My Father's Song Essay

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Kelly is an instructor of creative writing and literature at Oakton Community College. In this essay, Kelly examines Ortiz's achievement in making readers recognize the father's "song" while avoiding references to music or words.

In "My Father's Song," poet Simon J. Ortiz accomplishes a very difficult task. The poem manages to render a nonverbal experience in printed words. This is something that poems usually try to do, but "My Father's Song" does so by pointing to the connection between experience and song while avoiding any direct reference to music. On the face of it, this is as hollow as using only colors to explain how language works, but Ortiz somehow succeeds. He leaves his readers feeling how they might after actually hearing a song that the speaker's father taught him, but this illusion is just the sign of his skill as a poet. Actually, the father's words are...

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This section contains 1,824 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the My Father's Song Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
My Father's Song from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.