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Starlight Essay

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Jonathan N. Barron

Jonathan N. Barron is associate professor of English at the University ofSouthern Mississippi. The author of numerous articles, he has edited several books of essays on poetry and is editor of The Robert FrostReview. In the following essay, Barron shows how "Starlight" explores the complex emotion that is happiness and, in so doing, risks being too sentimental and nostalgic. Barron judges the poem successful because of the way it uses the techniques of an early twentieth-century free-verse poetic movement called Imagism.

In her textbookPoems Poets Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology (1997), Helen Vendler, professor of poetry at Harvard, singles out one distinctive element common to the best poetry everywhere. She tells her readers that good poetry "manages to avoid cliché." What Vendler means is that good poetry is determined to combat both the language of cliché as well as the attitudes, sentiments, and...

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This section contains 4,629 words
(approx. 12 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Starlight Study Guide
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