Li-Young Lee Writing Styles in For a Citizen of These United States

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Lee is noted for his "plain talk" poetry, written in free verse without many poetic devices, such as alliteration or meter, and hardly any rhyme, if at all. Most of his poems could be written in prose and not lose their meaning or impact. The only poetic function that does tend to surface in his work is an occasional potent metaphor, often surprising, sometimes elegant in tone and image.

In "For a New Citizen of These United States," the first striking metaphor comes right up front, in the opening stanza. The comparison of a black moth to the "irregular postage stamp of death" is dark and beautiful at the same time. So, too, are the "cloud-shadow," "wing-shadow," and "fathershadow" images in the second stanza, along with the notion of windows "deepened . . . to submarine." Surrounding these metaphors, though, is plain language that simply conveys the poet's thought at...

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This section contains 271 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the For a Citizen of These United States Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
For a Citizen of These United States from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.