One Art

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Elizabeth Bishop is a very influential poet of our time. Her poem, ‘One Art,’ is a good model for chapter five’s topics. It contains excellent examples of sound units, words, ordering of language, and implication. Bishop based this poem off villanelle written in iambic pentameter, which has an ABA rhyme scheme that forms a couplet rhyme in the end quatrain. This poem is exemplary for expressing the sound units of words, and sentences. The sound units of the words are phonetically connected by the use of alliteration. Prominent examples of this lie in the use of the soft ‘L’s’, the hiss of the letter ‘S’, with the contrast of distinct T’s. The poem contains assonants of the sound ‘uh’ and ‘oo.’ These sound units ‘bind,’ (p.153), words of the sentence together. She phonetically collects the word ‘art’ with ‘hard’ three times throughout the poem. Also, she pairs ‘hard’ with ‘master’ in, my opinion, irony by saying it isn’t hard to master, but to master anything, hard work is required. The words Elizabeth picked are of importance to set a tone of the entire poem. She initially built the poem around the word ‘disaster.’ She wrote 16 drafts of this poem. It wasn’t until the last draft she added the word ‘intent,’ line 2, which begins the B rhyme in our ABA rhyme scheme. ‘One Art’s’ ordering of language and imagery are very intertwined and support one another throughout this piece. Villanelle’s are typically written with nineteen lines broken into five tercets ending in a quatrain. The first and third line of each tercet, commonly consist of two refrains, alternately repeating until the last stanza. Elizabeth chose to break away from tradition. She did this by having the first refrain, ‘The art of losing isn’t hard to master’, repeat itself in lines one, six, twelve, and eighteen. While, The second refrain, exact wording varies but is consistent with: ‘Their loss is no disaster,’ repeats itself in lines three, nine, fifteen, and nineteen. She chose...
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