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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

FARRAGUT NORTH, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Farragut North" is a poem by Stanley Plumly, first published in his 2001 collection "The Marriage in the Trees". It explores the history and symbolism of the Farragut North metro station in Washington, D.C.

Explanation:

The poem opens with the speaker describing the station as "not the center of anything," but rather a "memory of the city's early rail lines." The speaker reflects on the changes in the city's landscape and the people who have passed through the station over time. The poem touches on themes of urban decay, loneliness, and the passage of time.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: Free verse
  • Theme: Urban decay, memory, passage of time, isolation
  • Imagery: The description of the station and the people who have passed through it creates vivid images of a changing cityscape.
  • Tone: Reflective, nostalgic, melancholic
  • Sound: The poem uses enjambment and repetition to create a sense of movement and continuity.
  • Language: The language is straightforward and accessible, with occasional moments of heightened lyricism.
  • Structure: The poem is divided into two stanzas, with the second stanza reflecting on the speaker's personal experiences in the station.
  • Symbolism: The station symbolizes the transience of urban life and the passage of time.

Conclusion:

In "Farragut North," Plumly uses his poetic voice to reflect on the history and significance of a seemingly ordinary place. The poem speaks to the ephemeral nature of urban life and the ways in which places hold memories and meaning for those who pass through them. Through vivid imagery and careful attention to sound and structure, Plumly creates a moving meditation on the passage of time and the nature of memory.

Poem Snippet:

“From the depths of Farragut North,

all day long a sense of longing

comes through, the smell of iron

in the closed, descending air.”

*NOTE: Farragut North is a metro station located in downtown Washington D.C. It is named after Farragut Square, which in turn is named after Admiral David Farragut, a U.S. Navy admiral during the Civil War. The station is located at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and L Street, and serves the Red Line of the Washington Metro system.


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