Prayer to the Masks Essay

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A widely published poet, fiction writer, and critic, Chris Semansky teaches literature and writing at Portland Community College. In this essay, Semansky argues that the locale of "Prayer to the Masks" is Senghor's Parisian flat, a lodging transformed through writing the poem.

Perhaps one of the first questions occurring to readers contemplating "Prayer to the Masks" by Leopold Sedar Senghor is where the poem occurs, more specifically, what is indicated by the sixth line's "this place." A possible answer is Senghor's apartment in Paris. This theory comes from "In Memoriam," the first poem in Senghor's first poetry collection, Shadow Songs (1945), the volume also containing "Prayer to the Masks." "In Memoriam" portrays the exiled black African Senghor anxiously considering venturing out of his Paris apartment on a Sunday that also happens to be All Saints Day, a doubly sacred occasion. The poet is in the process of summoning...

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This section contains 1,652 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Prayer to the Masks Study Guide
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