Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry: Explained, STATEMENT, by STANLEY JASSPON KUNITZ

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

STATEMENT, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Statement" is a poem by Stanley Kunitz, first published in 1977. Kunitz was an American poet who served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2000-2001.


The poem is a statement of the poet's purpose and intent, both as an artist and as a human being. Kunitz reflects on the power of language and the importance of staying true to one's own voice and vision. The poem also touches on themes of identity, mortality, and the search for meaning in life.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: The poem is composed of three stanzas of varying lengths, with no consistent rhyme scheme.
  • Theme: The poem explores the themes of identity, mortality, and the power of language.
  • Imagery: The poem contains vivid images of the natural world, including references to the sea, the sun, and the moon.
  • Tone: The tone of the poem is contemplative and introspective, conveying a sense of the poet's inner struggle to define himself and his purpose.
  • Sound: The poem's use of repetition and internal rhyme creates a sense of rhythm and musicality.
  • Language: The language of the poem is simple and direct, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and self-expression.
  • Figurative language: The use of metaphor and personification in the poem helps to convey the poet's complex emotions and ideas.
  • Structure: The structure of the poem is loose and free-flowing, allowing for a sense of exploration and discovery.
  • Symbolism: The sea, sun, and moon are all symbols of the cyclical nature of life and the passage of time.


"Statement" is a powerful and introspective poem that reflects on the poet's identity, purpose, and legacy. Kunitz's use of vivid imagery, figurative language, and symbolism creates a sense of depth and complexity, conveying the poet's struggle to define himself and his place in the world. The poem's loose structure and musical language convey a sense of exploration and discovery, as the poet searches for meaning and clarity in his own words. 

Poem Snippet:

"In words I find myself, and lose myself,

Amid the sea, the sun, the moon,

Searching for a truth I cannot name,

Yet striving ever toward my own true tune."

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