Introduction & Overview of Lake

Rosanna Warren
This Study Guide consists of approximately 27 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Lake.
This section contains 407 words
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Lake Summary & Study Guide Description

Lake 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 Bibliography on Lake by Rosanna Warren.

Rosanna Warren's poem “Lake” appears in her collection Departure, published in 2003. As the title suggests, the overall theme of this collection is one of parting ways—whether through intended separation, a relationship breakup, a slow sinking into dementia, or death. Several poems in the book were inspired by the mental illness and eventual death of Warren's mother, and several others focus on the strains of marriage and the difficulties of remaining in love. Regardless of the subject, however, most of the poems, including “Lake,” are underlined with messages of farewell and exit.

“Lake” is a twenty-six-line, one-sentence work, heavily dependent on the use of water as a metaphor. A metaphor is a figure of speech that expresses an idea through the image of another object. That is, metaphors help explain thoughts or feelings by comparing them to something else, often something physical. In this poem, the speaker uses the touch and motion of water in a lake to describe the need for comfort in a time of sorrow. The water's gentle movement is like a caress to the person standing in it, but having to leave it and go back to the shore symbolizes the person's acknowledgment that temporary comfort must be abandoned in order to face the reality of sadness and loss.

“Lake” is a relatively brief but powerful poem whose plain language and clear imagery disguise the significance of its theme. It is at once simple and striking—a testament, perhaps, to Warren's ability to communicate a complex message with moving clarity.

A note about the line breaks in the poem: although some may consider the words “would be withdrawn” (in line 10) to be simply a continuation of line 9, which is too long to stretch across the allowed width of the page, the short phrases on the right margin of the rest of the poem appear to be significant enough to stand on their own. Their placement on the right side of the page is reason enough to consider them separately, but their content, too, merits a closer look. As such, this entry discusses “Lake” as a twenty-six-line poem rather than as an eighteen-line poem.

A copy of the poem is also available at the Slate online magazine website at, where it was posted a year before Departure was published. Note, however, that the line breaks appear differently on the website than they do in the published book.

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This section contains 407 words
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