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Analysis and comments on The Dead Heart by Anne Sexton

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Comment 2 of 11, added on January 16th, 2013 at 2:49 PM.

Upon reading this poem I iliadmetemy recalled something that a poet told me
who once sat on a panel of poets with Billy Collins. It has been a while
but what I recall in essence is that Collins is sensitive to criticism that
his poetry appeals to the larger following he enjoys because his poetry is
too simple. He felt that how hard he worked on his poetry to make it
accessible was underappreciated. When I read this poem I hear a speaker
entreating the reader to dive into the experience of the poem and to not
miss the intended experience while looking for some multi-layered and
intricate meaning—to enjoy the simple and obvious essence of the poem.
What I love about this poem is its plea to the reader to enjoy the simple
beauty of a poem in the same way we might enjoy a hummingbird. I don’t
need, or want, a scientist to tell me how the hummingbird manages to be a
hummingbird, or, better yet, how a bubble bee flies when it isn’t
supposed to be able to fly. One particularly intriguing line for me in the
poem is “waving at the author’s name on the shore.” Why would the
speaker-poet not want the water skier to wave at the poet proper? Having
asked that, I am satisfied Collins gave the matter a great deal of thought
and that the answer may very well have to do with the desire to minimize
the author while maximizing the experience of the poem.“They,” first
appearing in the penultimate stanza, I suspect, are the critics that view
Collins’ poetry as too simple. And I simply love the image of “beating
it with a hose.” The obvious point here may be that the poem, or
Collins’ poetry, does not know more that it readily professes. I do
wonder if Collins is complaining a bit here about how is poetry is treated,
or, perhaps, he is playing Cool Hand Luke, as in, “Please, don’t beat
me no more boss.” I don’t read the poem as Collins suggesting no poem
will reveal more upon further analysis, just that it isn’t necessary for
all poems to be deeply analyzed.

Whatson from Samoa

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Information about The Dead Heart

Poet: Anne Sexton
Poem: The Dead Heart
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 8389 times
Poem of the Day: Apr 10 2013

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