Study Guide

Proem Art and Culture

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Art and Culture

At times poetry is the vertigo of bodies and the vertigo of joy and the vertigo of death; (1)

The opening line lets us know that the whole poem is going to be about poetry, with its repeated definitions of what the art form can be.

the descent of parachuting words onto the sands of the page; (4)

This image of poetic creation is playful and makes poetry seem like a random occurrence, like something that falls out of the sky.

the recollection of pronouns freshly cut in the garden of Epicurus, and the garden of Netzahualcoyotl; (9)

The references to Epicurus and Netzahualcoyotl show off just how deeply rooted in our culture poetry is (hint: it's ancient!).

the flute solo on the terrace of memory and the dance of flames in the cave of thought; (10)

Here poetry is related to another art form, music. Even though a flute solo doesn't have words, like a poem does, both are rooted in sound.

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