Introduction & Overview of And What If I Spoke of Despair

Ellen Bass
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And What If I Spoke of Despair Summary & Study Guide Description

And What If I Spoke of Despair 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 And What If I Spoke of Despair by Ellen Bass.

Ellen Bass's "And What If I Spoke of Despair" was first published in the Missouri Review in 2001, although it experienced a wider distribution with its 2002 publication in Bass's latest poetry collection, Mules of Love. Bass's poem discusses her despair over the actions of modern humans, including the destruction of the environment and genetic engineering, two factors that make her lose hope in the sanctity of humanity as a whole. In her poem, Bass cautions her readers to do their part to fight these issues. Bass wrote her poem at a time when environmentalism and genetic engineering were both hot topics in the media, often leading to polarized debates. Unlike most of Bass's nonfiction works, like The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (1988), this poem does not deal with the issue of child abuse. The poem does, however, address negative issues, like much of Bass's poetry and nonfiction. A current copy of the poem can be found in Mules of Love, which was published by BOA Editions, Ltd., as part of the American Poets Continuum Series, in 2002.

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Poetry for Students
And What If I Spoke of Despair from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.