James Merrill Writing Styles in Lost in Translation

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The intricate five-part structure of the poem reinforces the link between the puzzle and the boy/poet. The first part, stanzas 1-3, focusing on the wait for the puzzle, is arranged in verse paragraphs that often contain iambic pentameter lines, ten-syllable lines with metrical units of one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable. This section ends with the suggestion that all the parts of the poem come together to form an organic whole, much like the pieces of the puzzle: “The plot thickens / As all at once two pieces interlock.”

In the second section, stanza 4, Merrill shifts from blank verse (unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter) to a more poetic form, as the lines get shorter and more rhythmic. The time and place move to a scene in the future when the speaker witnessed a psychic's performance. The link between the first and second...

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This section contains 322 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Lost in Translation Study Guide
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