Evaluated Poems

I chose to evaluate Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers. In this poem, Rich uses metaphors throughout. She uses these metaphors to express her theme which is, in my opinion, how women are oppressed by a patriarchal society. The speaker of the poem is the niece or nephew of the subject of the poem (Aunt Jennifer), and the audience is the general reader. Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers is a poem made up of three stanzas that are four lines each, making it twelve lines. I was able to recognize iambic pattern in many of the verses, but did notice that there was some irregularities so I am not sure as to whether it would really qualify as iambic or not. Towards the end of the poem, Adrienne uses personification and hyperbole when she projects human emotion onto the sewn tigers. Aunt Jennifer’s tigers is also a very sensory poem that uses a lot of Imagery, though I don’t’ think the poem itself would be consider imagery.

— Hannah


“My swirling wants.  Your frozen lips.
The grammar turned and attacked me.
Themes, written under duress.
Emptiness of the natations.

They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds.

I want you to see this before I leave:
the experience of repetition as death
the gailure of criticism to locate the pain
the poster in the bus that said:
my bleeding is under control.

A red plant in a cemetery of plastic wreaths.

A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor.
These images go unglossed: hair, glacier, flashlinght.
when I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time.
When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever.
I could say: those morntains have a meaning
but further than that I could not say.

To do something very common, in my own way.”

I chose to write about “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”. As Adrienne Rich was defending women’s rights and place in society, lesbianism and many more concerns, she wrote this poem to express how she felt as a woman in the 1960-1970’s. She urges the idea that women have written poems on themes that are “under duress” as she says. She points out that women don’t write about their experiences, how they feel and what they think. Her theme must have been about her want for women to become free in their thoughts, fearless in their writing. The speaker could be her as she expresses her ideas and values, while portraying herself as “I” and talks about “my swirling wants”. The audience could be women in general who are not expressing themselves or it could be directed towards men and their “language/grammar”. The poem is composed of six stanzas, the first one containing four lines, the third containing five lines and the fifth containing six lines. These are separated by one line stanzas as the second, fourth and sixth ones, for a total of eighteen lines. There is one rhyme at the end of her poem when she used “say” and “way” but other than that there appears to be none. She uses the metaphor “a red plant in a cemetery of plastic wreaths” in the middle of her poem, and we could see another one if we see the “wound” she is talking about as a mental wound. She also talks about metaphors in her poem. In the first stanza, I realized there was sibilance in the last two lines as she uses the words “duress” and “emptiness”.

Sara Illick


I chose to write about the poem ” Miracle Ice Cream” because of its name at first, but as i kept reading the poem I understood that behind that title and words were hiding something that I did not quite understand and I wanted to understand it. Adrienne Rich used a pentameter as the first two lines of each stanza. As i was doing analyzing this poem, I learned that this poem is not about a child going to a ice cream truck so she can taste the rich, smooth ice cream, but it is about the memory an adult is having of the joy of being a kid. On line 4 she also states that this happiness is felt with one piece of your heart, which means that it is not the only thing concerning the adult.( I will explain it more further on the text.) The author is giving the viewpoint of another person about those joyful days has a little child. Following this thinking find on this part of the poem “Miracle’s truck comes down the little avenue, Scott Joplin ragtime strewn behind it like pearls, and, yes, you can feel happy with one piece of your heart.”

you can find in the second and third line “a woman’s breasts swinging lightly as she bends.Early now the pearl of dusk dissolves.”, the memory is gone (but still stays in her head) and that woman now has to take care of the now, the daily life she has in the present. the following lines ” Late, you sit weighing the evening news, fast-food miracles, ghostly revolutions,the rest of your heart.” we can now understand that her heart is sometimes somewhere else, but it still has to come back the daily life. I mean that with all her heart she tries to have happiness with finding happiness with her past and with her daily present life.

This poem may be a childhood memory of Adrienne Rich and the way she was seeing it.

Joe-Ann Lamarre


Storm Warnings is a poem of four stanzas made up of seven lines each. It is written in the free verse style in that it does not follow any structure in particular. Storms Warnings discusses the mood building up to an expected storm. It explores the idea that, although we may be able to predict when storms are coming, we still have no control over them due to the unpredictable nature of the weather. We can see this in the third stanza where she writes, “…between foreseeing and averting change lies all the mastery of elements which clocks and weatherglasses cannot alter”. In that line she is saying that, no matter what tools or instruments we might have to measure a storm, we will never be able to stop the storm from happening. This lends itself to the idea that humans are fairly helpless in this universe – we are at the mercy of a lot of things we have no control over. This is related to the nature of life itself, which, much like the weather, is in a constant state of change and uncertainty. The poem’s speaker is probably the poet itself, since she makes use of “I”, and talks about her own experiences. The poet uses many different literary devices throughout. For instance, imagery is used constantly with the author describing the things she sees and hears as the storm approaches. Each stanza of seven lines contains one rhyme or half rhyme (afternoon/zone, abroad/come on, time/rise, season/regions). Also, the poets uses the technique of alliteration in the opening of the poem, where she uses repeating ‘w’ sounds that allude to the wind of the storm (‘what winds are walking overhead, what zone of grey…’ and ‘…walk from window to closed window, watching’). The poet also makes use of both metaphor and personification: metaphor when she says ‘weather abroad and weather in the heart’, with ‘weather in the heart’ referring to human moods, and personification in the way she talks about the wind, saying ‘what winds are walking overhead’.

– Mara Brian

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