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Poetry (by Moore)

Poetry (by Moore)

by Marianne Moore

Dissatisfaction Theme

As we discuss in the "Speaker" section, the speaker is most likely someone who knows and thinks a lot about poetry. This doesn't mean, though, that she embraces poetry wholeheartedly. She knows that poems can have their problems and that they are not always fun to read. The speaker poses the question: Is poetry worth all this trouble?

Questions About Dissatisfaction

  1. Where does the speaker's contempt for poetry come from? Does she indicate what, exactly, she dislikes about poetry?
  2. Why does the speaker transition from a more moderate "dislike" (line 1) for poetry to the more extreme "perfect contempt" (line 2)?
  3. Why do you think the speaker kept reading poetry, despite her "perfect contempt for it" (line 2)? Is there any indication that she might actually enjoy this feeling of contempt?

Chew on This

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

The tone of the poem indicates that the speaker actually takes great pleasure in disliking poetry.

The speaker probably never really disliked poetry; the poem's first line is a red herring.

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