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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

THANKSGIVING IN TIME OF AIDS, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Thanksgiving in Time of AIDS" is a poem by David Baker, first published in his 1994 collection "After the Reunion." The poem explores the experience of living with AIDS and the challenges of celebrating holidays like Thanksgiving in the face of illness and loss.

Explanation:

The poem describes a Thanksgiving meal that the speaker and their loved ones did not eat. The plates sat there, untouched, and the people did not touch each other, with their hands in their laps. The poem suggests that the speaker and their loved ones are struggling with the impact of AIDS on their lives, and that holidays like Thanksgiving can be particularly difficult.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: The poem is written in free verse, with no set rhyme scheme or meter.
  • Theme: The poem explores the theme of living with AIDS and the challenges of celebrating holidays in the face of illness and loss.
  • Imagery: The poem uses vivid imagery, such as the plates sitting there, untouched, and the people not touching each other.
  • Tone: The tone of the poem is somber and reflective.
  • Sound: The poem makes use of repetition, with the phrase "the time we didn't eat" repeated throughout the poem.
  • Language: The language of the poem is straightforward and accessible, with a focus on concrete details.
  • Figurative language: The poem uses metaphor, with the Thanksgiving meal serving as a metaphor for the challenges of living with AIDS.
  • Structure: The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which consists of three lines.
  • Symbolism: The Thanksgiving meal serves as a symbolic representation of the challenges of celebrating holidays in the face of illness and loss.
  • Emotion: The poem conveys a sense of sadness and loss, as well as a longing for connection in the face of illness.

Conclusion:

"Thanksgiving in Time of AIDS" is a powerful meditation on the impact of AIDS on individuals and communities, particularly during holidays like Thanksgiving. Through the use of vivid imagery and metaphor, David Baker captures the sense of loss and longing that can accompany living with illness.

Poem Snippet:

"What I remember most is the time we didn't eat,

the way the plates sat there, useless, and how we didn't

touch each other, hands in our laps."

 


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