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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

THE DESERT DEPORTATION OF 1915, by                 Poet's Biography

"The Desert Deportation of 1915" is a poem by Norman Dubie, first published in 1996. The poem focuses on a historical event, the forced relocation of Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans from the United States to Mexico during the early 20th century.

Explanation:

The poem describes the forced relocation of Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans from the United States to Mexico, which was carried out by the U.S. government in 1915. The poem takes a dark turn as it describes the horrific conditions of the journey, with people being forced onto train cars and left without adequate food or water for the journey. The poem also touches on themes of identity and belonging, as the people on the train are forced to confront their displacement and uncertain future.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: Free verse
  • Imagery: Dubie uses vivid imagery to describe the conditions of the journey and the suffering of the people on the train.
  • Tone: The tone of the poem is dark and somber, reflecting the gravity of the historical event it describes.
  • Repetition: Dubie uses repetition to emphasize the horror and brutality of the forced deportation.

Conclusion:

"The Desert Deportation of 1915" is a powerful poem that brings attention to an often-overlooked moment in American history. Through its use of vivid imagery and somber tone, the poem emphasizes the suffering of the people affected by the forced relocation and invites readers to consider the ongoing legacy of displacement and injustice in our society.

Poem Snippet:

"But now they stand on the border

their teeth clicking, the babies crying,

all the horrors of the beginning."


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