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Keeping Things Whole

Keeping Things Whole


by Mark Strand

Keeping Things Whole Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

"Keeping Things Whole" breaks all kinds of traditional rules of poetry: no regular meter, no rhyme scheme, no traditional form. How can this thing even call itself a poem? Relax, everything is goin...


Who is our speaker? Sheesh, how would we know? This guy vanishes when he stands still. But in all seriousness, it's hard to say. He likes small words, short sentences, few adjectives, and no drama....


Although the setting is hardly described at all, it plays a major role in this poem. The poem opens "In a field" and that's all we get. No description of the field, no landscape descriptions, no an...

Sound Check

This poem sounds like someone coming out of a deep meditation and giving us a very vague yet thought-driven poem to chew on for a while. The heavy use of repetition gives the poem a rhythmic feel,...

What's Up With the Title?

The title is taken from line 17 of the poem. Our speaker really likes to get the most out of his words. Why use different ones, when the same old phrase will work as a title, right? He's like a che...

Calling Card

Mark Strand is known for his simple diction, surrealist imagery, and narrative techniques. In other words, he writes straightforward poems that tell a little story and often use surrealism."Keeping...


Although Mark Strand loves small words and short lines, "Keeping Things Whole" offers up pretty deep philosophical ideas about identity, wholeness, and fragmentation. It's a quick hike through this...


Like painter, like poet. Before writing poems, Mark Strand received his BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) from Yale. Luckily for us, he started writing poems, but here's a cool interview with an image of...

Steaminess Rating

No sex. Dude's invisible.

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