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3. Utopian Promise   



11. Modernist Portraits

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
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Activities: Author Activities


Marianne Moore - Author Questions

Back Back to Marianne Moore Activities
  1. Comprehension: After reading "Poetry," consider what Moore says about why readers should care about poetry. What does she believe makes certain kinds of poetry important? What would she classify as "not poetry"?

  2. Comprehension: What is "In Distrust of Merits" about? According to Moore, how does war happen? What does she mean in the last stanza of the poem when she says that "There never was a war that was / not inward"?

  3. Context: How does Moore's poetic form communicate ideas differently than if, for instance, these poems were written as essays? What can "Nevertheless" or "In Distrust of Merits" achieve in poetic form that it could not attain as prose? How do the rhyme and rhythm of the poems influence your reading of them?

  4. Context: In "Poetry," Moore describes how some poetry becomes too far removed from the things that are truly important and useful. Consider some of the other modernist poems you have read (by Eliot or Pound, for example); what do you believe Moore (or the speaker in this poem) would think about poems that rely heavily on literary allusions?

  5. Exploration: Moore was a mentor to the poet Elizabeth Bishop, which Bishop acknowledges in her poem "Invitation to Miss Marianne Moore." Both poets are known for their animal poems, some of which are odes, poems that use the subject or occasion for the poem to investigate the potential power of the poet. Compare Bishop's "The Fish" to Moore's "To a Snail." What attracts the speaker of the poem to these animals? To what extent is the animal or the viewer of the animal like a poet? From what source does the power of the poet arise? What are the limitations of this power?



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