Stanza Excersise – Church Ave.

Matthew Korb, Engl 220, 9/12/11

I am drawn back to settle.

And to contemplate my mettle

And start for things ahead.

But as I move to sit,

A yell comes and hits,

And I must away from the nettle.

                I know it is a poor critic who needs to draw upon background information for his analysis, but such a short snapshot of an otherwise larger poem requires a bit of background information.

The stanza describes Church Avenue, a stretch of road behind the Weiss Center and the President’s House. At night and, more specifically, on the weekends students use the street to go to and from parties. My apartment is right next to the street and, from my porch, I can hear students screaming and yelling at each other through much of the night.

The poem was inspired by a Saturday evening where, having coming back from a meeting, I sat on my porch to take a nap before meeting friends. I jotted the first line out before setting off for the night.

I wanted to have the stanza’s structure emulate the jarring nature of the yell on an otherwise pleasant evening. The poem is metered and has a rhyme scheme. The first three lines and the last line, intended to represent the speaker’s restful actions, are intended to be a long narration of actions and re-actions.

The fourth and fifth lines are designed to disrupt the flow of the story. The rhyme scheme for the piece is A-A-B-C-C-A. The A and B sections form a base to the story, a beginning that flows naturally into a narrative. The Cs are clumped together and brief, a jarring sensation that break the flow of the story. But, in the final line, we return to the A ‘base’. In later lines and stanzas, if the poem were to go on, the narrative would continue along the A and B scheme with other rhyme schemes coming in to simulate the yells and shouts.

Much of the inspiration for the story’s form is drawn, rightfully so considering our recent studying, from the poetry of Robert Frost. The narrative nature and topic of “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” was the elements most used, with its narrative nature and repetition carried over into the stanza. In Frost’s poem he pauses to enjoy a scenic scene before being distruped because of an inner purpose. In this stanza the speaker, who is also the writer, is attempting to find privacy for self reflection as well. However, instead of internal reasons, the speaker is drawn out of his reverie forcefully by an outward exclamation.

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