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My Father’s Garden

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Bryan Pai

on 27 May 2014

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Transcript of My Father’s Garden

My Father’s Garden
Author's note

David Russell Wagoner

June 5, 1926 (age 87), Massillon, Ohio, United States
The Escape Artist, Sunday Town Music Project
Indiana University (1949), Pennsylvania State University
Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada
National Book Award for Poetry
Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets (1978~1999)
The speaker is a son of a melter, which we interpret to be a grown up version of the son.
The voice of the speaker changes throughout the course of the poem.
The son (as a boy) describes the place where his father works from a childhood point of view.
He seems to not be able to understand why his father had a fancy for collecting scrap metals from the scrapyard.

Speaker’s feelings
He was imaginative and generous, and cared for his children
He gave his children not only ingenious presents
in the end he failed to achieve anything of note and may have died a rather sad death.

Situation and Setting
There’s a double setting
I. Setting #1: Father’s Workplace
Holds intense forces waiting to break free – “…where white-hot steel boiled … in wait for his lance to pierce the fireclay and set loose demons and dragons” (Lines 1-4)
A Hellish place (‘demons’, ‘satanic’)
A place of both destruction and creation

Situation and Setting Cont’d
Setting # 2: The scrapyard/imaginary garden
Enchanting and “natural” (‘rockeries’, ‘grottoes’, ‘flowers’, etc)

Where products of the foundry would eventually end up

The Effect of Each Place On The Father
I. Father’s Workplace
Mentally incapacitating – “He tried to keep His brain from melting…but it melted.” (lines 13,14 and 19)

II. The Scrapyard
A kind of garden for him
Source of Treasure – (“…tin and sewer grills as if they were his prize vegetables.” lines 24, 25 )

by David Wagoner

The poet’s


for his father
Son/people/Readers think the junkyard

represents his life
His father regarded the junkyard as a beautiful and wondrous garden, a


from the

dehumanizing machinery of the man

Bryan Pai 01420645
Claire Chou 00111582
Kumi Yamaguchi 01270142
Mbuso Gama 00660375
Ricky Usher 00660136
Full transcript