Showing 3111 - 3120 of 3164 annotations

Among Men

Dunn, Stephen

Last Updated: Jun-09-1995
Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This disturbing poem describes a locker room scene in which a young man feels compelled to tell his male companions and fellow handball players, "how he did it to her and what she did to him." According to the narrator, completion of the sex act for the man depends, it seems, on such indiscreet accounts. Prior to the disclosure, the men had been self-congratulatory, saying that their game "had been terrific." Readers are left wondering what the now naked sportsmen would say; would the story be seen as another "terrific" game or would the offender be checked?

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Sonogram

Muldoon, Paul

Last Updated: May-11-1995
Annotated by:
Ratzan, Richard M.

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This is the first of three poems (all annotated in this database) chronicling events that culminate in the arrival of the poet's new daughter. The second, Footling, relates her in utero reluctance to sally forth; the last, The Birth, is a verbal Fourth of July celebrating the birth of Dorothy Aoife Korelitz Muldoon. "Sonogram" is a three-stanza, eight-line image of the sonogram and the images it suggests. It reminds one of Pound's famous Metro poem for its sheer economy and pictorial power.

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Anti-Clockwise (1)

Abse, Dannie

Last Updated: May-09-1995
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The physician narrator is trying to elicit information from a female patient. The reader isn't sure what is wrong. The physician seems to suspect that she is having sexual/marital difficulties: she denies it. Wondering whether "I could slowly pan, with ophthalmoscope" the physician envisions uncovering the evidence of separate bedrooms in the patient's eyes. But all he has to go by is the body language of the woman, who sighs and twists her wedding ring "anti-clockwise"--as if her life were heading in the wrong direction.

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Going Blind

Rilke, Rainer Maria

Last Updated: May-09-1995
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This 16 line poem describes a nearly-blind woman sitting at a table at a party: "she seemed to hold her cup / a little differently . . . . " Afterward, she gets up slowly and follows the others "through many rooms (they talked and laughed)," but she moves far behind the others, "absorbed, like someone who will soon / have to sing before a large assembly . . . . "

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Washing the Corpse

Rilke, Rainer Maria

Last Updated: May-09-1995
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Two persons are washing the body of a dead man. It becomes dark and they light the kitchen lamp. Because they don't know the man, they invent his story: "since they knew nothing about his life / they lied till they produced another one . . . . " When the body is finally washed, it "lay clean and naked there, and gave commands."

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Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

An old man speaks his anger, bitterness, and rage: "The tiger in the tiger pit / Is not more irritable than I." His "hissing over the arched tongue" is an experience "inaccessible by the young."

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In the Third Month

Ray, David

Last Updated: Jan-17-1995
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Three months after his son's death, the author is driving by "the storefront where we found his blue Toyota." He is simply doing errands, nothing special, but suddenly "the tears pour down / as I think how much he wanted to be a man . . . . "After the death, the author found his son's books, including "one stamped in gold but with all the pages blank."

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Alabama

Coulehan, Jack

Last Updated: Jan-04-1995
Annotated by:
Donley, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poetry

Summary:

This poem is narrated by a physician (probably a young resident) trying to keep Alabama alive ("my stern professor . . . frowns at my attempts to stoke the boiler in her chest.") But Alabama wants to die and whispers to him "Let me go." The physician-narrator, however, is completely committed to keeping her alive, slapping her and saying, "Dammit, Live!"

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Medicine

Walker, Alice

Last Updated: Nov-11-1994
Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

An adult tells a very simple story about her elderly grandparents. In the morning the speaker wakes the sleeping couple observing that Grandpa, who is ill and in pain, gains comfort from the old woman in bed beside him. In fact the grandmother IS medicine that "stops the pain" during the night, a medicine contained "in her unbraided hair." Grandma's act of crawling into bed with loosened hair sustains him; it is an act of compassion, of love and an oblique reference to conjugal union.

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Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

For those considering a comprehensive overview of plague in Medieval Europe, Hirsch’s long poem is extremely useful. Comprised of thirty-five stanzas, it provides an historical account of devastation associated with the onset of plague in Venice in 1347. An inventory of behavioral responses to catastrophic disease illustrates that responses to AIDS frequently mimic irrational behaviors associated with earlier epidemics. There are references to hysteria, scapegoating, flagellants, illness symptoms, escape, desperate cures, and religious fervor.

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