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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

When James Wright first started writing poetry, he often used conventional metrical systems, but in his later work, including "A Blessing," he switched to free verse, which lacks consistent pattern...

Speaker

Though all poets write from their own experience, it's important to distinguish the poet from the speaker in the poem. That said, the desire to seek out possible connections between a poet's person...

Setting

In one sense, there's no great mystery about the setting of "The Blessing." We know exactly where and when the action occurs: in a "pasture" along "the highway to Rochester, Minnesota" at "twilight...

Sound Check

Music was important to James Wright. "You can endure almost anything as long as you can sing about it," he said. The music in "A Blessing" is subtle but powerful, created in part through the rhythm...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of Wright's poem has strong religious connotations. As a verb, the word "blessing" means "the act of making something holy." As a noun, it most often refers to a religious act involving G...

Calling Card

James Wright is widely admired for his brilliant use of free verse. Early in his career, he relied on conventional rhyme schemes and metrical systems, but when he switched to free verse, he really...

Tough-o-Meter

"A Blessing" is set in Minnesota, and most of Minnesota consists of flat prairie. Not surprisingly, there are no mountains featured in the poem, and there are no huge obstacles to comprehending the...

Trivia

In 1972 James Wright won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 2004 his son, Franz Wright, was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. They are the first father and son ever to have both won this p...

Steaminess Rating

Approved for general audiences, this poem doesn't contain any racy references. But it does include sensual imagery ("delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist"). The poem also uses language and symb...

Allusions

Why are the ponies in "A Blessing" referred to specifically as "Indian ponies"? The term refers to a particular breed—a small hardy horse of North America that sometimes has black and white marki...
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