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Introduction & Overview of Song of Reasons by Robert Pinsky

This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Song of Reasons.
This section contains 282 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
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Song of Reasons Summary & Study Guide Description

Song of Reasons 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 Further Reading on Song of Reasons by Robert Pinsky.


Readers unfamiliar with Robert Pinsky's poetry may find his "Song of Reasons" a bit daunting because of its rambling prose, mixture of subjects, and historical allusions to remote people, places, and events. Yet this poem is very typical of Pinsky's style and themes and, more importantly, very typical of what has made him one of the most renowned poets of latter twentieth- and early twenty-first-century American poetry—among scholars and fellow poets, at least. That said, his work should still be considered accessible to anyone interested in pursuing it, and this poem is a good place to start. One first needs to understand that what it is about is more abstract than concrete and that the clue to its overall theme is in the title.

The poem is essentially about looking for the reasons that things are the way they are. Whether it is why an old song makes listeners both sad and happy, why an ancient Jewish noble family was allowed privileges by Christians at Notre Dame, or why Pinsky's own daughter finds such comfort in reading the daily newspaper's "Question Man" column, each of these seemingly unconnected events must have a reason for occurring, but perhaps not one that can be pinned down. The challenge in reading "Song of Reasons" is to determine if the poet's "song" really offers any "reasons," and, if so, what they are. This is a clever, somber, and provocative work all at once, with its odd parts held together by the development of one thing leading into another, making an apparent disjointed poem cohe- sive after all. "Song of Reasons" is included in Pinsky's The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996, published in 1996.

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This section contains 282 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Song of Reasons Study Guide
Song of Reasons from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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