evocation

James F. Knapp: On "In a Station of the Metro"

"In a Station of the Metro" relies on just two images, both presented in a simple, direct way, plus the catalyst of one word which is not straightforward description: "apparition." Through the metaphoric suggestion of that word, Pound fuses the mundane image of "faces in the crowd," with an image possessing visual beauty and the rich connotations of countless poems about spring. And because "apparition" means what it does, he is able to convey the feeling of surprised discovery which such a vision in such a place must evoke.

From Ezra Pound. Copyright © 1979 by G.K. Hall and Co.

Jerald Ramsey: On "For A Coming Extinction"

"For a Coming Extinction," the latest in Merwin's pod of whale poems, all owing something to Jonah and job, and having to do with the terrible human implications of animal extinctions. But the tone of the poem is not so simple: as in other poems of its kind in the book, Merwin's spokesman employs a complex kind of sarcasm rather than the consistently self-incriminating irony of a conventional persona. The speaker's monumentally arrogant statement on behalf of the heedless despoilers of life shifts intermittently to direct evocation of the pity, outrage, and guilt that the prospect of the whale's extinction demands, and in this mood he defines the terrible burden under which the poetic imagination must labor in The Lice:

I write as though you could understand And I could say it One must always pretend something Among the dying

By Jerold Ramsey. From M.S. Merwin: Essay on the Poetry. Ed. Cary Nelson and Ed Folsome. Copyright © 1987 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.