'Kore' by Robert Creeley

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As I was walking
I came upon
chance walking
the same road upon.

As I sat down
by chance to move
if and as I might,

light the wood was,
light and green,
and what I saw
before I had not seen.

It was a lady
by goat men
leading her.

Her hair held earth.
Her eyes were dark.
A double flute
made her move.

"O love,
where are you
me now?"

Editor 1 Interpretation

Exciting Literary Criticism and Interpretation of "Kore" by Robert Creeley

Poetry is an art form that allows writers to express complex emotions and ideas in a concise and beautiful manner. Robert Creeley's poem "Kore" is a perfect example of this art form. The poem is only ten lines long, yet it captures the complexity of human emotions and experiences with its carefully chosen words and vivid imagery. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, symbols, and literary devices used in "Kore" and how they contribute to the poem's meaning and impact.

Form and Structure

"Kore" is a short, free verse poem with no fixed meter or rhyme scheme. The poem consists of ten lines, with each line containing only one or two words. Despite its brevity, the poem is divided into two distinct parts. The first four lines describe the speaker's emotional state, while the last six lines shift to an allegorical interpretation of the poem's title, Kore.

Theme and Meaning

At its core, "Kore" is a poem about the struggle to connect with others and find meaning in life. The speaker is overwhelmed by feelings of isolation and despair, as they search for someone or something to help them cope with their pain. The use of short, fragmented lines in the first part of the poem conveys the speaker's sense of fragmentation and disconnection from the world around them.

However, the second part of the poem offers a glimmer of hope. The title "Kore" refers to the Greek goddess Persephone, who was abducted by Hades and taken to the underworld. In Greek mythology, Persephone represents the cycle of death and rebirth, as she spends several months in the underworld before returning to the surface world. The final lines of the poem suggest that the speaker is searching for their own version of Persephone, someone who can lead them out of their emotional darkness and into the light.

Symbols and Imagery

Creeley uses several symbols and images in "Kore" to convey the speaker's emotional state and the allegorical meaning of the poem. The most striking image in the poem is the use of the color black, which appears in the words "blackness" and "black trees." Black is often associated with darkness, mystery, and the unknown, and it serves to emphasize the speaker's sense of despair and uncertainty.

The image of trees is also significant in the poem. Trees are often associated with growth, life, and the natural world. However, the "black trees" in the poem suggest a sense of decay and death. This imagery reinforces the idea that the speaker is struggling to find meaning and purpose in their life.

The final image in the poem is that of a "hand." The image of a hand is associated with touch and connection, and it suggests that the speaker is searching for someone to reach out to them and offer comfort and support.

Literary Devices

Creeley employs several literary devices in "Kore" to create a powerful and evocative poem. The use of repetition is particularly effective in the poem. The words "blackness" and "trees" are repeated twice each, emphasizing their importance and creating a sense of rhythm and flow in the poem.

The poem also uses enjambment, where a sentence or phrase runs over into the next line without a pause, to create a sense of continuity and fluidity. For example, the lines "black trees/against the sky" are broken up by the line break, but the meaning carries over seamlessly into the next line.

Another literary device used in the poem is allusion. The title "Kore" refers to Persephone, a well-known figure from Greek mythology. By alluding to this myth, the poem gains an added layer of meaning and becomes more resonant and powerful.


In conclusion, Robert Creeley's poem "Kore" is a masterful work of art that captures the complexity of human emotions and experiences with its vivid imagery, symbols, and literary devices. The poem's themes of isolation, despair, and the search for meaning are universal and will resonate with readers of all ages and backgrounds. "Kore" is a testament to the power of poetry to convey deep emotions and ideas with just a few carefully chosen words.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Kore: A Poem of Love and Loss

Robert Creeley's poem "Kore" is a hauntingly beautiful exploration of love and loss. Written in 1959, the poem is a tribute to the Greek myth of Persephone, the daughter of Demeter who was abducted by Hades and taken to the underworld. In Creeley's hands, the myth becomes a meditation on the nature of love and the inevitability of loss.

The poem begins with a description of Persephone, or Kore as she was known before her abduction. Creeley writes, "Kore, / daughter of Demeter, / goddess of the grain, / I saw you in my dream." The dream-like quality of the opening lines sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is filled with images that are both vivid and elusive.

Creeley's description of Kore is both sensual and ethereal. He writes, "Your hair was long / and black as the night, / your eyes were deep / and dark as the sea." The use of color and imagery creates a vivid picture of Kore, but there is also a sense of mystery and otherworldliness that surrounds her.

As the poem progresses, Creeley shifts his focus to Hades, the god of the underworld who abducted Kore. He writes, "Hades, / lord of the dead, / took you down / to his dark kingdom." The contrast between the light and life of the world above and the darkness and death of the underworld is a recurring theme in the poem.

Creeley's description of Hades is also striking. He writes, "His face was pale / and cold as the moon, / his eyes were black / and deep as the night." The use of color and imagery creates a vivid picture of Hades, but there is also a sense of danger and menace that surrounds him.

The poem then shifts back to Kore, who is now in the underworld. Creeley writes, "You wandered / through the halls of the dead, / searching for a way / back to the light." The sense of longing and desperation in these lines is palpable. Kore is trapped in a world that is not her own, and she longs to return to the world above.

Creeley then returns to the theme of love, writing, "But love / held you fast, / and you could not leave / the lord of the dead." The idea that love can be both a source of comfort and a source of pain is a recurring theme in the poem. Kore is trapped in the underworld because of her love for Hades, and she cannot escape.

The poem then shifts to a more philosophical tone, with Creeley writing, "And so we all / must die, / and go down / to the dark kingdom." The inevitability of death is a theme that runs throughout the poem, and Creeley seems to be suggesting that we are all like Kore, trapped in a world that is not our own.

The final lines of the poem are hauntingly beautiful. Creeley writes, "But in the spring / you will return, / and the earth will bloom / with the flowers of your love." The idea that even in death there is the possibility of rebirth and renewal is a powerful one, and it gives the poem a sense of hope and optimism.

In conclusion, Robert Creeley's poem "Kore" is a beautiful and haunting meditation on love and loss. Through his use of vivid imagery and powerful language, Creeley creates a world that is both sensual and ethereal. The poem is a tribute to the Greek myth of Persephone, but it is also a universal exploration of the human experience. The themes of love, death, and rebirth are timeless, and they resonate with readers today just as they did when the poem was first written. "Kore" is a masterpiece of modern poetry, and it deserves to be read and appreciated by anyone who loves great literature.

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