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How to Read a Poem
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Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay
Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...
Form and Meter
Rhymed Lines in Iambic PentameterMeterThe poem is two uneven stanzas, one that consists of sixteen lines and one of eight lines. It's written in a regular, measured pattern called iambic pentameter...
The speaker of this poem is a man looking back on his days of youth spent in the countryside. He's recalling a memory and how it made him feel and what it meant to him. Though the speaker has all t...
The setting of "Blackberry-Picking" is mostly outdoors, in a pretty rural place. The boys move from blackberry patch to blackberry patch, trekking through cornfields, briars, and hayfields. They st...
In the "Form and Meter" portion we talked a bit about how the rhythm of the poem is established by even iambic pentameter, and how the consistent rhyme scheme expertly tied everything together. But...
What's Up With the Title?
Don't panic, the hyphen in the title means nothing. Well it does let us know (if we didn't already) that our author is British (Irish, to be specific). Though we all speak the same language, there...
Mr. Nature. Sure, Heaney's not the first to do it (the natural world was huge for centuries before this Irishman came along), but for poets of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, he's certain...
(5) Tree Line The terrain is navigable, but don't forget your compass or you might end up a little lost. OK, so what's on the surface of "Blackberry-Picking" is completely straightforward, but chec...
Heaney's been hanging out with Derek Mahon and Michael Longley since they met at a writing workshop he ran in the '60s. These guys are still the front-runners of Irish poetry today. Who knew such t...
PG-13There's a lot about longing in this poem. Even though flesh is on the metaphorical level here, with a little imagination this poem can get steamy.
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