Tuesday, 4 December 2012

6. b) Unseen Poetry - Structure and Imagery

Constantly Risking Absurdity by Lawrence Frlinghetti

Constantly risking absurdity
                                             and death
            whenever he performs
                                        above the heads
                                                            of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
                                 climbs on rime
                                          to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
                                     above a sea of faces
             paces his way
                               to the other side of day
performing entrechats*
                               and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
                               and all without mistaking
                     any thing
                               for what it may not be
For he is a super realist
                                     who must perforce perceive
                   taut truth
                                 before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
                                  toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
                                     with gravity
                                                to start her death-defying leap
 And he
              a little charleychaplin man
                                           who may or may not catch
               her fair eternal form
                                     spreadeagled in the empty air
                  of existence

* a leap in Ballett where a dancers legs are crossed rapidly in the air and the heels are beaten together.

  1. Quote the simile that is sustained throughout in metaphors , layout and implied meaning.
  2. Notice the layout: how does it support the point the poet is making?
  3. What do you notice about the punctuation? Think about what this might contribute to the image. 
  4. Condense what  Ferengetti says about the poet into 4 brief points.


  1. i dont like the layout and it interupts the flow, this could represent the nerves of the acrobat and their unsteadiness on the tight rope.

  2. The poem lacks flow as the layout prevents the reader from engaging with the text because you must keep changing the direction you read. The text is similar to an acrobat as it keeps chaging direction fast.

  3. I think that the simile 'sea of faces', is a very good one. It represents a very wide audience, and puts into perspective just how hard it is for the acrobat to do his job, when he has thousands of people watching, as if there are many fishes in the sea. The word 'sea' tells us that it is a very wide variety of people, and a vast majority too as it is almost never ending. The sea is also sometimes said to be harsh, or scary, which can tell us that the 'sea of faces', can place a harsh judgement on the performer.

  4. it's saying that being a poet is like being a an acrobat The layout of the poem looks like a spiral, a bit like the dance moves of the acrobat. also the fact that theres no punctuation could be why the poem is split up into this layout, as a new line could be acting as a full stop or a comma.

  5. The layout is quite dynamic, representing the mixed emotions and feelings you may experience performing at a circus. The lack of punctuation (no full stops) adds to the flow of the piece.

  6. Nina and Charlotte4 December 2012 at 13:59

    the simile 'sea of faces' is very effective, as it creates an image that there are many people within the audience, it also highlights that the acrobat must be extremely brave as he is able to perform infront of such a big crowd.

  7. The structure of the poem is like a spiral and the layout contrasts from the poem to the structure. I like the way that there is hardly any punctuation like the poem is on going and it will always keep you on edge like an acrobat would when you watched them.

  8. Nina and Charlotte4 December 2012 at 14:03

    the layout suggests that the poet is trying to highlight that the acrobat is moving constantly, this is because the lines are always in different places. this conveys that the lines represent the acrobats movement which shows that he never stays still.

  9. the layout is all over the place , and you it stops the flow becuase you have to pause at each sentance to get to it.

  10. The simile helps to introduce the idea that the poet is similar to an acrobat, as they both perform in their specialised field. The simile introduces metaphors 'sea of faces' and 'balancing on eyebeams' which implies that the audience the poet is speaking to are providing a balance beam with their eyes

  11. 'The poet like an acrobat' is a simile that carries on throughout so instead of saying 'like' all the way through it turns into an extended metaphor. The poem stops the flowingosity but I think thats the way it was intended so it doesnt matter and as the acrobat would be nervous as the poem is. Lack of punctuation because of the lines.

  12. i think that the poet has layed their poem out like they have to show the foot steps of the acrobat and when the words all meet in the middle is like the thin wire where his feet join together.

  13. The layout displays the tight rope walkers nerves and the uneasiness of their walk across the rope. It creates an image of how wobbly they are as they cross it.


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