two years, Ive met only three of the five people on my floor.



V. Conclusion
The next time someone asks you what television, bridges, the atomic bomb, and a phone call with mom all have in common, you will now have a quick answer: they can all change the world. And, although they are just words on paper, poems also have the potential to change individual worlds, opening readers eyes to new points of view. Since we do not have time machines103, Amy Lowells poetry is one of the only ways we can experience New York at the turn of the twentieth century. And if we want to find out how people reacted to World War I, T.S. Eliots powerful descriptions can, for a moment, make us one of those people. Literature is a permanent front-row seat in the theater of history.
Every great story performed in that theater is a story of change. Technological innovation, mass migrations, political upheaval, war, revolution, and even voyages of discovery are all events that make great material for historians and for readers. Poets, too, are historiansof a sort. They do not record objective facts; they capture emotion, meaning, and experience. A historian will tell you that an expedition ran out of water. A poet will tell you there was water, water everywherebut not a drop to drink. Steins Reflection on the Atom Bomb may not give us information about nuclear physics or the decision to bomb Nagasaki, but it does show us the fear, the resignation, and the hope experienced by someone living under a new threat. Poetry that deals with a world in flux gives us perspective on it. Many people now spend their lives tethered to various Debate it! devices: televisions, smartphones, iThings. Roald Dahl Resolved: That communication devices make it would advise us to turn them off from time to time, in harder to connect with people. order to experience a disconnected life. Amy Lowell might recommend we get out of cities for a while, just to see what silence sounds like. Cyril Wong, who is certainly conscious of how technology can facilitate communication, might ask us to go beyond our phones and Facebook accounts and really listen to our loved ones. For now, though, really listen to these poems. Even if it means reading them on your phone. Dont worry: we promise they wont rot your brain.104

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Yet. Fall of Rome, here I come . . . someday. Your phone might, though.


Works Consulted
Bovee, Timothy, ed. The Day Poems Poetry Collection. Web. Dec. 2011. <http://www.daypoems.net>. British-history.ac.uk. British History Online. Web. Jan. 2012. <http://www.british-history.ac.uk>. Brown, Kurt, ed. Verse & Universe: Poems About Science and Mathematics. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 1998. Cotterell, Arthur, and Rachel Storm. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology. London: Hermes House, 2008. Dahl, Roald. BoyTales of Childhood. New York: Puffin Books, 2009. Dahl, Roald. Going Solo. New York: Puffin Books, 2009. Dardess, George. The Delicate Dynamics of Friendship: A Reconsideration of Kerouacs On the Road. American Literature 46.2 (1974): 200-206. Dickerson, Matthew, and David OHara. From Homer to Harry Potter. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2006. Duffy, Michael. Firstworldwar.com, a Multimedia History of World War One. Web. Dec. 2011. <http://www.firstworldwar.com/>. Johnson, Paul. Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, Revised Ed. New York: HarperPerennial, 1992. Kerouac, Jack. On the Road. Web. 14 Dec. 2011. <http://www.terebess.hu/english/ontheroad1.html>. Hyser, Raymond M, and J. Christ Arndt. Voices of the American Past: Documents in U.S. History, 3rd Ed. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2005. Lewis, C.S. On Stories and Other Essays on Literature. Ed. Walter Hooper. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1982. Lockhart, R.H. Bruce. British Agent. Garden City: Garden City Publishing Co., Inc., 1933. McAdams, Dan P. The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self. New York: The Guilford Press, 1993. Murfin, Ross, and Supryia M. Ray. The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997. Poets.incredible-people.com. Web. Dec. 2011. <http://www.poets.incredible-people.com>. Poets.org. The Academy of American Poets. Web. Dec. 2011. <http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/58>. Quinn, Edward. A Dictionary of Literary and Thematic Terms, 2nd Ed. New York: Checkmark Books, 2006. Ramazani, Jahan, Richard Ellmann, and Robert OClair. The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, 3rd Ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003. Siltanen, Rob. The Real Story Behind Apples Think Different Campaign. Forbes. 14 Dec. 2011. Web. 17 Dec. 2011. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2011/12/14/the-real-story-behind-apples-think-differentcampaign/>. Smith, Grover. T.S. Eliots Poetry and Plays: A Study in Sources and Meaning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956. Tharoor, Ishaan. Merlion Heart. Time. 28 Nov. 2007. Web. 20 Dec. 2011. <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1688895,00.html>. Tsotsis, Alexia. Old School Steve Jobs on Changing the World. TechCrunch. 27 Aug. 2010. Web. 18 Dec. 2011. <http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/27/unless-youre-adob/>. Wong, Cyril. Cyrilwong.org. Web. 20 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cyrilwong.org>.


About the Author

Elena Gray-Blanc is a writer, editor, former journalist, and all-around nerd who likes the company of cats more than that of most people. She likes the idea of the postmodern metropolis, but prefers to avoid such places whenever possible. If she could take her espresso maker and library of sci-fi along with her105, she would gladly relocate to the Little Princes asteroid. Currently, Elena is obsessed with trying to force Hollywood to make more episodes of Stargate: Atlantis, which replaces her previous raison dtre: finding a way to get Firefly back on the air. In between futile longings for better science fiction series than are usually produced106, she spends her spare time ranting to anyone who will listen107 about Aristotles superiority to Plato, post-structuralist criticism, and why boxed macaroni and cheese occupies an important dietary niche.

About the Editor & Alpaca-in-Chief

Tania Asnes is an urban enthusiast who also longs to visit the volcanic fields of Iceland and coral reefs of Australia. Daniel Berdichevsky is the founder of DemiDec and the World Scholars Cup. He is pictured here being kissed by a giraffe in Kenya (Daniel declined to repeat the same feat with a nearby crocodile.) Between globetrotting episodes, Daniel hurries home to DemiHeadquarters to appease the sulking DemiPuppy. Although Santiago does not figure into Rudyard Kiplings poem, Daniel does enjoy one imperialist legacy: the British Navy left a tradition of high tea in his familys home country of Chile. Nearly two hundred years later, Daniel still drinks enough tea that an unobservant vampire might mistake him for a bipedal pot of Earl Gray108. You can find Daniel on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dan.berd.

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And fine, the husband too. Merlin, SyFy? Really? 107 This is, unsurprisingly, a short list. 108 Hot.