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The Fish Criticism

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"The Fish" has been a popular poem ever since its publication. Biographer Charles Molesworth notes in his book Marianne Moore: A Literary Life that early responders to the poem such as Moore's good friend Winifred Ellerman (also known as Bryher) considered it an example of Moore's "otherworldliness." Molesworth writes,

Moore's poetry was increasingly to concern itself with . . . the struggles of perdurability. This subject is part of her interest in museums, in the forms of animal life, and in the intersections of nature and culture.

Critic Laurence Stapleton, writing in his book Marianne Moore: The Poet's Advance, makes a connection between the poem and Moore's interest in art. According to Stapleton, "The Fish" is notable "for intensity in the use of color." Stapleton, however, insists that it cannot be considered a "complex" poem. Bernard Engel locates the otherworldliness of the poem in the image of the cliff, which he...

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This section contains 256 words
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Buy The Fish Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Fish from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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