Monday, February 26th, 2018...10:41 pmLillian

Notice 10 & TOB: My Grandmother in the Stars

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Notice 10

  1. 3 stanzas
  2. 4, 7, and 9 lines each
  3. “never again” italicized (and its own line)
    • feels important to the first stanza: “we will not meet again”
  4. Sentences end mid-line
  5. earthly descriptions: horses, cows, houses, moth-eaten scarves, rugged feet
  6. cosmic descriptions: sky, sunset, universe, moons, (stars in the title)
  7. a desire for a grasp on grandmothers life (and opinions)
  8. the power of memories, remembering
  9. apart yet still together, trying to communicate, even though they can’t
  10. home = afterlife?


The title is the only place where stars and grandmother are explicitly mentioned. It introduces the topic of the poem, her grandmother, and also the idea that they are separated, probably by death. Also, “in the stars” seems to imply heaven, or maybe some other celestial afterlife. Putting her grandmother in the sky, whether as in heaven, or something else, also brings respect to the grandmother, and an expectation that even in death she is, if not powerful, maybe omnipotent.


The occasion of this poem is to discuss the death of her grandmother. The poem both deals with this form of loss, both specifically in reference to the grandmother, but also slightly more generally. This title prepares the reader for an elegy, and feelings of nostalgia, sadness, and love.


Before the third stanza, the poem focuses on this specific death more, acknowledging the pain of being apart, I’m assuming, through death, and the desire to have known, and learn more about her grandmother, and her life. With the third stanza it moves into a more general assertion on the death of a loved one, where you are never ready because even when there seems to be a warning, it isn’t accepted. In addition, the power of memories as a form of communication with the deceased.


  • I wanted to comment on this post because I was so close to writing a blog post on this same poem. I almost wrote about this poem because I thought it was so interesting that the words in the title were never mentioned in the actual poem- as you pointed out as well. I thought that maybe the loss of the grandmother was so hard that she could not bring herself to explicitly talk about her. Through Nye’s comparisons in her writing to the cow, for example, could have been her way of implicitly talking about her grandmother. Also the point you made about these two people being apart, but still together and trying to communicate made me think of religion. Some religious people believe that you can speak to your ancestors through the stars, and that there are signs in the sky. The fact that Nye is on the ground or earth and her grandmother is up in the sky implies that the grandmother is watching or looking over her and protecting her.

  • I think you nailed it when you say that even though the grandmother is most likely dead, she is omnipotent. I agree that the third stanza is a shift in the poem as the speaker becomes more hopeful. It almost feels as though the speaker is trying to justify her feelings towards the idea of never seeing her grandmother ever again. The third stanza initially made me think that she was trying to justify feeling sad, however, I now think that it’s trying to spread a greater message of trying to value each and every moment because you never know when one will be the last and you never really notice something is gone until it truly is. The poem does end on a bittersweet note as the speaker recalls that at least both her grandmother and herself will be able to remember each other through memories.

  • I am interested in your discussion of this poem’s title: “My Grandmother in the Stars.” While I agree that this title suggests a separation between the poet and her grandmother (by death), I wonder whether it deifies the grandmother. As you stated, the poet looks up to her grandmother. Personally, I feel that this respect does not make her grandmother “omnipotent,” but rather a close family member whose wisdom and knowledge the poet wishes to learn from. Because you have written beautifully about a sense of nostalgia throughout “My Grandmother in the Stars,” I believe that this point could be elaborated in your analysis of its title. The grandmother is “in the stars,” a place separated from the poet by life and death. However, it is also possible that she is “in the stars,” which always follow and watch after her grandchild. The lines: “Where we live in the world / is never one place. / Our hearts…” further indicate that the grandmother still lives in the hearts and memories of those who love her.

  •   Professor Seiler
    March 5th, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Lillian–Nice job with this post. I want to encourage you to ask NSN about her understanding of nostalgia, memory, and elegy… as your post and the comments on it suggest, these threads seem woven through her poetry.

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