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Poetry (by Moore)
Poetry (by Moore)
by Marianne Moore
  • Symbolism, Imagery, Wordplay
  • Poem about Poetry
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Poem about Poetry

Symbol Analysis

This is a poem about poetry, which means it has the opportunity to comment on itself and on the poetic techniques it employs. You won't find much figurative language here, but you will find several wink wink/elbow nudge moments that offer some poetic play.

  • Line 1: The speaker says she dislikes poetry, but she expresses this dislike through a poem. This is a clear instance of irony; we know we shouldn't take the first line at face value.
  • Line 2: The speaker steps up her dislike to the level of "perfect contempt." But we know she can't totally hate poetry, so "perfect contempt" must be a hyperbole. For whatever reason, she must be exaggerating.
  • Line 3: Suddenly the speaker refers to poetry as a "place." Wait, this poem doesn't look like a typical place to us – we're hard-pressed even to come up with a setting. This metaphor makes us rethink the way we should envision or conceptualize poetry.