October 10, 2010
“Constantly Risking Absurdity” describes the struggle within to find beauty and value in the process of writing poetry. Lawrence Ferlinghetti describes a poet’s struggle and strength in trying to find balance on a rope he stands on. Not only is he risking absurdity, but he is also risking death. The poem deals with trying to find meaning and his concerns of criticism and failure. Ferlinghetti doesn’t only depict an acrobat’s life but also portrays the life of a poet in the poem. The poet is trying to convey the message that life is meaningless without a purpose, worse than death. In order to put meaning to life we would have to take risks and challenge ourselves even if it means confronting failure. He uses poetic devices like structural meaning and figurative language to help emphasize the message behind the poem.
The meaning of “Constantly Risking Absurdity” can be interpreted through the structure created by the poet. The structure illuminates the significance of the ideas presented in the poem. Beginning with “constantly risking absurdity and death” (line 1-2) shows an importance of the structure. He puts absurdity before death indicating that he fears absurdity more than death. Lines 9-22 shifts back and forth. The shift in the sentence of the poem indicates that writing is a spontaneous process The structure is portrayed like an acrobat trying to balance on a rope back and forth. A similar structure is presented the same in lines 25-27 to line 6-8. The author is trying to achieve and climb to the beauty he has been searching for, which is at the top. But at the same he is risking his pride and reputation to find the meaning in beauty, what he strives for. Therefore the structure indicates that writing poetry is a balancing act with the poet always at risk of falling or failure.
Ferlinghetti uses figurative language like metaphors to add to the meaning of the poem. The poet compares...