Introduction & Overview of Bonnard's Garden

Rick Barot
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Bonnard's Garden Summary & Study Guide Description

Bonnard's Garden Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Rick Barot's poem “Bonnard's Garden,” like a Romantic painting, is filled with images of nature, such as flowers, vines, clouds, shrubs, birds, and deer. The meaning of the poem is obscure, and the language only hints at its subjects, as if the speaker is in a dreamlike trance—or, more accurately, as if the speaker were like the “sleepwalking girl” who wanders, unexpectedly, in and out of the poem. The work first appeared in the literary magazine Ploughshares in the Winter 2001-2002 issue and was then included in Barot's prize-winning first collection, The Darker Fall, published in 2002.

Like a majority of the other poems in Barot's collection, “Bonnard's Garden” is focused on a specific place. The place in this particular poem is described through beautiful imagery, depicting flora and fauna, mysterious intruders, and even a startling scream. In examining such places as gardens, street corners, and other outdoor scenes, Barot, as he has explicitly stated, better perceives himself. Although he often employs elements characteristic of Romantic poetry—such as the emphasis on nature and one's surroundings—and has stated that he is indeed drawn to poetry of the Romantic era, Barot refers to himself as a post-Romantic poet. His influences include William Wordsworth, the great eighteenth-century English Romantic poet; the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who also emphasizes setting; and the novelist Virginia Woolf, whom Barot admires most for her acuity, especially as found in her diaries. Indeed, in “Bonnard's Garden,” Barot has produced an exercise in the construction of poetic language.

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