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An African Elegy Essay

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Semansky publishes widely in the field of twentieth-century culture and poetry. In the following essay, he discusses the difficulty of reading "An African Elegy" and suggests a strategy.

It's a fact; some poems are more difficult to read than others. Some are straightforward, using images from the contemporary world and requiring little if any knowledge of other poetry, history, myth, or philosophy from their readers. Others require all of this background knowledge and more. Poems such as T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land," for example, considered a modern masterpiece by many critics, contain a veritable encyclopedia of allusions to Western myth and intellectual history. In addition, its form, a collection of fragmented speeches and imagery, makes reading it a challenge. Robert Duncan's poem "An African Elegy," though much briefer and nowhere near as dense with allusions and history as "The Waste Land," is also a difficult poem to...

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This section contains 1,961 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the An African Elegy Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
An African Elegy from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.