Gerald Stern Writing Styles in One of the Smallest

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Lyric Poetry

Lyric poetry, the dominant form of the twentieth century, does not tell a story; it has a single narrator, not the poet, who speaks in first person. This “I” is a distinguishing feature of lyric poetry and is used to express a state of mind, present an argument or a justification, make an observation, or contemplate a problem. Readers of lyric poetry need to identify the type of person speaking and the listener to whom the narrator is speaking. Stern’s poems are based on his memories, but he does not reveal the source of those memories, nor does he regard the speaker as his personal mouthpiece. Rather, the speaker is a contemporary representative person, more singular than the Everyman of Whitman and other poets. In “One of the Smallest,” the “I” gives individuality to an experience that yet could...

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This section contains 776 words
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Buy the One of the Smallest Study Guide
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