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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

THIS IS NOT A SMALL VOICE, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

 

"This is Not a Small Voice" is a poem by Sonia Sanchez, an American poet, playwright, and activist. The poem is a powerful statement about the importance of speaking up against injustice, and a call to action for those who are marginalized or oppressed. The poem was first published in 1987 in her collection of poems titled "Homegirls and Handgrenades."

Explanation:

The poem begins with an evocative image of a "big woman" whose voice is "tall as a tree" and "deep as a river." This image suggests the power and strength of the voice that is being described, and sets the tone for the rest of the poem.

As the poem unfolds, Sanchez explores the idea that speaking out against injustice is a powerful act of resistance, and that those who are marginalized or oppressed must not be silenced. She uses poetic elements such as repetition, imagery, and metaphor to drive home her message, emphasizing the importance of using one's voice to demand justice and equality.

The poem also touches on themes of community and solidarity, suggesting that the act of speaking out can be a powerful tool for bringing people together and building a sense of shared purpose and identity.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: The poem is written in free verse, without a specific rhyme scheme or meter. This allows Sanchez to experiment with the structure of the poem and to convey a sense of urgency and immediacy.
  • Repetition: Sanchez uses repetition throughout the poem to emphasize the importance of speaking out against injustice and to create a sense of urgency and passion.
  • Imagery: Sanchez uses vivid and evocative imagery throughout the poem, drawing on natural images such as trees and rivers to suggest the power and strength of the voice that she is describing.
  • Metaphor: Sanchez employs metaphorical language to explore deeper themes of power, oppression, and resistance, comparing the voice of the marginalized to a river that cannot be dammed or controlled.
  • Tone: The tone of the poem is urgent and passionate, with a sense of determination and purpose in the face of injustice and oppression.

Summary:

"This is Not a Small Voice" is a powerful and inspiring poem that speaks to the importance of using one's voice to speak out against injustice and oppression. Through her use of poetic elements such as repetition, imagery, and metaphor, Sonia Sanchez emphasizes the power and strength of the voice of the marginalized, and suggests that speaking out is a powerful act of resistance and solidarity. The poem is a reminder of the importance of standing up for what is right and just in the world, and of the power of community and shared purpose in the struggle for justice and equality.

Poem Snippet:

 

"This is not a small voice

you hear this is a large

voice coming out of these cities.”

 


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