All It Takes Essay

Carl Phillips
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Kelly is an instructor of creative writing and literature at two colleges in Illinois. In this essay, he examines the implications of the poem's title.

Phillips's poem “All It Takes” does what good poetry generally aims to do, in that it raises provocative questions that it cannot pretend to answer. The poem does have a point to make, which is something that even a casual reader should be able to sense upon first encountering it, but it does not lay out its case in a direct, linear fashion. The poem makes readers take responsibility for piecing its various elements together: to decide, after thinking it through for a while, which combination of the elements might offer the most meaningful interpretation.

This method of engaging the reader's imagination, of making readers do a significant amount of the work in untangling the complex issues being explored, is what poetry...

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This section contains 1,711 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the All It Takes Study Guide
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