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"Beware: Do Not Read This Poem" Poem Analysis

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Marilee Sappingfield

on 5 April 2013

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Transcript of "Beware: Do Not Read This Poem" Poem Analysis

Theme and connections Ishmael Reed About the poem By Ishmael Reed Beware: Do Not Read This Poem Full name: Ishmael Scott Reed Reed is known for his satirical works challenging American political culture, and highlighting political and cultural oppression.

Reed was born on February 22, 1938 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. However, he grew up in Buffalo New York, where he later attended the University of Buffalo, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1995. Reed taught for 35 years at the University of California and is now retired with his wife Carla Blank Reed is now 75 years old and has published many novels and poems, including, "The Freelance Pallbearers", "Mumbo Jumbo" and "Flight to Canada" This poem was written in 1969, and in the postmodern era. The most striking thing about the poem is its nontraditional spelling and punctuation, a trait in many of Reed’s early poems. In an interview, Reed explained, “Well, I was living in New York when my early poems were written, and the thing then was to be experimental. We thought that using slashes and ‘wd’ instead of ‘would’ was experimental writing.” The randomly placed punctuation is unexpected and unfamiliar, and contributes to the unease created by the poem. The spaces scattered throughout the poem also show the idea of the disappearances it talks about. The poem is also seen as a parody of horror films that were raising in popularity at the time it was written. The Poem http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/poetry/beware.html In a Nutshell
In a nutshell, this poem starts out about a woman who is so vain she surrounds herself in a house full of mirrors, and when villagers come into her house she disappears into the mirrors. However, the subject abruptly changes after the third stanza. The subject then is the poem itself, and the poem is devouring the reader.
At first, the poem warns you away, warns you that "the hunger of this poem is legendary" yet later in the poem the poem tells you to stop resisting, basically telling you that it is too late.
Poetic devices and rhyme scheme There is no rhyme scheme to this poem, it was written in free verse.

The poetic devices used in this poem are:
Personification, Imagery, Onomatopoeia, and alliteration Throughout the poem, the writer shows the theme of isolation. This is shown with the old woman who surrounded herself with mirrors, slowly immersing herself in her own reflection and isolating herself from others when she vanished into the mirrors. She then took others into the mirror with her so that they also shared her isolated fate. The theme of isolation is also shown in the part of the poem where you are being "eaten" by the poem. It shows the theme of isolation the same way the woman with the mirrors did, you are slowly being immersed into the poem and then isolated.
We can connect to this poem any time we immerse ourselves in something we enjoy and isolate ourselves from others, whether that thing is music, books, the internet, or even a poem.
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