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Analysis and comments on What Were They Like? by Denise Levertov

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Comment 14 of 114, added on March 2nd, 2008 at 3:53 AM.

"It is silent now" could be that no voices are now heard as they were
killed during the war.

we are doing this poem in Engish

x...amy...x from United Kingdom
Comment 13 of 114, added on December 1st, 2007 at 8:58 AM.

Please be aware that the poem as printed above contains errors. Example: it
is "after the children were killed," not "after THEIR children," and "stone
lanterns illumined," not "stone GARDENS." There are other errors as well.

Steve Barsky from United States
Comment 12 of 114, added on December 1st, 2007 at 8:52 AM.

This poem has been set to music by James Primosch. Our choir, Mendelssohn
Club of Philadelphia, commissioned Mr. Primosch's setting and has performed
it twice in concerts. It is a wonderful and sympathetic setting of the
text. Our site: www.mcchorus.org.

Steve Barsky from United States
Comment 11 of 114, added on August 11th, 2007 at 4:55 PM.

I personally love this poem. Me myself, I sort of see it as some kind of

"Did the people of vietnam use lanterns of stone?

Sir, their kind hearts turned to stone"

We used levels to establish the context...who would you call 'sir', then we
studied other aspects of levels, had a few experiments, roleplays, scenes,
still images. But all based on the poem.
Our group formed our piece on a kinda police interrogation and said the
poem as a police interrogation. It sounds amazing in that context.

If you investigate the poem in different ways, you really do get a real
sense of what the poems about and how it's set to create a real dismal

I love this poem and most of our drama class did too, legendary

Georgina Ainsworth from United Kingdom
Comment 10 of 114, added on April 24th, 2007 at 3:22 PM.

I feel that this poem expresses how the people of vietnamese lives chnaged
so dramatically after the war and i feel that its a very good poem.

paul davies from Ireland
Comment 9 of 114, added on April 5th, 2007 at 11:34 AM.

I thought this poem was written very well and adds the reader sympathy and
leaves them in the setting of the poem. Beautiful poem!

aloksa from United Kingdom
Comment 8 of 114, added on April 4th, 2006 at 8:15 PM.

Its a very weird poem...I had to do study it for my English class and I
hated it...It's just so..BAD...

*o_0* from Canada
Comment 7 of 114, added on March 2nd, 2006 at 8:52 AM.

this poem is very poor and pathetic, totally pathetic

Comment 6 of 114, added on February 20th, 2006 at 1:39 AM.

shouldn't it have numbers, so each question is matched with it's respective
answer. That's how it is in the UK GCSE Anthology (a set of poems that we
have to study!)

Archie from United Kingdom
Comment 5 of 114, added on December 4th, 2005 at 10:33 AM.

i personally believe that Levertov's Poem WWTL? is structured in this way
of a particular reason. i believe that the questions that she poses in the
first half of the poem seem to be almost from a child or someone who
genuinely wnats to know about what the vietnamese civilisation were like,
and in the second half of the poem the questions are answered with the
irony that they all relate to what happened during the war, as with most
'war-time' poetry, the writer wisher to show her audience what happened to
the people, and the brutality of the americans that they were faced with.

the last line of this poem is incredibly poignant and thought-provoking. it
is also very inventive that she has answered the question in the first
stanza, and at the same time make a very true statement to show that no-onw
will ever know whether the people of Viet Nam'sspeech was like a song.

tom from United Kingdom

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Information about What Were They Like?

Poet: Denise Levertov
Poem: What Were They Like?
Added: Mar 17 2005
Viewed: 850 times
Poem of the Day: Jan 19 2015

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