Stanza and Analysis


Humid vomit fills pores

Rushing moisture

Blazing Freezing

Piled putrid particles

Steaming stringy suds

Friday’s festivities fester

Weekend without wafting waste


Critical Analysis:

My stanza entitled “Bathroom,” is about the disgusting discovery of an alcohol induced vomit pile in the bathroom of my dorm and the feelings that coincide with a place of cleanliness smelling of rancor for the duration of a week. The stanza is in free verse in order to mirror the freedom with which college students enter into during their freshman year. The lack of organized meter communicates the lack of forethought when it comes to the consequences of last night. There is a great deal of Alliteration that focuses on hard and stabbing sounds in lines 4, 5 and 6. In lines 4 and 5 the alliteration of “S” and “F” produce a hard sound and these sounds remind the reader of frustration and heavy breathing. The image of the “rushing moisture” in line 2 can be taken as the literal interpretation of a shower head, or as the sweating of the alcohol-sickened vomit culprit. The same double meaning can be found in line 3, the words “Blazing Freezing” can be referring to either the temperature of the water or the body temperature fluctuations of an inebriated person. The alliteration of the “W” in line 7 produces a sigh-like quality, this communicates the floor’s attitude toward the inconvenience. The amount of lines in the stanza also is of significance. The abundance of alliteration also communicates the persistence of the smell.  With the omission of the final “Never” of line 8, there are 7 lines in this stanza. The 7 lines represent the days of the week and reinforce the persistence of the odor. This also suggests a cycle with which this behavior revolves around. The following weekend the incident reoccurred and the odor that was almost faded was revived and poignant once more. The last Word of the stanza, comprising all of line 8, is “Never.” The use of punctuation and brevity suggest a lack of hope on our floor that friendly fragrance will return.



A Rare Occasion on Morgan Field

With my books in hand, I sit on an Adirondack chair.

I let the winds flirt, flirt away with my hair.

Joyously, I glance at the great green field

It sparkles back at me, celebrating a day so fair.

There is light moving through the dark green leaves

 And thin, short plants reaching for it like little thieves.

 Now, sit back and enjoy the beauties revealed

On a campus where the sunshine is so rare.

This was my first attempt to write an English poem with rhymes. I believe the rhyming scheme, AABACCBA, in this poem causes it to sound simple, almost like a nursery rhyme and improves the flow of the poem to be more story-like, which is what I intended it to do. I used imagery to describe the location, Morgan Field, to make the help the reader imagine it. Personification was used to give a sense of movement and celebration in nature, for example in the poem I said the green field sparkles at me or the short plants reach for the light. In the second line of the poem, I repeated the word “flirt” to portray the repetitiveness  of act of wind playing with my hair a used the rather cliche phrase “now, sit back and enjoy” because it was cliche and I am using it in a sarcastic way, given the two last lines of the poem are bitter, in opposed to the celebratory lines above them. I used alliteration on line six, “like little thieves” and line three, “glance… great green”  because I though it would make those line flow better.

“Petrichor” — stanza excercise


And if I were to lose my only name—
Here there is the scent of cigarette smoke infused into the core
of wooden benches.
It is as sweet and subtle as the Earth after rain. Call me nothing now
except after-rain: I exist beneath your wrinkled nose for just a moment; there
and then forgotten.
From here, your letters set your shoulder bones down deep into the center of your back.
They are the vessel for your arrogant laughter, traversing vast
distances. This is the one thing I expect of you:
avert your eyes from these benches (against this wall) as you pass them.
I see you walk the perimeter of your name,
a beetle around the inside edge of a glass—but this is not
my place. It’s time again to walk in line.

There are two hyphens in this poem, each revealing a significant shift in perspective and place. Each hyphen incites a strong break in the reading: the shifts are especially emphasized this way, because each break makes the last few words into an iamb and an anapest, respectively (“-ly name” and “of a glass”). If the syllabic emphasis were to fall instead of rise, the resultant sound would create more of a “finish” at the end of the line, and the transitions would be less jarring.
The first and last lines of this poem (the lines immediately before and after the hyphens), are written in iambic pentameter. The juxtaposition of the metered rhythm outside of the hyphens, and the lack thereof inside the hyphens, ties in directly with the poem’s theme of barriers. The strict form of iambic pentameter represents the strictness of the social limits imposed upon those who exist, per se, outside of the location to which the speaker makes his/her sudden transition. Only when the speaker leaves her familiar world is she able to express herself freely—in free-form verse. Suddenly, the lines are unmetered and often enjambed. In fact, as the character in the poem capitalizes on his newfound freedom of expression, the form of the poem does the same: enjambment effectively emphasizes certain words. Such terms include “the core”, “distances”, “except”, and “my place”. Each of these terms deepens the theme of social barriers, which are known to establish surface interactions, “distances” between people, and the confinement individuals to their specified “place.” Clearly, diction plays a significant role in relaying the poem’s message. In addition to the aforementioned terms, the repetition of “name” serves to highlight the restrictive nature of social barriers. (Use of a “name” is the most basic societal method of defining, and therefore limiting, other individuals.) The plural noun “Letters” is used as a double entendre, referring to the letters of someone’s name, but also a person’s Greek letters. The speaker is therefore using campus sororities and fraternities as examples of self-limiting social institutions.
The poem’s imagery further deepens this message about the restrictive nature of socialized labels. For example, the image of the beetle skirting “the inside edge of a glass” shows how the speaker, as a result of his/her heightened perspective, sees the others as trapped—less literally than metaphorically, as they are trapped within “the perimeter of [their] name.” The olfactory imagery of the “after-rain,” in conjunction with the title “petrichor” which can be taken literally to mean “the smell of the Earth after a rainfall“, relates the nature of petrichor to the nature of social constructs. Both are ever-present forces that become, over time, less noticed by the individual. Just as one gets used to the smell of after-rain, one loses awareness of his/her socialized existence—that is, until he/she can momentarily escape from it.

Stanza Exercise

An Unknown Home

An uncertain arrival

To a foreign environment,

Unpacking our bags,

Unpacking our memories,

A collective tension

Brings us together

Feelings of anticipation

Fill these halls

Will the new compare to the old?

The days pass,

Left to our own devices, past uneasy introductions

New beginnings begin to seem more comfortable


The home we come back to is not our home yet.

So we are left to ask: Where to go from here?


The chosen form of this stanza, free verse, relates closely to the meaning and content. Ultimately, the stanza acknowledges the overwhelming element of uncertainty in new surroundings. It achieves this, in part, by using free verse. Because there is no intended rhyme or meter, the technical form of the stanza evokes feelings of doubt, apprehension, and anxiety. The lack of a regimented form allows for the transition to college life, and residential life in particular, to manifest in literary terms. More specifically, when most enter the college atmosphere, they find that their lifestyle is much less regimented and disciplined. Correspondingly, the form of the stanza creates a sense of deregulation. Further reflecting this transitional period is the variation in line length. The lines that comprise the first half of the stanza are generally short, consisting of three or four words. These brief, almost interjectory remarks mirror the rushed and chaotic mindset present during the first few days in a new residential environment. As the stanza progresses, the lines increase in length, and the tone shifts from anxiety-ridden to contemplative. After adjusting to a new residential environment, it becomes possible to consider the future and how it might relate to the present circumstances. The last two lines confront the essential conflict in adjusting to a new lifestyle and living situation. Although it may seem as though we are to regard this new environment as our home, it does not feel as such. The narrator has begun to accept the new surroundings as reality: “new beginnings begin to seem more comfortable,” yet there is still a sense of resistance and hesitancy, which is apparent in the line: “the home we come back to is not our home yet.” The culmination of the stanza in a question underscores the function of the content and form; despite feelings of acceptance, there is not an instinctual feeling of home. The narrator has explained the environment, contemplated and questioned the future, yet still remains uncertain and uneasy.

Stanza Excercise- Musings of an Oak

Musings of an Oak

How can it be that ones so small,

and briefly blooming in the mind of loam

can rise with will, and climb, not fall

beyond their roots, eyes full, to roam

with those still few who came before,

paths of the soul most rarely seen

through silent wood and crashing shore.

To further truths.

And then return with deeper eyes

to stand where their first steps were tred

amidst grey walls beneath my boughs

I see again their verdant blooms

with richer tones, and sharper edges.



In my poem Musings of an Oak, there are many literary elements that give insight into the meaning of the poem. One of the first aspects of the poem that allow for a deeper reading is the structural elements of the poem. Musings of an Oak begins with the form of an English sonnet but at line eight the poem shifts into free verse. In this poem this change of structure serves to show the observed transition point in the maturation of the students from wide eye innocence to a deeper wisdom. Another structural facet that facilitates a deeper reading is the use of distinctly shorter lines.  Lines eight and fourteen are both distinctly shorter than the other lines of the poem, emphasizing their importance to the larger poetic meaning. In this case it shows the importance of the students’ journeys to find truth and deeper wisdom while also highlighting the overall theme of growth in the work itself. Though the structural elements together give a better understanding of the meaning of the work as a whole, other literary devices are essential in understanding Musings of an Oak.

In addition to structural elements extended metaphor was used to add a deeper meaning to Musings of an Oak. Throughout the poem the students that the narrator sees are compared to blooming flowers. This gave comparison gave a different impression of the students than what otherwise could have been achieved. This metaphor gave to the students observed a sense of fleeting vibrancy, of a brief period of time experienced to the fullest. This idea is what I believe encapsulates the college experience, especially when narrator describing the students lives for hundreds of years. The idea of the students being blooming flowers also ties into the poem’s overarching theme of growth and development as plants are one of the most poignant literary symbols of growth. This idea of growth as a theme of the work is reinforced by the diction of the poem itself.

The diction in Musings of an Oak is also crucial to the understanding of the poem. Many of the words used in the poem are purposefully botanic, evoking the thoughts and images of growth and maturation that are essential to an understanding of this poem. The use of these words also serves to reinforce the fact that the narrator of the poem is itself a plant, and as such it uses these words because they fall within its paradigm. For the narrator that is the only way it can explain what it is witnessing through terms that it understands.

Stanza “Exiting the Student Union from the Basement”

Exiting the Student Union from the Basement

I bear the door before me like a shield

And pressing, push my eyes the vanguard for

My mind into the field – what force awaits

My flank to tear inside the rumbling dark?

The spies report “all clear!” and I march on.

Some hawkish general steers me right

A chain link wall to face, and peer beyond

The formless there to shape what lies within.

A thing, a pipe, or enemy a shriek

For Battle-cry performs and thusly I –

Tired now of war – flee onward towards the door.

            After several years of visiting Dickinson and at least a year of residing here, many of the places on campus carry a more personal flavor that mediates the way I conceptualize and describe them. While I wrote with my perceptions in mind, I chose to represent them in a different way; my interpretation, too, excludes them.

War is a familiar but destructive force in the world. While the lives of civilians may normally remain relatively unimpacted by it, for soldiers and veterans it is a defining experience. Its powerful impression stems from its ability to generate a rush from both terror and excitement. Such a quality allows warfare to form an effective metaphor for simultaneously experienced but generally opposed emotions. Use of military vocabulary to create a war motif in “Exiting the Student Union from the Basement” recreates textually the internal emotional duality as the speaker self-dramatizes his experience.

And just what is that experience? The poem at first appears to describe a military encounter. Terms and phrases like “bear…like a shield,” “flank,” “hawkish general,” and “battle-cry,” while usable for standard descriptions, carry military annotations. Yet nowhere does the speaker refer to his being a soldier. An enemy is never seen, only heard – dubiously, at that (see below). Thus while the speaker says he is “tired now of war,” war is something in which he is evidently not participating. In reality the speaker, as the title suggests, is moving through a non-hostile space. This revelation allows for a multi-tiered reading of the text. For if the speaker is not, in fact, fighting, then the military descriptions are not literal but rather metaphorical.

Meter is used to add further dramatizations to the poem. Iambic pentameter predominates in the poem but breaks down at the beginning of Line 11 with “Tired now of war.” The speaker’s internal metaphor at this point collapses with the meter, before picking up again at the end of the line as the warfare imagery “flee” resumes. Meter also emphasizes certain thought processes in the text, such as Line 9 “a thing, a pipe, or enemy. [emphasis added]” This non-logical progression reinforces the idea that the reality from which the speaker speaks is not a military, but rather an imaginative one. The agent in most clauses is the speaker, excepting those used as dramatic metaphors such as the “general” in Line 6 or the “spies” in Line 5.

There is a Pole

There is a pole on the corner
Of a patch of grass-carpeted earth.
Each day, thousands of scholars walk past it,
Ignoring it altogether, or worse,
Disregarding its beauty and using it
As some mundane meeting place, a point to gather
Before making a lackadaisical journey across campus
In search of nourishment or some new parcel of wisdom.
But this pole has a unique symbolic aesthetic
Lost on many of the scholars it is meant to inspire.
One end of the black rod pierces the ground shamelessly,
Calling forth images of the student with his mind
Firmly rooted in his studies.
As the pole is embedded in the terrain,
So too is the student grounded in his text,
Using logic and reason to seek the knowledge of his ancestors.
The other end of the pole points heavenward,
Reminding the student that his parents were right
When they used to chide him with the clichéd notion
That “the sky is the limit”. It hints of higher layers
In the atmosphere, just as student flirt with new ideas,
Embracing the possibility that we have not yet discovered
All there is to know in this world.
Between these two endpoints
(Admittedly closer to the dream side than to that of logic)
Lies a series of white arrows, emanating in every direction.
Inscribed on these points are great cities of the world,
Sites where dreams are realized or destroyed.
These guides suggest the distances our dreams may travel.
The post identifies locations that need to be “engaged”,
Then grants us the courtesy of boldly stating the distances
That must be traversed in order to engage this world.
Dickinsonians pass this guidepost every day,
And each year a new crop of students inherit its sagacity.
But to truly feel that “distinctly Dickinson” experience
One must grasp the insight which this inconspicuous pole freely distributes.
For what is the point of mere tuition and bookstore bills
If we cannot heed its call to a higher purpose?

Critical Analysis:
“There is a Pole” is a description of how underappreciated the post is by the people who walk past it daily. I intended it to be a sort of stream-of-consciousness “rant”, and so I wanted it to have a very conversational feel. It sounds as if it is the speech of a college student frustrated that no one else realizes the symbolism of this post to greater campus culture. Because of the conversational nature, I knew I wanted this poem to be in free verse (that is, no rhyme and no meter). To give it rhyme and/or meter would make it feel like a planned or scripted speech, instead of being reminiscent of the natural epiphany that I myself experienced. I did, however, wish to play around a bit with diction. I wanted the speaker to clearly come across as a student at Dickinson College. I tried to achieve this through the use of some larger (almost obnoxiously large) words, much like the ones college students try to insert into their conversations to impress professors and classmates. Honestly, who uses the word “lackadaisical” in everyday speech besides the college crowd? I also wanted to make the speaker clearly a Dickinson student by manipulating the Dickinson slogan “Engage the World” that we all know and love. In terms of imagery/symbolism, I tried to relate the post to college student life through three shared experiences. Firstly, the way the pole is rooted into the ground in the same way that the college student is “rooted” in his studies. Second, the top of the pole reaches toward the sky, much like the student’s dreams and aspirations reach towards heights yet unseen. And finally, the white directional arrows are like our smaller life goals, goals for which we know exactly what we must do to succeed. The speaker is illuminating this imagery that seems so relevant to our lives as college students, displaying frustration with the fact that this is such a powerful image, yet we walk by it unappreciatively every day.
P.S. – Poetry has never been my strongest suit (I’m much more of a prose/Shakespeare girl), so be gentle!

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.

The Meaning Of  A Garden


The center is where I desire to be and for that,

desire I must own for my sack.

I take upon the looks they gave me and craft it into the,

form of milk shake.



The seats is red as my anger could be,

and yet I have no intentions of leaving.

The ground is green as his eyes paired with mine deeply,

inside I’m still grieving.



I look at my out side surroundings and the statue of great,

authority is there.

The buildings that all form a path around it leads to my

biggest fear.



Captivated am I? GO ahead laugh it out,

you can’t see what I see.

This garden has torn me apart reminding me what people

can not drive me to be.



Broken, Confused and Ashamed because I was created

for a purpose.

Never let anyone define me, because only I know me, my History, my Past and my Story

I was created for a purpose.


Critical Analysis:

In my poem ” The Meaning Of A Garden” there are four lines in each group of verses and thus this is an example of a quatrain stanza. Each stanza from line three and the four will have a rhyming scheme added to them to demonstrate in a way my thoughts at the moment and how I am trying to connect the issues at hand with thinking about it  metaphorically to an object. When taking apart my diction in lines 7-8 you can get a picture that there is a red chair and that I am simply using it in a way to portray at the present where I’m stationed the way I feel is that I am brighter than that chair  and that all the anger and pain it surpasses the color I’m staring at visually. And that this helps the reader to understanding that internally I am falling apart in the sense that I am like a chair all strong and sturdy but I am also a creation at the moment feeling like I am falling an apart. Using the form of this garden  in a way to create this world where everything is so beautiful and peaceful as well as strong like the statue in the garden it  has powered. The Statute can maintain its strength and so I use that as to say I can be like this garden I am I am this garden. I am strong I am brave and this garden has  A purpose to bring  comfort to others that’s in it and beauty to the school campus and I has a purpose just like the garden I just need to see that,  to just take a second and remind myself that.