Rita Dove: The Power Of Imagination In Narrative Poetry

According to poet Rita Dove, “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” This quote helps us understand why poems come in so many different styles, forms, and subjects. If one thinks of poetry as a whole, perhaps the first poem that surfaces the mind would be a poem in lyrical verse. This more general form of poetry is indeed how the vast majority of poems are written. However, the more classic form of poetry, or perhaps the more ancient form of poetry, is found in epic form, which is known as narrative verse. Poetry in narrative verse simply tells a story, and it is often objective and will dramatize the crisis or climax. In his verse-novel, Ludlow, David Mason combined the nature of poetry as Dove describes it with a narrative verse to recreate a forgotten tragic event. Although narratives are increasingly more popular in prose, Manson’s Ludlow has proven that narrative poetry can better capture the human imagination by utilizing the powers of poetry: simple narrative economy, powerful images and symbols, and the sounds of words. Perhaps the main reason Mason’s Ludlow is so powerful in capturing the imagination of its audience is …show more content…
The clustering or juxtaposed of certain words creates lingering effects on the reader’s imagination. In Ludlow, Mason frequently uses assonance. In describing a dream of spice islands, he uses the words “ambition, loss, and love” (141). In some instances, he also uses repetition to capture hopeless moments: “But nothing was the word of peace. / Nothing would offer love. / Nothing gave the world release / from the nothing of God above” (151). Words can have powerful effects on the subversive imagination. Since prose are usually written with words in their most ordinary and concise form, authors of narrative poetry, which fully utilizes the power of words, can “better capture the moment” with

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