Poetry Paper

Submitted By brookelynnxxoo
Words: 663
Pages: 3

Brooke Morehouse
Scott Stankey
ENGL 2202-01
25 Feb. 2015
Poetry Unit Take-Home Essay Exam When you read poetry, certain things stick out to you due to your past experiences, what you find interesting, or what occurs frequently. While reading poetry written by Paige Riehl, Louise Erdrich and James Wright there are reoccurring themes of family/home and death/loss. One topic or theme that comes up in multiple poems between all three of the authors is the subject of family or home. In the poem “I Was Sleeping Where the Black Oaks Move,” Erdrich tells a story about when she was young and witnessed a flood from her house. All she notices in a nest of herons and their loss of home during the flood. Erdrich has a Native American background, and could be relating the herons to her ancestors after losing their homes and being forced to relocate. James Wright was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio in 1927. So in his poem “Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio” he is talking about his hometown. It talks about the families there, in which “the proud fathers are ashamed to go home” and their wives are “dying for love.” As a result, the sons of these parents “grow suicidally beautiful.” This could be why Wright’s poetry is darker than other poets, usually writing in a way that is alluring yet tragic. In Paige Riehl’s book Blood Ties, almost all of her poems are about her hometown and her family. In the opening poem, “Hometown,” she tells the reader to go back to not where they grew up but when they grew up. How it felt back then and how the street “was whispering/Go somewhere through me.” Through the poem Blood Ties, she writes her entire life story. The other reoccurring topic or theme throughout Erdrich, Wright, and Riehl’s poems is death and loss. In Louise Erdrich’s poem “Grief,” she writes about how “Sometimes you have to take your own hand/as though you were a lost child.” It shows how everyone has different ways of grieving, some more depressing than others, but still grieving either way. In “The Minneapolis Poem,” Wright writes about the different parts of the city of Minneapolis. In the first part, he talks about the people who commit suicide by jumping into the Mississippi River, he wishes them “good luck/And a warm grave.” In the second part of the poem, he writes how “The Chippewa young men/Stab one another.” In the fifth part of this poem, he tells us “There are men in