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

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Comment 9 of 109, 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 109, 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 109, added on March 2nd, 2006 at 8:52 AM.

this poem is very poor and pathetic, totally pathetic

adam
Comment 6 of 109, 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 109, 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
Comment 4 of 109, added on November 14th, 2005 at 8:20 AM.

what? you pack the fudge for bread?

mrs pritchard from Ethiopia
Comment 3 of 109, added on September 26th, 2005 at 2:16 PM.

i have just been studying this poem for my english class and i was
wondering why Levertov put the poems into questions and answers.

frances xx (all the way from england!!!!!)

frances james from United Kingdom
Comment 2 of 109, added on May 20th, 2005 at 2:31 PM.

If this poem is treated as a live interview, it will
gain immeasurably in power and effect. A student once
suggested this in class. We then tried it that way, antiphonally, in
class, and its impact was like a quiet explosion in the room....As a poem,
it answers all questions, hits the head and heart with its impact, when
treated that way.

(I feel quite uneasy about the accuracy of the poem's
"lower section" as printed. I think someone should
make sure it agrees with the original. Especially in the answers to the
first and fifth questions.)

Greg Foote from United States
Comment 1 of 109, added on April 7th, 2005 at 4:49 PM.

I love this poem, especially for its irony.
I personally believe that Levertov put all the questions first and then the
answers because by the time the reader gets to the answers he has probably
already forgotten the questions. This emphasizes the idea she is portraying
about how quickly people forget.

B

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Information about What Were They Like?

Poet: Denise Levertov
Poem: What Were They Like?
Added: Mar 17 2005
Viewed: 538 times


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