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Poetry Portfolio: Deconstructing The Spaces Between Us (Essay Sample)


The First task was to select a dividing societal issue that concerns the writer.
Once the topic is selected and approved, the task is to overview what will serve as an introduction to your portfolio.
Areas of focus- historical context of the issue, key dates/moments, enduring challenge, The idea is
select 5 works that explore your chosen societal division.
-Identify 5 different poetic devices.
-Construct an overall thesis that explores the poem’s overall meaning.


Poetry Portfolio: Deconstructing The Spaces Between Us.
Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath
Lady Lazarus is considered to be one of the best works of Sylvia Plath, and the expression of her Dark thoughts is in a rather descriptive, and elegant form. The expression of agony in the poem is apparent through all the lines through the utilization of various poetic devices in themes. Throughout the poem, intricate words have been woven together to express the true feelings of the poetess.
Lady Lazarus the title of the poem forms an allusion to “Lazarus of Bethany”, a biblical character. A detailed comparison is drawn between the character and the author following the perspective of rebirth and decomposition. Hence the title can also be regarded as a metaphor (Poetry Foundation, “Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath”). Further on, another poetic device used in the poem is enjambment, which is used all over the poem. Taking an instance,
“A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot
A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
Jew linen”
The use of this poetic device has been carried out in order to maintain the flow of the poem. Both irony and the rhetorical question are identified in the lines “Do I terrify?” as the order herself seems terrified by the emotions that she has been experiencing (Poetry Foundation, “Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath”).
Within the lines,
“A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot”
The author has used vivid imagery to draw a comparison between her own suffering, with that of the Jews, that suffered during the Nazi domination. While in plain sight the poem seeks to address the depression and mental health issues that the author has been suffering it also what affects the need for autonomy that the author has, in a world that is male-dominated. This is visible in the last lines of the poem when the author states,
“Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.”
The societal issue in regard to gender has been passively addressed within the poem as the woman seeks to receive enormous power within her femininity. While the poem does not openly talk about mitigations or solutions for the presence of gender inequality, it does talk about the power of the feminine throughout all of its lines (Poetry Foundation, “Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath”).
Still, I Rise by Maya Angelou
Anaphora refers to the repetition of certain words or phrases at the beginning of multiple lines, which are usually one after the other. Within the poem, Still, I rise by Maya Angelo, the phrase “you may” has been repeated through lines 1 to 3 in the 6th stanza (Poetry Foundation). This represents the resilience that the author has, to keep trying until the end, and represents the power she holds.
Secondly, alliteration is used in the poem with words with the same initial letters being grouped close to each other. Within the poem, this can be observed in the first line of the 8th stanza stating “huts of history”, and the words “gave” and “gifts" in the 9th stanza(Poetry Foundation) . Enjambment has been used in the poem, so as to comfortably shift from one line to another. Within the poem, this transitioning of lines is observed in the first stanza while shifting from lines two to three. A simile can be observed in the poem in the 3rd stanza, through the lines “just like hope springing high”, and “cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines” in the 5th stanza (Poetry Foundation). The poem contains a lot of vivid imagery, which is visible in the lines such as “but still, like dust I’ll rise”(Poetry Foundation). The poem talks about various social issues such as the power of femininity and rising against oppression. It is visible in the title itself when the order states that no matter what happens she always ends up rising from the dust. The solution that this work offers against social oppression is to fight back and stay perseverant to meet the goal of a community.
"Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou
A majority of the stanzas in the poem- “Phenomenal woman” end with the phrase, “that’s me.” This points out the usage of repetition in order to gain a certain effect on the audience. This asserts the perspective that the author holds of herself, and shows how proud she is to have the qualities. The acceptance of self is clear through these lines. Further on, other phrases have also been repeated throughout the poem, such as a “phenomenal woman.” (Poetry Foundation, “Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou”). In order to maintain a smooth transition between the lines, enjambment has been used between lines 10 and 11 in the first stanza of the poem. Phrases such as “women wonder” in the first line of the first stanza, and the words such as “fall” and “fellows” in the 4th and 5th lines of the second stanza display the usage of alliteration within the poem (Poetry Foundation, “Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou”). The poem contains vivid imagery and the use of adjectives in order to enhance the descriptive language of the poem. This is visible in the lines, “the stride of my step” and “the curve of my lips.” The societal issue that this poem addresses is gender. Women have been forced to conform to certain beauty standards and the author calls for the abandonment of such negative body images set by society and the fashion world (Poetry Foundation, “Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou”).

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