ENG202 - Panel Discussion, Compartments - April 2006 ENG202...

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April 2006 ENG202 Okada Panel Discussion – Compartments Before going into the poem I will give a little background information on the author, Robert Phillips. Phillips is the author or editor of 30 some volumes of poetry, fiction, criticism, and belles letters and publishes in numerous journals. A professor of English, he was director of the Creative Writing Program from 1991 to 1996. His honors include a 1996 Enron teaching Excellence Award, a Pushcart Prize, an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, a New York State Council on the Arts CAPS Grant in Poetry, MacDowell Colony and Yaddo Fellowships, a National Public Radio Syndicated Fiction Project Award, a Syracuse University Arents Pioneer Medal, and Texas Institute of Letters membership. In 1998 he was named a John and Rebecca Moore Scholar at the University of Houston. ( ) -Read Poem- This particular poem seems to have no rhyme scheme, but is in a haiku-like pattern being that the first stanza of each verse is five syllables long, the second is seven syllables long, and the third is also five syllables long. The content of the poem was interesting, as I realized, after reading it for the sixth time, that it was going backward in time. The poem starts off at sort of an end, asking “which shall be final? Pine box in a concrete vault, urn on a mantel?” suggesting that this person is dead and now needs a
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“compartment” to rest in. The next three lines talk about the death of this person saying “Last breath a rattle, stuffed in a black body bag, He’s zipped from head to toe.” The next verse speaks of him in a nursing home in an elderly state, in a bed like a crib because of the side(s) drawn to prevent him from falling out. The following verse he lets use know his wife has passed and that her teeth remain “underfoot in their bedroom.” Telling us to
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  • Spring '06
  • Okada
  • Poetry, Blake

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