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Poem Presentation

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by

Sarah Graves

on 17 March 2014

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Transcript of Poem Presentation

A Guide to "Very Large Moth"

Very Large Moth
By Craig Arnold
(Written somewhere in between 1999 to 2008)
Poetic Devices
Those Used:
Simile
Personification
Imagery
Allegory
Irony
Poetic Devices (Cont.)
Those Used:
Contrast
Repetition
Poetic Form
Summary & Meanings
"Very Large Moth" tells the story of the speaker ("you") who wakes late at night to discover they have a visitor in their room - which could be in an apartment or a hotel. At first, the large insect is mistaken for a bat, but, after coming to the conclusion that it's a brown moth (not a black bat), the speaker debates upon what to do with it. It's so large that they come to the decision that something so big must hold a soul. Once done pondering more about that thought, the speaker catches the giant beast in a shopping bag and releases, commenting to an asmued doorman about it's size.
Quick Run-Through of Details
Speaker:
the speaker or reader themselves.
Point of View:
Second (you, your)
Subject:
The large moth and the speaker's feelings towards it
Theme
Altogether, the poem "Very Large Moth" has several universal messages.
History and Culture
Before continuing any further, let it be known that Craig Arnold must not have been a very public person. There's not much known about his life and what is known comes from the later stages of it.
Worth of a Title
The title "Very Large Moth" contributes to the poem by giving the subject: a large moth.
Author
Craig Arnold was a short-lived author. Born on November 16, 1967, he disappeared May 2, 2009 on a Japanese island researching volcanic activity and was presumed dead not eighteen days later.
Honors
The Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholarship,
The Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters,
The US-Japan Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship,
The Alfred Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University,
A Dobie Paisano Residency,
And a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship
Literal Meaning
"Your first thought when the light snaps on and the black wings
clatter about the kitchen is a bat

the clear part of  your mind considers rabies the other part
does not consider knows only to startle

and cower away from the slap of  its wings though it is soon clearly not a bat but a moth"
Figurative
"...how could you kill it where would you hide the body

a creature so solid must have room for a soul
and if  this is so why not in a creature

half  its size or half its size again and so on
down to the ants clearly it must be saved..."
Tone
Overall:
Ambivalent

Shift:
The tone of the poem stays rather the same. The speaker has mixed emotions, however, unsure of what to do.
Mood
Overall:
Chaotic and a bit disoriented

Shift:
The mood doesn't really change. It remains there disorganized and fast-paced.
Purpose
The purpose of this poem is very simple. Craig Arnold simple wants us to think before we act and cherish all life - no matter how big or small (but mostly big).

He also shows that no matter how mixed a person's feelings maybe about something, they always show - at least - a bit of compassion for the object of their disorganized emotions.
Examples of a Simile, Personifcation & Imagery
Simile:
"...its orange eyes sparkle

like televisions..."
Personification:
"throwing fitful shadows around the landing"
Imagery:
"its leg  joints are large enough to count"
Examples of Allegory & Irony
Allegory:
"a creature so solid must have room for a soul"

Irony:
"where would you hide the body"
Examples of Contrast
"the half-compassion and half-horror we feel for the creatures"

"we want not to hurt and prefer not to touch"
Example of Repetition
"half  its size or half its size again"
Rhyme Scheme
The poem lacks a rhyme scheme altogether. It's a broken stance in actuality.
Rhythm/Meter
All in all, the poem was deliberately made to not have a rhyme scheme and also broken meter to it. It's meant to be disorienting and disorganized to invoke the feelings and emotions Arnold wants into the speaker.
Message One
A moral lesson. It teaches the speaker that everything has a soul and, no matter how intimating, disgusting or odd the object may be, the subject shouldn't be harmed unless it shows intentions to harm you.
Message Two
This lesson isn't very clear, but it's very simple once understood. It shows that no matter the differing of thoughts and feelings, that most human's tend to take the route that will avoid conflict and harming lesser creatures.
Details, Details
Place of Origin:
Wyoming, United States of America
Lifestyle:
He mostly traveled
Facts:
Had a relationship with Rebecca Lindenberg - a poet
Was mourned by another poet, David Orr, too
Taught literature
His writing style differs a lot
Conditions & Experiences
He went to Yale University as well as the University of Utah
Was part of and performed with the band
Iris
Short Explanation
Being a band member as well as a highly educated individual proved to help Craig Arnold a very diverse poet - at least in his writing.
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
Arnold has made the poem broken up and disoriented in building to show the differing opinions and emotions about a creature that appeared just out of the blue.
Stanzas:
11
Lines:
22
Sources

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/there-will-be-no-more-poems-from-him/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
http://www.famousbirthdays.com/people/craig-arnold.html
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/craig-arnold
(Hold all questions until designated times)
Full transcript