I’m writing my first paper for my Modern Poetry class. Luckily I have experience working with poetry in college from my American Literature class [thank you, Dean Diedrick for making us write a paper about a poem] otherwise, paperwise, I would be totally in over my head in this 300 -level poetry class.
My first paper is on William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Song of Wandering Aengus”
Which I must say, is a deceptively simple poem. Boy catches fish. Fish turns into girl. Girl calls Boy. Boy runs after. Boy doesn’t catch girl. But he does have an extended anaphoric fantasy about what they will do when they do meet up again.
Of course it is more complicated. It’s Yeats. It is weird how this seeming love poem is actually very self-centered. It is about growing old and losing agency in your life. The boy doesn’t even get the girl. He just ponders on how long they will be together and how being together with her will extend his own life.
In this class, we’ve read thus far Frost, Yeats and Pound. It is so hard to imagine these poets all fall under the same heading of “Modernism.” Frost is like Romanticism plus Modernism, Yeats is really like Modernism plus self-absorption and deprecation. And then there’s Pound. Who is Modernism plus crazy.