Ode to a Drum Essay

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Mark White is a writer and editor running an independent press in Seattle, Washington. In the following essay, White discusses Komunyakaa's use of blues and jazz in "Ode to the Drum" and offers an allegorical interpretation of the poem.

In "Ode to a Drum," Yusef Komunyakaa enters the mind of an African drum maker as he tacks the hide of a gazelle to a drum of wood and begins to make music. On a literal level, "Ode to a Drum" takes the form of a heartfelt monologue of an artisan voicing his concerns and problems to the spirit of a dead gazelle as he performs his craft. But a closer reading of the poem reveals that Komunyakaa has fused elements of traditional blues with the form of the ode to address nothing less than the profound political, historical, and spiritual significance of the drum to African and African...

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This section contains 1,898 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ode to a Drum Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Ode to a Drum from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.