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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

In a formal sense, we must first acknowledge that, while he was up to something boldly experimental and groundbreaking with "A River Merchant's Wife," Pound didn't really know squat about the meter...

Speaker

Upon first glance, the speaker seems to merely be a dedicated wife. However, if we look a little closer, we find the details and nuances of her personality. We discover that she's a sensitive perso...

Setting

We talk a lot about the setting in the "Detailed Summary" and the "Symbols" sections, so by all means check those out if you haven't already. For our purposes here, we'd just again underscore the i...

Sound Check

In terms of the strategy at work in crafting the sound of this poem, it's easier to talk about tone than it is to talk about specific techniques. If you really twisted our arm, we could point out t...

What's Up With the Title?

The title tells us who the speaker is ("The River Merchant's Wife") and what form the poem will take ("A Letter"). We're pretty clear about the first part, but this poem really isn't a letter, is i...

Calling Card

As we mentioned in the "In a Nutshell" section, Ezra Pound used the notes of his friend's dead husband as the foundation for a whole collection of poems. These notes were based on the studies of Ch...

Tough-o-Meter

"The River-Merchant's Wife" is a straightforward poem, especially as far as Pound is concerned. (Man, you should read some of his later stuff!) The allusions to different places aren't that importa...

Trivia

In addition to being influenced by Chinese poetry, Pound gained a lot from old Italian poetry. The difference was that Pound actually spoke and read perfect Italian while he barely knew a lick of a...

Steaminess Rating

This poem wants to be a sexy poem, but it just isn't going to happen. There's a lot of longing, but the shyness of the wife in the beginning means we don't get to hear any of the good stuff. The se...
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