Introduction & Overview of Practice

This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Practice.
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Practice Summary & Study Guide Description

Practice 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 Bibliography on Practice by Ellen Bryant Voigt.

“Practice” appears in Ellen Bryant Voigt's 2002 poetry collection Shadow of Heaven. The title Shadow of Heaven is derived from these lines of John Milton's Paradise Lost, quoted by David Baker in his review of Voigt's book: “What if Earth / Be but the shadow of Heaven, and things therein / Each to other like, more than on Earth is thought?” Critics have noted that, as Voigt's sixth volume of published poetry, this book reflects her maturation as a woman and as a poet while preserving the themes and stylistic tendencies that have marked her past work. The accomplishment of this collection was recognized in its designation as a National Book Award finalist.

“Practice” slowly unfolds an expression of deep emotional pain that ultimately reveals itself as grief. As the speaker considers the passage of time and its effect—or lack thereof—on heartache, she interjects a telling natural image. “Practice” is not a lengthy poem, but it is dense and challenging, inviting the reader to uncover its layers of meaning. This poem is a fitting example of Voigt's work, especially her mature work, because it offers her characteristic clear voice; use of themes and images from nature; emotional subject matter; and sensitive, honest expression. Because it introduces the idea of an afterlife, it relates to the title of the book, making it a suitable representative of the volume as a whole.

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This section contains 231 words
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