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Analysis

The Waking Allusions & Cultural References

When poets refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literary and Philosophical References

Cameo Appearances

  • Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut. In the first chapter, Vonnegut says he has two books with him on his flight; one of them is a copy of Roethke’s Words for the Wind. He quotes the first lines maybe to introduce the novel’s theme of predestination: “So it goes.”
  • John Le Carré mentions the same lines in his 1989 novel The Russia House.
  • Mia Farrow must have identified pretty strongly with this poem. She titled her autobiography, What Falls Away.
  • Harold Simonson borrowed another line for the title of his collection of autobiographical essays, Going Where I Have To Go: Essays from Within.
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