'Head, Heart' by Lydia Davis: A Poetry Explication

Good Essays
Topics: Emotion, Poetry
Elizabeth Barczewski

Andrea Spofford

English 1020

October 1, 2014

"Head, Heart" by Lydia Davis: A Poetry Explication

The narrative poem "Head, Heart" by Lydia Davis was published in 2007. Throughout the poem the reader finds several examples of figurative language, such as consonance and personification. The speaker is telling a story about a human being suffering from the loss of a loved one, and how their heart and head feels about it by using the title, speaker, situation, word choice, figurative language, and imagery to do so.

The poem's title sets the tone or style of the poem. As the reader reads the words Head, Heart it sets a sad, emotional feeling. The reader could also feel the feeling of confusion. Before even reading the poem, you already can feel how the poem will make you feel after you finish reading it. The title relates to the poem, because head and heart are actually repeated several times within it. A way the reader feels confusion is by lines five through eight:

Heart feels better then.

But the words of head do not remain long in the ears of the heart.

Heart is so new to this.

I want them back, says heart. (5-8)

It makes the reader feel how confused the heart is. The heart feels better and shows acceptance to the fact they loss someone one moment and then the next moment the heart feels sad and wants them to come back. The heart cannot make up how it really feels.

The poet wrote this in the private voice. The person that lost someone is the speaker, speaking to within themselves. The head and the heart are also speakers/characters. The head and the heart go back and forth with an inside conversation on how to feel because the human who has lost someone near and dear to them is making them feel these emotions. The person that lost someone is telling the reader what the conversation between head and heart is, making them a third speaker.

The specific situation in the poem is a story about a human being suffering from the loss of

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