Ars Poetica Form in Mary Oliver's Singapore

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  • Topic: Metaphor, The Elements, Element
  • Pages : 2 (749 words )
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  • Published : March 4, 2013
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4 March 2013
Equality of Man
In 1990, the poem “Singapore” by Mary Oliver was published in the House of light. Her poem was written in Ars Poetica form and explores the process of writing. Her poem contains these two elements by that she explains what a poem should have in it and how you can see beauty within these elements. By her stating what a poem should contain, she explains how you can see beauty in everyday objects and jobs. Throughout the entire poem, Mary Oliver displays not only these two elements of form, but also the elements of imagery, metaphor, and symbolism while maintaining the overall theme of equality.

While writing “Singapore”, Mary Oliver used the form Ars Poetica throughout the entire poem. Ars Poetica form is when an author writes a poem that explains what elements or ideas a poem should contain within the entire poem. Mary Oliver displays the use of this form when she writes “A poem should always have birds in it. Kingfishers, say, with their bold eyes and gaudy wings. Rivers are pleasant, and of course trees. A waterfall, or if that’s not possible, a fountain rising and falling. A person wants to stand in a happy place, in a poem” ( ). These are the key elements that Mary says that all poems should contain within them. They should have beautiful sites of nature that put people in a happy place or state of mind. These beautiful sites also mirror life because when you can see beauty in a job, you are less likely to judge others on what they are doing to make a living.

While maintaining the poems form, Marry continued to write about a woman custodian cleaning ashtrays in the bathroom. In her description of this woman, Marry uses the literary element of imagery. “In Singapore, in the airport, a darkness was ripped from my eyes. In the woman’s restroom, one compartment stood open. A woman knelt there, washing something in a white bowl” ( ). This description of what the woman is doing is imagery because it is giving us a very...
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