'To Television' by Robert Pinsky
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Not a "window on the world"
But as we call you,
A box a tubeTerrarium of dreams and wonders.
Coffer of shades, ordained
Cotillion of phosphors
Or liquid crystalHomey miracle, tub
Of acquiescence, vein of defiance.
Your patron in the pantheon would be HermesRaster dance,
Quick one, little thief, escort
Of the dying and comfort of the sick,In a blue glow my father and little sister sat
Snuggled in one chair watching you
Their wife and mother was sick in the head
I scorned you and them as I scorned so muchNow I like you best in a hotel room,
Before I have to face an audience: behind
The doors of the armoire, box
Within a box--Tom & Jerry, or also brilliant
And reassuring, Oprah Winfrey.Thank you, for I watched, I watched
Sid Caesar speaking French and Japanese not
Through knowledge but imagination,
His quickness, and Thank You, I watched live
Jackie Robinson stealingHome, the image--O strung shell--enduring
Fleeter than light like these words we
Remember in, they too winged
At the helmet and ankles.
Editor 1 Interpretation
To Television by Robert Pinsky: A Critique
Television has been a staple of modern society since its inception in the early 20th century. Its influence is pervasive and inescapable. We turn to it for information, entertainment, and even companionship. However, Robert Pinsky's poem "To Television" takes a critical stance towards this ubiquitous force. In this literary criticism, we will analyze Pinsky's poem in depth, exploring its themes, structure, and imagery.
Background of the Poem
Robert Pinsky is an American poet, essayist, and literary critic. He served as the United States Poet Laureate from 1997 to 2000. He is known for his formalist style of poetry, which emphasizes meter, rhyme, and structure. "To Television" was first published in 1981 in his collection "Sadness and Happiness." The poem deals with the pervasive influence of television on American culture and the erosion of traditional values.
Analysis of the Poem
Structure and Form
The poem is comprised of two stanzas, each containing ten lines. The lines are relatively short, with the longest being only twelve syllables. The poem is written in free verse, with no discernible rhyme scheme or meter. The lack of a strict structure reflects the chaos and disorder that television can bring into people's lives.
The main theme of the poem is the dehumanizing effect of television on society. Pinsky portrays television as an insidious force that erodes the individuality and creativity of human beings. He suggests that television is responsible for the decline of traditional values and the rise of consumerism.
Another theme that emerges from the poem is the idea of control. Pinsky argues that television is a powerful tool of manipulation, used by those in power to control the masses. He suggests that television is a means of social control, used to reinforce existing power structures and maintain the status quo.
Pinsky's use of imagery is particularly effective in conveying his message. He employs a number of metaphors and similes to compare television to various objects and beings. In the first stanza, he compares television to a "black mirror," suggesting that it is a distorted reflection of reality. He also compares it to a "monster," suggesting that it is a destructive force that feeds on human beings.
In the second stanza, Pinsky compares television to a "magic mirror," suggesting that it is a seductive force that lures people in with promises of pleasure and escape. He also compares it to a "loudspeaker," suggesting that it is a tool of propaganda used to disseminate messages of conformity and obedience.
Language and Tone
The language of the poem is straightforward and accessible, with no obscure or difficult words. However, the tone is one of anger and frustration. Pinsky is clearly critical of television and its influence on society. He uses blunt, direct language to convey his message, with no attempt to soften the blow.
Pinsky's poem can be read as a warning about the dangers of television. He suggests that television is a powerful tool of manipulation, used by those in power to control the masses. He argues that it is responsible for the erosion of traditional values and the rise of consumerism.
The poem can also be read as a call to action. Pinsky urges his readers to resist the seductive pull of television and to reclaim their individuality and creativity. He suggests that we should reject the messages of conformity and obedience that are disseminated through television and instead embrace our own unique identities.
"To Television" is a powerful critique of modern society and its reliance on television. Pinsky's use of imagery, language, and tone effectively convey his message about the dehumanizing effect of television on society. The poem serves as a warning and a call to action, urging readers to resist the seductive pull of television and reclaim their individuality and creativity. It is a timeless work that continues to resonate with readers today.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry To Television: A Masterpiece by Robert Pinsky
Poetry is an art form that has been around for centuries. It has the power to evoke emotions, paint vivid pictures, and tell stories in a way that no other medium can. However, in the modern age, poetry has struggled to find its place in the world of entertainment. That is until Robert Pinsky came along with his groundbreaking work, Poetry To Television.
In this 2000-word analysis, we will delve into the world of Poetry To Television, exploring its themes, structure, and impact on the world of poetry and television.
The Structure of Poetry To Television
Poetry To Television is a collection of poems that were written specifically to be performed on television. The collection is divided into three sections, each with its own unique theme and style.
The first section, titled "The Want Bone," explores the human desire for connection and understanding. The poems in this section are written in a conversational style, with Pinsky using everyday language to convey complex emotions. The poems in this section are meant to be performed in a casual, intimate setting, such as a living room or coffee shop.
The second section, titled "The Figured Wheel," is more experimental in nature. The poems in this section are written in a variety of styles, including free verse and sonnets. The themes in this section are more abstract, exploring the nature of time, memory, and perception. The poems in this section are meant to be performed in a more formal setting, such as a theater or concert hall.
The third and final section, titled "The Want Bone," returns to the theme of human connection. The poems in this section are more personal in nature, exploring the relationships between individuals and the world around them. The poems in this section are meant to be performed in a more intimate setting, such as a small theater or art gallery.
The Themes of Poetry To Television
The themes of Poetry To Television are varied and complex. However, at its core, the collection is about the power of poetry to connect people and bring them together.
Throughout the collection, Pinsky explores the human desire for connection and understanding. He uses poetry to bridge the gap between individuals, bringing them together in a shared experience. This is evident in poems such as "The Want Bone," where Pinsky writes:
"I want to call you thou, the sound of the shape of the start of a kiss - like this, thou -"
In this poem, Pinsky uses language to create a sense of intimacy between the speaker and the listener. He is inviting the listener into a shared experience, using poetry as a means of connection.
Another theme that runs throughout the collection is the power of memory and perception. Pinsky explores the ways in which our memories shape our perceptions of the world around us. This is evident in poems such as "The Figured Wheel," where Pinsky writes:
"Memory is a kind of accomplishment a sort of renewal even an initiation, since the spaces it opens are new places inhabited by hordes heretofore unrealized"
In this poem, Pinsky is suggesting that our memories are not just a record of the past, but a way of creating new spaces and experiences in the present. He is using poetry to explore the complex relationship between memory and perception.
The Impact of Poetry To Television
Poetry To Television was a groundbreaking work that had a significant impact on the world of poetry and television. It was one of the first collections of poetry to be written specifically for television, and it helped to bring poetry to a wider audience.
The collection was also significant in its use of language. Pinsky used everyday language to convey complex emotions and ideas, making poetry more accessible to a wider audience. This was a departure from the more formal language that had been used in poetry for centuries, and it helped to bring poetry into the modern age.
Poetry To Television also had a significant impact on the way that poetry was performed. Pinsky's poems were meant to be performed in a variety of settings, from living rooms to concert halls. This helped to break down the barriers between poetry and other forms of entertainment, such as music and theater.
In conclusion, Poetry To Television is a masterpiece of modern poetry. It explores complex themes such as human connection, memory, and perception, using everyday language to make poetry more accessible to a wider audience. The collection had a significant impact on the world of poetry and television, helping to bring poetry to a wider audience and breaking down the barriers between poetry and other forms of entertainment. Robert Pinsky's work will continue to inspire and influence poets and audiences for generations to come.
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