Constantly risking absurdity
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Constantly risking absurdity

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    Constantly risking absurdity Constantly risking absurdity Presentation Transcript

    • Constantly Risking Absurdity By Lawrence Ferlinghetti
      • Constantly risking absurdity
      • and death
      • whenever he performs
      • above the heads
      • of his audience
      • the poet like the acrobat
      • climbs on rime
      • to a high wire of his own making
      • and balancing 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’s the super realist
      • who must perforce perceive
      • taut truth
      • before the taking of each stance or step
      • in his supposed advance
      • towards that still higher perch
      • where Beauty stands and waits
      • with gravity
      • to start her death-defying leap
      • and he
      • a little charliechaplinman
      • who may or may not catch
      • her fair eternal form
      • spreadeagled in the empty air
      • of existence
    • Constantly risking absurdity and death
      • Absurdity – making a fool of himself
      • Death – falling to the ground
    • Whenever he performs above the heads of his audience
      • On the high wire in a circus tent
    • the poet like the acrobat climbs on rime to a high wire of his own making
      • Simile – poet like acrobat
      • Uses idea of poetic techniques being compared to the high wire the poet walks on
    • and balancing eyebeams above a sea of faces
      • Above the people watching. Look at image of eye”beams” and balancing – keeps idea of acrobat. Also “sea” of faces – height above people, general populace, danger?
    • paces his way to the other side of day
      • Paces – slow
      • 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
      • Reality
      • Super-realist
    • for he’s the super realist who must perforce perceive
      • Super = above
      • Super = very good
    • taut truth before the taking of each stance or step
    • in his supposed advance towards that still higher perch
    • where Beauty stands and waits with gravity to start her death-defying leap
    • and he a little charliechaplinman who may or may not catch
    • her fair eternal form spreadeagled in the empty air of existence
    • The Metaphor
      • The poet as the acrobat
      • Look at how this metaphor is extended and sustained.
    • Constantly risking absurdity and death
      • The poet constantly runs the risk of being seen as foolish and the death of his career as a poet.
    • Whenever he performs above the heads of his audience
      • He performs by writing / reading poetry – poets are traditionally thought of as being high-minded – thinking intellectuals – therefore above the heads of his audience.
    • the poet like the acrobat climbs on rime to a high wire of his own making
      • The poet uses rime (or poetic technique) where the acrobat uses a high wire.
      • Look at “of his own making” – the poet creates his own high wire.
    • and balancing eyebeams above a sea of faces
      • Extending the idea of the high wire – eyebeams (the eyes of his readers)
    • paces his way to the other side of day
      • Day?
    • performing entrechats and sleight-of-foot tricks
      • Entrechats – ballet – jumping and changing feet
      • Sleight-of-foot – instead of sleight of hand
      • In other words : poetic techniques
    • and other high theatrics and all without mistaking
      • Continues idea of poetic techniques
      • No mistaking
    • any thing for what it may not be
      • Note two words – any thing not anything
      • Ie. Any object
      • Ie is very clear
    • for he’s the super realist who must perforce perceive
      • Super realist – very good realist / above the real (surreal?)
      • Because of this ability he is forced to see
    • taut truth before the taking of each stance or step
      • Truth – it is taut because it is hard
    • in his supposed advance towards that still higher perch
      • Where is the poet advancing?
    • where Beauty stands and waits with gravity to start her death-defying leap
      • The acrobat moves towards the beautiful woman, the poet moves towards truth and beauty. Keats said “beauty is truth, truth beauty” in “Ode on a Grecian Urn” – he didn’t mean that truth is beautiful to look at, or that beautiful things tell the truth. He meant that the truth can be a thing of beauty to discover. For the poet, the ultimate search is for true beauty of form and content in a poem.
    • and he a little charliechaplinman who may or may not catch
      • Charlie Chaplin was a comical figure – made many films – little man in suit, bowler hat and stick – in the spot light. The poet is under the spotlight and is often seen as something a little strange by ordinary men.
      • He may or may not achieve his aim towards truth and beauty
    • her fair eternal form spreadeagled in the empty air of existence
      • Beauty
      • Spreadeagled – vulnerable
      • Empty air of existence – poet’s identify the emptiness of life
    • Form of the poem
      • The poem can be divided into 3 parts :
      • Part 1 Lines 1 – 18 The poet compared to the acrobat
      • Part 2 Lines 19 – 27The higher aspirations of
      • the poet
      • Part 3 Lines 28 – 33Will the poet / acrobat succeed?
    • Rhyme
      • Is there a fixed rhyme scheme? What rhymes do we see?
    • The shape of the poem
      • Like an acrobat walking along a high wire
    • Alliteration
      • The repetition of consonants to create effect:
      • What is its effect?
    • Assonance
      • The repetition of vowels to create effect: What is its effect?
      • Is writing poetry as risky as being an acrobat?
    • . Recognized as one of the most influential and important poets of the Beat movement, Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers, New York on March 24, 1919. Shortly after his birth, Ferlinghetti's mother was committed to an asylum for the insane and the young boy was sent to France to be raised by a female relative. It wasn't until his return to America, at the age of five, that this future poet learned to speak English. Ferlinghetti also began writing poetry during his years at boarding school in the late 1920's.
    • The term "the beat generation" was first used by John Clellon Holmes in a 1952 article, This Is The Beat Generation , about the young people of his time for the New York Times Magazine. Recalling a conversation with Jack Kerouac in 1948, Holmes had asked Kerouac to think of a way to describe the unique qualities of his generation; Kerouac came up with the term 'Beat Generation' on the spot. The term "beat" bears connotations of down-beat, worn out, down-and-out, drop-out and beatitude.
    • The beat poets and writers developed their own slang and highly idiosyncratic style. Their convictions and attitudes were unconventional, provocative, anti-intellectual, anti-hierarchical and anti-middle-class. They were influenced by jazz, by Zen Buddhism and by American Indian and Mexican Peyote cults, and their Bohemian lifestyle was popularly associated with drugs, 'free' sex, drink and permissive living in general. It was in some respects anarchic and provoked considerable hostility.