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Skunk Hour

Skunk Hour

by Robert Lowell

Analysis: Calling Card

The Zigzag

Lowell is known for including tons of stuff in his poems. They often seem to start out with a narrative style (telling a story), then a wrench gets thrown into the system – he starts off on something entirely different, interrupts himself, or makes bold statements seemingly out of nowhere. What you end up with are rich poems full of twists and turns, and that often give the reader an emotional shock. Look at this poem, for example – we start off talking about rich old ladies, move to L.L. Bean characters, then drop into the abyss of personal sadness, and finally end on skunks! If you find yourself scratching your head, don't worry –you've been zigzagged like the rest of us!

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