William Stafford Writing Styles in At the Bomb Testing Site

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"At the Bomb Testing Site" is a three-stanza poem written in free verse: the poet does not adhere to any particular pattern of rhyme or meter, as in a sonnet or villanelle. However, the poet pays very careful attention to patterns of imagery, figures of speech, line breaks, and the sounds of words. Stafford is well known for his "plain-style," or fairly straightforward, "talky" language, devoid of elaborate wordplay. (It has been said that in poetry readings, his audience often couldn't tell where his introduction left off and his poem began.) Yet even in his apparently simple language lie patterns that affect a reader intuitively and give the writing the quality of a legend or parable.

"At the Bomb Testing Site" begins and ends in a description of the lizard, a technique that entices the reader to reenter the poem after reading it. Abstractions such as "waited for history...

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This section contains 341 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the At the Bomb Testing Site Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
At the Bomb Testing Site from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.