“Heartland” written by Linda Hogan has underlying messages a reader must carefully pay attention to in order to fully understand the poem. Hogan describes “City Poems” as her analysis of city life and how she appreciates it which can seem complex when reading her poem. She begins the poem describing how rare silence in the city can appear to people, constant traffic from vehicles and voices of people traveling the streets. Then she understands what the “city poems” other authors write about and how life in the city is constantly surrounded with common images related to city life such as yellow hard hats and beggars. I feel like Hogan feels a connection with city life and she has learned to appreciate it.
I think the author identifies “city poems” as poems about the chaos people endure in the city; that the city may not seem enjoyable to most. The chaos that the city brings can take a toll on a person and can leave them questioning their life. Lines seven to ten describe how people pray and “feel the heart beat in a handful of nothing” which I interpreted it as meaning that the city can drain people of whatever they have and leave them with nothing. When people have nothing to fall back on, faith holds a powerful connection to people who seek support to help put back the broken pieces of life and by praying, a higher power can bring an answer to their prayers.
However, Hogan seems to find the beauty and joy that the city brings and describes it in her poem, “Heartland”. I think that Hogan enjoys the city life with the detail in lines eleven to seventeen, where she describes construction workers, beggars, pigeons, and peoples’ regurgitation on metal. I interpreted the statement “human acids etching themselves into metal” as how many people travel to the city to become famous and make a name for themselves which the “human acid” being written onto the metal represents a person “writing there name in stone”.
In stanza three, line twenty, Hogan writes...
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