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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

STATUETTE: LATE MINOAN, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Statuette: Late Minoan" is a poem written by Cecil Day Lewis, a British poet and writer who was the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1968 until his death in 1972. The poem was first published in 1951 as part of his collection titled "The Whispering Roots and Other Poems."

Context:

The poem takes its inspiration from the Minoan civilization, which was a Bronze Age civilization that existed on the island of Crete from approximately 2600 BCE to 1100 BCE. The Minoans were known for their sophisticated art and architecture, as well as their trade networks and cultural influence on the surrounding areas.

Content:

The poem describes a statuette from the Late Minoan period, depicting a female figure in a flowing dress. The poet is struck by the beauty and grace of the figure, and imagines the life and culture of the people who created it. He wonders about the purpose of the figure and the emotions it may have been meant to evoke.

Form:

The poem is written in free verse, with no strict rhyme scheme or meter. It is divided into four stanzas of varying length. The first stanza sets the scene and introduces the statuette, while the second and third stanzas explore the poet's thoughts and imaginings about the figure. The final stanza concludes with a reflection on the enduring legacy of the Minoan civilization.

Poetic Elements:

The poem makes use of vivid imagery to bring the statuette to life, describing the flowing lines of the figure's dress and the delicacy of its features. The poet also uses figurative language to explore the emotional impact of the figure, such as when he describes its "intense reticence." Additionally, the poem makes use of allusion to connect the statuette to the broader cultural and historical context of the Minoan civilization.

Summary:

In terms of literary merit, "Statuette: Late Minoan" is a well-crafted poem that makes effective use of imagery, figurative language, and allusion to explore the beauty and cultural significance of the Minoan statuette. The poem's reflective tone invites the reader to consider the enduring legacy of ancient civilizations and the ways in which art can provide a window into the past. Overall, the poem's engagement with its historical and cultural context, combined with its poetic artistry, make it a compelling work of literature.

 

Poem Excerpt:

"And so with a strange desire

To share this silence, and aspire

Towards the intricate poise, the intense reticence

Of those who fashioned this sweet, terrible statuette."


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