Ask Me

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Thesis: By giving us the reader a more in depth explanation of his work it allows us to understand the meaning within the poem itself, and the life lessons Stafford may have intended to reveal to the readers. I. Introduction

II. Understanding
A. William Stafford
B. Untraditional
1. His work
2. Hidden lessons
III. Break down
A. Title
B. Lines 1-3
1. Stafford’s meaning
2. Questions
IV. Living
A. Problems
B. Lines 4-7
1. Answering to life
2. Metaphors
V. Paraphrasing
A. Lines 11-13
1. Inner thought
2. Knowing

B. Final Words
VI. Conclusion

An Explication of William Stafford’s “Ask Me”
The poem “Ask Me” is not as it may seem the first time you read it, you have to read through it a second maybe even a third time in order to take notes about the true meaning that Stafford is trying to get across. William Stafford gives us a paraphrase of his own poem “Ask Me”, giving the reader a look into what the poem means to him. By giving us the reader a more in depth explanation of his work it allows us to understand the meaning within the poem itself and the life lessons Stafford may have intended to reveal to the readers. So now let’s take a look at it and see what his thoughts were.

To understand this poem we must first get an understanding of the poet himself. William Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas in 1914, and grew up during the Great Depression (Brehm). Due to the hardships of his childhood he began to work early on in life finding and doing odd jobs to help support his family, but within all the work and struggles Stafford managed to find time to have fun and explore nature. He developed a love for nature that was to sustain him in the years ahead (Brehm). This love is often reflecting within his work in which je has been highly honored for. Stafford has won awards in Literature for his poetry and many books during his lifetime. When once asked what made him start writing poetry, Stafford replied, “What made you stop?” This rather cagey answer reveals several of his most basic assumptions about poetry (Brehm).

William Stafford wrote his poem “Ask Me” in 1975, in which he himself later paraphrased in 1977. Stafford stated that he thinks his poem can be paraphrased (Stafford). Stafford’s poem is like no other of his work. “Ask Me” is about as close as Stafford comes in his best poems to a formal sonnet of fourteen lines” (Anderson). The first part of the fourteen lines are asked by the (I) or the person who is speaking, in which I believe Stafford is talking to the reader. The second half would usually answer the questions asked within the first half, but Stafford does not for (I) is the one asking the questions. At first the poem doesn’t seem to have any of the traditional flow and rhymes at the end of the lines, but Stafford does show internal rhyming within the lines. Stafford often gives objects in nature humanized characteristics and feeling to get his point and meaning across (Brehm). Stafford’s work is often filled with hidden meaning and life lessons in which he is trying to get across to the reader. Stafford is a poet who does not follow traditional formatting within is work. Stafford’s work is full of surprises for writer and reader alike; when Stafford starts a poem you can never be sure how it will end (Brehm).

Let’s take the time to break down and understand the meaning of Stafford’s poem, so that we can get the full meaning behind his intended work. The title of the poem is “Ask Me,” any reader may think “Ask Me what?” But the title speaks for itself as you read on. Stafford starts his poem off with many questions pointed towards the reader. But the question is are they being asked to us, or are we the reader supposed to ask them of ourselves? His poem at first is a little unclean on what is really being asked and to whom.

So let’s begin form the first line in which Stafford says “Some time when...
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