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Introduction & Overview of Deep Woods

This Study Guide consists of approximately 26 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Deep Woods.
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Deep Woods Summary & Study Guide Description

Deep Woods Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on Deep Woods by Howard Nemerov.

"Deep Woods" first appeared in The Salt Garden, Howard Nemerov's third collection of poetry, published by Little, Brown and Company, in 1955. Most critics agree that this book presented a turning point in the poet's focus and style, that it showed his poetic talent as unified and less rigid than the previous academic and heavily metered verse. "Deep Woods" is the final poem in the collection, and it aptly concludes a book in which the overall theme centers on Nemerov's fascination with how the human mind works, especially in comparison to the natural world. In his book, simply titled Howard Nemerov, critic Peter Meinke states that "Deep Woods" expresses the poet's "feeling about the hugeness and permanence of nature as against small impermanent man." This is a good description of the poem's central idea, but it does not address the manner in which Nemerov makes his point, and the manner is key to understanding it.

"Deep Woods" is a journey through history—mankind's history, as portrayed in literature, mythology, and factual accounts. At least half of the poem relies on allusions to events, both real and legendary, that occurred hundreds and thousands of years ago. Nemerov refers to fairy tales and forests where imaginary creatures live, to French painters and ancient Egyptian gods, even to Walt Disney, all to describe the difference between human activities and the deep woods of a New England forest. Other "characters" that crop up in the poem are minotaurs and unicorns, Jesus Christ, Hannibal, Old Testament folk such as Joseph, Mordecai, and Haman, and the allegorical figures Chaos and Pandemonium from Milton's Paradise Lost . In essence, "Deep Woods" is a smorgasbord of human history, all played against the backdrop of a quiet, dominating giant—nature in the form of deep woods.

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This section contains 296 words
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Copyrights
Poetry for Students
Deep Woods from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.