Through word choice, sentence structure, and alliteration Shelley shows that wind brings both good and evil.
The speaker uses his vivid imagery in the poem to paint a picture in ones mind.
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I made up my mind to move to New York in the fall of 1977. I drove there in my old Plymouth, with my cat, my books pared down to the bare essentials, and two hundred dollars. The Fleischmanns, whose grown children had moved out, were still in parental mode, and they befriended me readily. I spent many a cocktail hour in their den, drinking their Heineken and listening to Peter’s stories. Peter drank Scotch-and-water, chain-smoked, and swallowed Maalox by the handful. He told war stories (he was in the Battle of the Bulge) and stories about Yale and about his father, Raoul (the family came from Austria), and croquet games with Harpo Marx making an impossible shot by sawing up a tire and wrapping it around a tree trunk.
Ok, not an ode, per se: this isn’t exactly a lyrical stanza, but it does celebrate one of the things that sparked my love of photography and of things gritty, “real,” and beautiful in their imperfection and decay. Buenos Aires is the perfect place for such inspiration, and its murals beg to be photographed.
The comma as we know it was invented by Aldo Manuzio, a printer working in Venice, circa 1500. It was intended to prevent confusion by separating things. In the Greek, komma means “something cut off,” a segment. (Aldo was printing Greek classics during the High Renaissance. The comma was a Renaissance invention.) As the comma proliferated, it started generating confusion. Basically, there are two schools of thought: One plays by ear, using the comma to mark a pause, like dynamics in music; if you were reading aloud, the comma would suggest when to take a breath. The other uses punctuation to clarify the meaning of a sentence by illuminating its underlying structure. Each school believes that the other gets carried away. It can be tense and kind of silly, like the argument among theologians about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. How many commas can fit into a sentence by Herman Melville? Or, closer to home, into a sentence from The New Yorker?
Having been teased in the Times about New Yorker commas, I took a good, hard look at the magazine’s policy, and I persuaded myself that in fact these commas were not indiscriminate. They marked off segments of the sentence that were not germane to the meaning. The point of the sentence Yagoda had chosen for mild ridicule, as I pointed out in an online response, is that Atwater expressed regret before he died. What he died of and when he died of it are both extra details that the author, Jane Mayer, provides only to satisfy the reader’s curiosity. They aren’t essential to the meaning of the sentence. They are nonrestrictive.
“[Woiwode] continues to deepen his penetration into what it means to be human and finite, to inhabit a body and yearn for connection beyond its physical, temporal limits, to achieve and maintain faith in something beyond that body.” —New York Times
LARRY WOIWODE is the poet laureate of North Dakota. His fiction has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and many other publications. His first novel, What I’m Going To Do, I Think, received the William Faulkner Foundation Award; his second, Beyond the Bedroom Wall, was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
In the summer of 2013, in New Haven, where I had gone for the wedding of a friend, I picked up a copy of “Light Years,” by James Salter. I started it in an old hotel, the Duncan, feeling slightly sad that I had never gotten to go to Yale.
As Kirkus rightly said of Woiwode’s previous memoir, A Step from Death is also a work of “purest sense and sensitivity,” rife with scarred beauty, naked triumphs, and vivid storytelling.
In this deeply affecting new memoir, Larry Woiwode addresses his son as heir to his emotional interior. With beautiful language and a poet’s sensibility, Woiwode begins his story by relating a near-death experience with a malfunctioning hay baler—the kind of mistake that can kill a novice farmer. This episode launches a delicately woven series of memories, from snippets of Woiwode’s days in New York as a young writer working with the late great William Maxwell, to his days as a young father, husband, and teacher trying to scrape enough together to buy a ranch in western North Dakota, and finally to the prospect of an empty nest and the step from death that he finds rapidly approaching.
Some would scoff at these explanations, but I am grateful for them, even if Salter does have some untoward ideas about what you can do with commas and imputes to them a power that verges on magic. The writer is not always the best judge of his own effects, but at least he’s thinking about them. The comma does not fix everything. Sometimes it gets in the way. Salter ended his letter with a recommendation for further reading: “The commas are better in ‘A Sport and a Pastime.’ ”
"[Woiwode] continues to deepen his penetration into what it means to be human and finite, to inhabit a body and yearn for connection beyond its physical, temporal limits, to achieve and maintain faith in something beyond that body." —New York Times