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Smart and Final Iris Essay

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Poquette has a bachelor's degree in English and specializes in writing about various forms of literature. In the following essay, Poquette explores Tate's use of polarities in his poem.

James Tate's Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry is marked by both comedy and surrealism—a mixing of reality and fantasy that produces unusual scenes that are often found only in dreams. Says Stephen Gardner in his entry on Tate in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, "The poems themselves are rooted in landscapes that are often—if not generally— bizarre and surreal." In "Smart and Final Iris," Tate's use of comedy and surrealism reaches an apocalyptic level. Through the poem's use of pattern and word choice, Tate gives the reader a false sense of security, setting the reader up for the climactic end of the poem in which all sense of security is lost.

The poem follows an obvious pattern, employing polarities...

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This section contains 1,742 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Smart and Final Iris Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Smart and Final Iris from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.