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Constantly Risking Absurdity

Constantly Risking Absurdity

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Perseverance Theme

In "Constantly Risking Absurdity," there's no turning back. If the poet does turn back, not only does he risk disappointing his audience, but he almost guarantees the very "absurdity and death" he's constantly risking. So he has to persevere, keep his balance on that figurative high wire, and do his very best to maintain his sight of Beauty. After all, it's all of "his own making" and there's no one else to depend on but himself and his skills.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. Why is it necessary for the poet to persevere? How are his responsibilities different from ours?
  2. What sorts of things must the poet-acrobat balance (in a figurative sense)?
  3. What are some things that may encourage the poet to persevere? What's his ultimate inspiration for doing so?
  4. What happens if the poet-acrobat fails?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

If those "eyebeams" from the audience were real, the poet would have a whole different perspective on persevering.

As a "super realist," the poet not only averts death but also perseveres in a superhuman way.

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