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Proem

Proem

by Octavio Paz

Language and Communication Theme

"Proem" is about poetry, so its big-deal, major theme is Language and Communication. This is about how poems are written, what they have the power to do, and the words and sounds that they're made up of. (By the way, this kind of poetry-about-itself is called "metapoetry.") Just how to know that a poem is a poem, and just what a poem is capable of, are some of the major goals of this imaginative investigation. Sort of like CSI-Poetry!

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. What difficulties in communication does the poem bring up?
  2. How does the poem suggest that poetry might solve those difficulties? 
  3. How do the images used to describe language change the reader's idea of poetry?
  4. What is the effect of comparing language to plants and animals?

Chew on This

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

It's natural, baby. In "Proem," language is made out to be a living, breathing thing, and poetry is therefore a natural occurrence, not an artificial creation.

Let's break it down. Even though syllables contain no meaning (most of the time) in and of themselves, they are the basic building blocks for a poem.

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