Edward Brunner: On "The Room"

In "The Room" he admits that "I think this is all somewhere in myself" and goes on to describe a bird trapped in a room in the stillness before dawn: "the sounds of a small bird trying / From time to time to fly a few beats in the dark / You would say it was dying it is immortal." The note of defiance is a deliberate affirmation, a denial of what could be perceived as failure. Instead of negatively twisting experience that might be positive, as in "In Autumn," he affirms as positive an image that might seem negative. (Imagine "In Autumn" ending with such a strong statement as this: "Those are cities / Where I intend to live.") Merwin's acceptance that the room is within himself allows him to intervene at the end.

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Title Edward Brunner: On "The Room" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Cary Nelson, Ed Folsom Criticism Target W. S. Merwin
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 28 May 2020
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication W.S. Merwin: Essays on the Poetry
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