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PURSUIT FROM UNDER, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

Title: "Pursuit from Under"

Author: James Dickey

Form: Free verse poem with irregular line lengths and no meter

Publication date: 1966

"Pursuit from Under" by James Dickey.published in 1966, is a poem that explores the theme of mortality and the struggle to survive in the face of danger. The poem is based on a childhood memory of the speaker's encounter with a rattlesnake while swimming in a creek.

Poetic Elements:

Imagery: Dickey's language is rich in sensory detail, with vivid images of the natural world and the speaker's struggle to survive. For example, he describes "the boiling black water," "the heat and light of the sun," and "the coil of the snake."

Diction: Dickey's word choices are simple and direct, conveying a sense of clarity and urgency in the poem's exploration of danger and mortality. Words like "fear," "death," and "survival" convey the poem's themes of struggle and survival.

Tone: The poem has a tense and urgent tone, as the speaker reflects on the danger and struggle of the encounter with the rattlesnake. The poem's imagery and language create a sense of fear and urgency in the face of mortal danger.

Figurative language: Dickey uses several metaphors and symbols throughout the poem. For example, the rattlesnake is described as a symbol of danger and mortality, while the creek and the surrounding natural world are described as both beautiful and treacherous.

Structure: Free verse poem that has no set meter or rhyme scheme, with irregular line lengths and no strict form. The lack of structure contributes to the poem's sense of spontaneity and immediacy, emphasizing the urgency and importance of the speaker's struggle to survive.

In summary, "Pursuit from Under" is a powerful reflection on the struggle for survival in the face of danger and mortality. The poem's rich imagery, simple language, and powerful metaphors make it a compelling exploration of the complexity and beauty of human experience.


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