Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry: Explained, LIBERATED CHARACTERS' BALL, by LOUIS SIMPSON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

LIBERATED CHARACTERS' BALL, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography


"Liberated Characters' Ball" is a poem by Louis Simpson first published in his collection "There You Are; Poems" in 1995.


The poem "Liberated Characters' Ball" describes a party where various characters from history and literature come together. These characters include "Lancelot, despondent but benign," "Ophelia, who had lost her mind," and "Raskolnikov, who was rather shy." The poem describes their interactions and conversations as they dance and socialize together.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: Free verse
  • Imagery: The poem creates vivid images of the characters and their movements and interactions at the party.
  • Tone: The tone of the poem is whimsical and playful, with a touch of melancholy as the characters are all described as being somewhat lost or troubled in their own ways.


"Liberated Characters' Ball" is a whimsical and imaginative poem that brings together characters from history and literature in a playful party setting. The poem creates vivid images and a sense of playful nostalgia as it describes these characters interacting with one another.

Poem Snippet:


"Lancelot, despondent but benign,

offered a lady his arm,

while Ophelia, who had lost her mind,

twirled with a leatherneck from Guam."


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