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Poetry on the Right-to-Life Issues of Abortion, Infanticide, and Euthanasia: Commentary from Scansion of the Poems Jeff Koloze, Ph.D. Clark State Community.

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Presentation on theme: "Poetry on the Right-to-Life Issues of Abortion, Infanticide, and Euthanasia: Commentary from Scansion of the Poems Jeff Koloze, Ph.D. Clark State Community."— Presentation transcript:

1 Poetry on the Right-to-Life Issues of Abortion, Infanticide, and Euthanasia: Commentary from Scansion of the Poems Jeff Koloze, Ph.D. Clark State Community College

2 Metrical feet iamb (iambic): - / (standard foot in English poetry) trochee (trochaic): / - (shows heaviness) anapest (anapestic): - - / (used for light and happy verse) dactyl (dactylic): / - - (used for serious and heavy verse) monosyllabic foot: / (used to stress words or syllables) spondee (spondaic): / / (used for emphatic stress) pyrrhic foot: - - (speeds the reading of the line)

3 For infanticide, I could have selected “The Cruel Mother” (anonymous Scottish ballad) “Mary Hamilton” (18th century Scottish ballad; see Symonds entry) Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point” (1848)

4 Madison Julius Cawein's "The Infanticide" (1909) -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ She took her babe, the child of shame and sin, -/ -/ - - -/ -/ And wrapped it warmly in her shawl and went -/ -/ -/ -/ - -/ From house to house for work. Propriety bent -/ -/ - - // -/ A look of wonder on her; raised a din -/ -/ // -/ -/ Of Christian outrage. None would take her in. /- -/ -/ -/ // All that she had was gone; had long been spent. /-- -/ - - -/ -/ Penniless and hungry by the road she leant, // -/ -- // -/ No friend to go to and no one of kin. -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ The babe at last began to cry for food. -/ -/ -/ // -/ Her breasts were dry; she had no milk to give.-- -/ // -/ // -/ She was so tired and cold.--What could she do?-- -/ /- -/ -/ -/...The next day in a pool within a wood -/ -/ // -/ -/ They found the babe.... 'Twas hard enough to live, -/ -/ -/ - - -/ She found, for one; impossible for two.

5 Madison Julius Cawein's "The Infanticide" (1909) -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -- -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ --/ -/ -/ -- // -/ -/ -/ // -/ -/ /- -/ -/ -/ // /-- -/ -- -/ -/ // -/ -- // -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ // -/ -/ // -/ // -/ -/ /- -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ // -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -- -/

6 For euthanasia, I could have selected Willis Gaylord Clark’s “Euthanasia” (1847) Frances Cornford's “The Watch” (1923) Linda Pastan's “Ethics” (1980) David R. Slavitt's “Titanic” (1983)

7 Dudley Randall's "To The Mercy Killers" (1973) -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ If ever mercy move you murder me, // -/ -/ -/ -/ I pray you, kindly killers, let me live. /- -/ -/ -/ -/ Never conspire with death to set me free, -/ -/ // -/ -/ but let me know such life as pain can give. /- /- /- / -/ -/ Even though I be a clot, an aching clench, -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ a stub, a stump, a butt, a scab, a knob, -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ a screaming pain, a putrefying stench, // -/ -/ -/ -/ still let me live, so long as life shall throb. /- /- // /- --/ Even though I turn such traitor to myself -/ -/ // -/ -/ as beg to die, do not accomplice me. /- /- // /-- // Even though I seem not human, a mute shelf -/ -/ -/ -/ - - of glucose, bottled blood, machinery -/ -/ -/ -/ /- / to swell the lungs and pump the heart ‑‑ even so, // // -/ /- // do not put out my life. Let me still glow.

8 Dudley Randall's "To The Mercy Killers" (1973) -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ // -/ -/ -/ -/ /- -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ // -/ -/ /- /- /- / -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ // -/ -/ -/ -/ /- /- // /- --/ -/ -/ // -/ -/ /- /- // /-- // -/ -/ -/ -/ -- -/ -/ -/ -/ /- / // // -/ /- //

9 For abortion, I could have selected Gwendolyn Brooks’ “the mother” (1945) Anne Sexton's “The Abortion” (1962) Ai's “Abortion” (1999)

10 Jan Beatty's "An Abortion Attempt by My Mother" (1995) /- /- /- -/ /- Rolling side to side in my warm mother, -/ - -/ /- /- // the juices of life pulsing through my veined skin, // -- // -/ wild juices of calves' tongues and loose /- // -/ // stretchy kid skin like young gray wrens. // /- /- - - /- // I drink unborn water in the Garfield back room --/ /- /- / in the dark while my mother cries. -/ - - // The prodding of wolves' teeth, // -/ -- /- eyes red and ailing, the shaking -/ /- // -/ -- of orange clay and cracked slate, the loosening, -/ - - /- - /- - // exposing the underground creatures to full sky, -/ /- /- - // // the greased worms are screaming, the dead moles stay dead. /-- /- This is the feeling.

11 Jan Beatty's "An Abortion Attempt by My Mother" (1995) /- /- /- -/ /- -/ --/ /- /- // // -- // -/ /- // -/ // // /- /- -- /- // --/ /- /- / -/ -- // // -/ -- /- -/ /- // -/ -- -/ -- /-- /-- // -/ /- /-- // // /-- /-

12 Works Cited Ai. "Abortion." Vice: New and Selected Poems. New York: W. W. Norton, Beatty, Jan. "An Abortion Attempt by My Mother." Mad River. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, Brooks, Gwendolyn. "The Mother." Literature for Composition: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 5th ed. Eds. Sylvan Barnet, Morton Berman, William Burto, William E. Cain, and Marcia Stubbs. New York: Longman, Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. "The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point." An Anthology of Interracial Literature: Black ‑ White Contacts in the Old World and the New. Ed. Werner Sollors. New York: New York UP, ‑ 7. Cawein, M. J. [Madison Julius]. "The Infanticide." New Poems. London: Grant Richards, Clark, Willis Gaylord. "Euthanasia." The Poetical Writings of the Late Willis Gaylord Clark. 2 nd complete ed. New York: J. S. Redfield, Cornford, Frances. "The Watch." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 6th ed. Eds. X. J. Kennedy, and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman, "The Cruel Mother." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 6th ed. Eds. X. J. Kennedy, and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman, Pastan, Linda. "Ethics." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 6th ed. Eds. X. J. Kennedy, and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman, Randall, Dudley. "To the Mercy Killers.“ After the Killing. Chicago: Third World P, Sexton, Anne. "The Abortion." All My Pretty Ones. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Slavitt, David R. "Titanic." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 6th ed. Eds. X. J. Kennedy, and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman, Symonds, Deborah A. Weep Not for Me: Women, Ballads, and Infanticide in Early Modern Scotland. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State UP, 1997.


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