Mary Oliver Writing Styles in Music Lessons

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"Music Lessons" is a free verse poem, that is a poem without rhyme (except the last two lines whose rhyming promotes finality) and without regular meter. But the poem does have a kind of 4/4 time—a common time signature in music—since it has four stanzas of four lines (quatrains). The poem makes occasional use of enjambment as in lines 6-7 and 7-8, but why? As Mary Oliver writes in A Poetry Handbook: (1994) "We leap with more energy over a ditch than over no ditch." But an additional reason is that Oliver's enjambed lines make "Music Lessons" consistent, since no line, except the last, ends in the full stop of a period. Such a technique keeps the reader moving, even over gaps (the ends of lines), somewhat like music, an art-form that does not allow the listener to speed or slow the pace. Or for that matter, like film...

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This section contains 591 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Music Lessons Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Music Lessons from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.