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Poem analysis (1)


Task

Analyse the poem "Cinema Poetry".

Cinema Poetry

Movies excite me
Whenever I see
Gunfire, dead people,
Growling, a glee.

And I love it when
Heroes are winning the fight
And the bad guy dies slowly
And, yes, in full dight.

And the blood never stops
Flowing over the screen
And the audience trembles
And can't hold a scream.

But I don't like people kissing.

  • Schwierigkeitsgrad:  2
  • Zeit:  90 Minuten

Solution

The poem “Cinema Poetry” is divided into three stanzas and one final line that gives the resolution and conveys the message of the poem. Each stanza consists of four lines. The rhyme scheme of the poem is a variation of an alternate rhyme; however only line two rhymes with line four, lines one and three do not rhyme. Each line has a modified dactylic metre of two three-syllable feet with the alternating unstressed and stressed syllables giving it a very regular rhythm.

The regularity of the rhythm fits in quite well with the message of the poem. Basically, the only real message of the three first stanzas appears to be that the narrator likes violent movies. Starting off with a statement, he goes on to list the reasons why movies excite him, underlining this with an alliteration of “gunfire” (l. 3), “Growling, and glee” (l. 4). Parallel to the first stanza, he opens the second stanza again with a line expressing what he especially loves, drawing on clichés such as winning heroes and a dying “bad guy”. These symbols seem at the same time to underline the simplicity and stupidity of these stereotypes that, however, - or exactly for this very reason - clearly enchant the narrator. He underlines this very affirmatively when he utters “And, yes” in line 8, thus expressing his personal feelings as though in direct discourse with the reader. Ipso facto, the opening word “And” is used very anaphorically throughout the poem (l. 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11), thus emphasising the monotony of the poem on the one side, and the violent films themselves on the other side. Stanza 3, like stanza 2, opens with an “And” with the graphic image of blood flowing – not only out of the body but “over the screen”. In a synecdoche of the “pars pro toto” principle, it is the whole audience that not only trembles, but also cannot refrain from screaming. If the poem stopped at this point, we would be left with the image of the narrator only liking violent films and getting pleasure out of these. We are probably expecting a positive resolution at this point, and yet we are given a negative one in the last line: “But I don’t like people kissing.” In this manner, the poem presents us with an unusual antithesis: The narrator likes violent films and does not like kissing. We can only speculate on the psychological reasons why he prefers violence and cannot stand love scenes, and it is this point that leads us to the unsatisfying conclusion that he likes violence so much and shuns romance - perhaps because has been disappointed in love at some point in his life. This is mirrored by the structure and language of the poem that is disappointingly repetitive and monotonous.   

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