The Statue A Modern Poem Essay Research

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The Statue: A Modern Poem Essay, Research Paper ?The Statue?, by John Berryman, portrays the human race to be ignorant and uncaring. The poet bares a cynical attitude toward mankind. According to the definition of modern poetry, ?The Statue?, by John Berryman, is a modern poem. Modern poets were inspired by Walt Whitman, who changed the form of poetry by choosing freestyle, and ?abandon[ing] the standard line lengths, rhymes, and standard forms of traditional poetry? (Jonvanovich 738). Capitalization, punctuation, phrasing, and sentences are all altered from their accepted form. Capital letters appear in the middle of a sentence, and periods appear in the middle of a stanza. Sentences begin and end in odd places, and normal syntax is disrupted. Modern poets rapidly change

subjects, ?producing the sense of dislocation that some poets think is characteristic of modern life? (Jovanovich 739). The content of modern poetry also differs greatly from that of previous styles. Many modern poets have adapted a cynical outlook on the world. According to Jovanovich, the poetry is experimental and often dark, with anger directed toward society in general. Topics can include ?the lives and perspectives of the disillusioned, [and] the outcast? (Jovanovich 575). Poets realize how ?alluring, but how destructively false [are] the values and appearances of the few at the top of society? (Jovanovich 575). Modern poetry is also rooted in French Symbolism, which portrays different things, such as material objects or the seasons to be symbols of something deeper.

Another important element of modern poetry is the poet?s perception of reality. According to Ellmann, the modern poet questions reality and is unsure of the objective world. Poets wish to express ?how important individual perception is in shaping reality? (Jovanovich 574). The form of ?The Statue? shows John Berryman?s break away from conformity. Berryman himself said he wanted to write ?big fat fresh original and characteristic poems? (Bayley 86). Gary Arpin claims Berryman is fascinated with technique. According to Diane Ackerman, Berryman?s grammar use is different than that of any previous poets. Capitalization is found in the middle of a sentence and in the middle of a line. For example, the word ?Respect? is capitalized in the middle of the sixth line of the second stanza:

?For the ultimate good, Respect, to hunger waking.? Punctuation in ?The Statue? is also different than that found in traditional poems. For example, Berryman chooses to leave out commas in the sixth line of the sixth stanza: ?These thighs breasts pointed eyes are not their choosing.? Berryman chooses to end his sentences in strange places. He places a period in the middle of the first line of the fourth stanza: ?Disfigurement is general. Nevertheless.? According to Arpin, Berryman experiments with syntax. ?A deliberately ruptured syntax quarrels with the unbroken surface of style? (The Times Literary Supplement 67). In the sixth line of the second stanza, ?For the ultimate good, Respect, to hunger waking,? the word ?hunger? is stressed by placing it in front of the word ?waking.?

These examples show that grammar is an important part of modern poetry. The stanzas in ?The Statue? shape the modern poem. Berryman wrote seven eight-line stanzas. Joel Conarroe notices a pentameter form is interrupted in each stanza by the fourth line, which has a tetrameter pattern. For example, line three of the third stanza says, ?To spend its summer sheltering our lovers,? while line four says, ?Those walks so shortly to be over.? Conarroe also says that each stanza in ?The Statue? completes a thought, and Berryman changes subject quickly from one stanza to the next. Stanza one is about the sad condition of the world, stanza two is about yearning for tomorrow, and stanza three is about romance. Berryman changes subjects so rapidly to symbolize the disheveled state of modern