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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

"I Am" is a great example of iambic pentameter, the most common meter in English poetry. Even the poem's title sounds like iamb. Anyway, you can read all about it here, but we'll give you the basic...

Speaker

Our speaker is a very lonely man (we're assuming he's a man), there's no doubt about it. In the first two lines the speaker tells us that nobody cares about him, or even knows who is anymore, and t...

Setting

It's probably no surprise for a poem with a title like "I Am," but the setting here is pretty self-centered. The speaker says it best, in fact: "I am the self-consumer of my woes" (3). Clearly, thi...

Sound Check

As a whole, "I Am" sounds a lot like the musings of a sad and lonely old man, but an old man who knows how make a point without whining. Take the first lines of the first stanza for example: "what...

What's Up With the Title?

When we say "I Am," we're pretty much saying we're alive or we exist. That's the point of this title, although it is a little weird (we'll get to that in a sec). The speaker's friends no longer car...

Calling Card

Okay, okay. We know this is the poem's title, but we swear Clare says "I Am" more than everybody else. Take a peek at the first stanza and count 'em up; yep, four times. That's quite a bit. If you...

Tough-o-Meter

Okay, we'll admit it, there are parts of this poem that really don't make any sense. Shadows in love's frenzied stifled throes? Or was it stifled frenzied throes? It doesn't matter because it was b...

Trivia

John Clare had a twin sister, but she died shortly after birth. (Source.) John Clare escaped from High Beech asylum in 1841 (his first stint), and walked 80 miles back home. It took him four days!...

Steaminess Rating

Unfortunately, there is no sex in this poem. The speaker is busy reflecting on his life and sadness to even think about something like that, let alone describe it in this poem. Better luck next time.
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