Study Guide

Constantly Risking Absurdity Exploration

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti


"Constantly Risking Absurdity" is all an artistic journey for the poet-acrobat. And although that sounds noble and great, we also know it's dangerous and even a little ridiculous at times. This is not the kind of exploration that involves checking out the latest hotspot in your neighborhood or trying out a new beach resort. It's rather one that involves unpredictability, unimaginable Beauty, and yes, even death. Sound more enticing than an all-inclusive in Jamaica? Shmoop thinks so.

Questions About Exploration

  1. Find some words that have a connotation of exploration. How do they all fit together by the end of the poem?
  2. What are some possible dangers of this sort of exploration, besides "death?" Are the dangers worth it to the poet?
  3. If this particular exploration did not involve death, would it be any less enticing or rewarding? Why or why not?

Chew on This

This poem just goes to show: life's like a box of chocolates, with one or two being poisonous; but hey, for the chance of a lemon cream, we'll take it.

The poet-acrobat's example teaches us that it's much better to have climbed and fallen to one's death, than to never have climbed and taken a job instead as an insurance salesman.

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