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The Sacred

The Sacred


by Stephen Dunn

The Sacred Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Let's take a peek under the hood and see what makes "The Sacred" run, shall we? Although Dunn is paying special attention to the form of his poem, he's not writing in any kind of traditional form....


"Knock, knock." Who's there? "We don't really know." We don't really know… who? "Right—we don't really know who the speaker of this poem is." In fact, we're not sure if it's a he or a she, if i...


If we could text this poem, our conversation might look like this:Reader: Where r u, poem? Poem: Dude—in class, but totes going for a ride in my car later. Reader: Sweet! Enjoy the altar of your...

Sound Check

Just like the ideas and emotions in this poem are more complicated than what appears on the surface, the sound of this poem is more complicated than it appears. Dunn uses a lot of subtle sonic word...

What's Up With the Title?

What is "The Sacred," anyway? A talisman? A hood ornament? Dancing? Driving? Praying? Poem-ing? It's hard to pin something abstract down, but this poem does a pretty good job.Let's start with the C...

Calling Card

Dunn's poetry is straightforward, if not a little understated. What's that mean? Dunn's poems are always accessible, with simple language that addresses mundane, everyday experiences of middle-clas...


Although this poem is only 18 lines long, it dips and swerves and makes for an exciting drive from beginning to finish. Dunn uses everyday language and an everyday action (driving) to get at a deep...


He shoots; he scores. Stephen Dunn, in addition to being a poet, was also a pro basketball player. (Source.)Slogans on demand—Dunn also worked as an advertising copywriter. (Source.)When he first...

Steaminess Rating

We're going with G because driving a car with your music blaring just so you can be alone is straight up sacred, holy, unsexy and, as long as you have your license, totally wholesome.

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