Study Guide

Up-Hill Calling Card

By Christina Rossetti

Calling Card

Dialogic Form

Holla' back, Shmoopsters! It's time to talk about dialogic poetry. Officially, dialogic poetry is really just any poem that makes use of dialogue, or plays up the idea that a conversation between two people is going on within the poem. In "Up-Hill" this takes the form of a question-answer exchange, but dialogic form isn't limited to just Q&A—a poem can be addressed to someone who does (or doesn't) respond, describe a conversation, be a form of correspondence itself, or... well, you get the idea. It's a particularly effective format for Rossetti, since uncertainty is a big issue in a lot of her work. The Q&A form helps tease out answers and expose weak points in arguments, and it allows her the ability to argue two sides of the same issue.

Check out her poem "Amor Mundi" (written as a companion poem to "Up-Hill") for one example, or if you want a longer one, we recommend "Songs in a Cornfield".

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