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In Love, His Grammar Grew

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Victoria Phelps

on 18 May 2014

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Transcript of In Love, His Grammar Grew

Reading the Poem
Lines 8-10
Lines 1-8
poem by Stephen Dunn
In Love, His Grammar Grew
"One said
, the other
was a doubter who loved the wind
and the mind that cleans up after it."
Lines 11-13
"In love, his grammar grew
rich with intensifiers, and adverbs fell
madly from the sky like pheasants
for the peasantry, and he, as sated
as they were, lolled under shade trees
until roused by moonlight
and the beautiful fraternal twins
. Oh that was when"
. Oh that was when
he knew he couldn't resist
a conjunction of any kind."
"For love
he wanted to break all the rules,
light a candle behind a sentence
named Sheila, always running on
and wishing to be stopped
by the hard button of a period."
Lines 14-19
"Sometimes, in desperation, he'd look
toward a mannequin or a window dresser
with a penchant for parsing."
Lines 20-22
"But mostly he wanted you, Sheila,
and the adjectives that could precede
and change you:
queen of all that is and might be
Lines 23-26
presentation by Nisha Patel, Yimeng Zhao, and Tori Phelps
VOICE - lyrical tone

IMAGERY - adverbs in free fall = "pheasants," "shade trees" in "moonlight," "beautiful fraternal twins"

FIGURES OF SPEECH- writing and grammar = love

SAYING AND SUGGESTING - "sated," "lolled," moon symbol

WORDS - "madly" is an adverb

RHYTHM - scan, incomplete foot

SOUND - alliteration with euphony and cacophony "grammar grew," assonance "i," consonance "t"

WORDS - conjunctions

SOUND- consonance "n" and euphony due to nasal "n" sound
FIGURES OF SPEECH - personification of words "and" and "but"

RHYTHM - end stops and run ons

SOUND - sharp double "c" in "accumulate" to stress "and" and consonance "d" to stress "but"

SAYING AND SUGGESTING - "mannequin" symbol, "window dresser," "penchant," "parsing"

IMAGERY - concrete "mannequin" and "window dresser"

WORDS - begins with conjunction, lots of commas

SAYING AND SUGGESTING - "bluesy," "fly-by-night," hope of "might be"

RHYTHM - loaded with end stops

SOUND - euphony

VOICE - irony; adjectives are not changing her

IMAGERY - lighting a candle, running

FIGURES of SPEECH- Sheila = run on sentence on which speaker accumulates expectations of love


WORDS: period juxtaposition

WORDS - abstract words become concrete

RHYTHM - cadence flows with musical qualities

VOICE - slight desperation
irony: running behind her and preceding her

IMAGERY - grammar imagery; words, punctuation

SOUND - no fixed rhyme scheme
double letter words: "grammar," "fell," "lolled," "trees," "moonlight," "accumulate," "all," "running," "stopped," "button," "mannequin," "dresser," "queen," and "all"

OPEN FORM - free verse, no set rhyme scheme or meter, uniform structure with the stanzas, "for love" connects the stanzas like a conjunction


SUBJECT - Love: speaker expresses his feelings for a girl named Sheila

PARAPHRASE - In the first stanza, the speaker describes his love by relating it metaphorically to his writing-as his writing grows more descriptive (due to the addition of adverbs, intensifiers, conjunctions, etc.,), it reflects his endless love like an eternal run-on sentence. In the second stanza, he mentions Sheila for the first time, further commenting on his love for her through the metaphor.

SPEAKER - unnamed narrator who uses universal "he" while also referring to himself

THEME - Love distracts from reality; "break all the rules,"
"for love," "mannequin," "window dresser"
Full transcript