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Constantly Risking Absurdity

Constantly Risking Absurdity

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Analysis: Calling Card

It's a Groove Thing

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 "Constantly Risking Absurdity" out loud to yourself (or an audience, even if it's Rufus the dog). Be sure to pay attention to the poem's lack of punctuation. 

  1. That doesn't mean you want to literally spit it all out in one breath, but try your best to keep the flow from one line to the next.
  2. Next, compare that reading to any other Renaissance sonnet. We've got plenty here at Shmoop so take your pick.
  3. Notice anything different?

So whether you went through with our nifty experiment or not, chances are you've noticed that Ferlinghetti sounds very different compared to the poets of many yesteryears. There's definitely something groovy and conversational about his work, and this is something you'll probably encounter with other Beats as well.

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