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Introduction & Overview of Omen

This Study Guide consists of approximately 20 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Omen.
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Omen Summary & Study Guide Description

Omen 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 For Further Reading on Omen by Edward Hirsch.

Poet and critic Edward Hirsch began his career with an energetic collection of poems titled For the Sleepwalkers (1981). Since then, he has emerged as one of America's most prominent poets. It was with his second volume of poetry, Wild Gratitude (1986), that he began to delve into autobiographical themes and to reach the level of sophistication for which he is now known. The success of this second collection is in great part due to personal, direct, and moving poems such as "Omen," an elegy for Hirsch's friend Dennis Turner, who died in his late thirties. "Omen," which first appeared in The Missouri Review in 1985, comments on such themes as grief, childhood, and insomnia and uses the conventions of a contemporary elegy to describe the feelings of a man anticipating the death of his close friend.

One key aspect of "Omen" is its meditation on fate and God, anticipating Hirsch's later explorations in this area. The poet uses flashbacks to the speaker's childhood and imagery of the powerful and overbearing night sky in order to suggest the presence of a higher power that works in predetermined natural cycles. Hirsch's specific implications about fate and God are not necessarily clear, and the poem is also important simply as an exploration of the emotion and fear related to impending death. Interpreting these emotions based on the realm of experience from his childhood, the speaker comes to feel extremely close to his friend at the same time as he is preparing to never see him again.

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Poetry for Students
Omen from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.