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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

You've got this one in the bag, because by now you've probably noticed that everything in this poem is free. The structure is free, the form is free, the meter is free, heck even Beauty is free. Ev...

Speaker

Even though we don't hear the poem from the poet-acrobat's voice, we do get a speaker that seems to do a pretty good job of showing us his perspective. So essentially we have a third-person point o...

Setting

We've got a poet-acrobat, high wire, and Beauty about to do a "death-defying leap" into his waiting (hopefully strong) arms. But there aren't any lions, clowns, or other notable signs that suggest...

Sound Check

It's weird, it's groovy, it's exciting, and it's all in one breath (not really, but close enough). Remember that without any punctuation, we can assume that we're not stopping the show at any point...

What's Up With the Title?

The title is everything here. Why? Well, the poet's entire existence rests on it. He's "constantly risking absurdity" in everything he does. Say he goes to get a cup of coffee. Guess what: he's "co...

Calling Card

Experiment time! So we've got a poet that writes "street poetry" that sounds something like normal talk rather than a flowery sonnet. It's a pretty short poem, so give the following a shot:Read "Co...

Tough-o-Meter

Sure it's Ferlinghetti, so we don't have to worry so much about those five-dollar words and tricky philosophies. But since he's writing about Beauty, Truth, and Poetry, we know the poem's not going...

Trivia

Did you know that Ferlinghetti has his very own bookstore/publishing house/hangout spot in San Francisco? It's awesome. And you can trust Shmoop—we've been there countless times. After all, it's...

Steaminess Rating

You don't normally have a lot of sex going on during a circus, right? Okay, maybe nowadays there are exceptions to every standard (we're looking at you, Zumanity), but typically speaking an acrobat...

Allusions

We've got one big (small) one in "Constantly Risking Absurdity": Charlie Chaplin or "charleychaplin man" (lines 29-30). The comedian was a big influence on Ferlinghetti's work and he sometimes spor...
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