A poet Linda Pastan Bio

Linda Pastan, a poet, is one of the brilliant poets whose works have been praised for their outstanding achievements. In fact, several of her writing techniques have been absorbed into the works of contemporary writers. Linda's lucidity of language, consistency of achievement, and the freshness of her metaphors in her writings have propelled her to new heights. She has been complimented as an artist, which she views to be her current domestic life. Her fully crafted lyric poems are usually about her life, home, and children, but they may also be about mortality, loss, the expected unexpectedness of life, and identity on a deeper level. The paper focuses on analyzing some of the famous poems written by Pastan with bias on the common theme that the poet communicated across her poems. Some of the poems that will be compared and contrasted include “A Rainy Country,” “I am Learning to Abandon the World,” “The Obligation to be Happy,” and “Why are your Poems so Dark.”

Pastan undeniably is not only a keen observer but also recognizes the realities in the daily life. In her poems, the coming of Cossacks is actually visible, can be excellently secluded from other minor issues, and in another moment life will transform forever (GALE 7). Yet she accurately balances the tension s with a comforting understanding and full acceptance that after all, the ordinary life is the savior. Still her genius work of her mastery technique, rooted in the ordinary is what makes her stand out as an acceptable poet with common readers of poetry as well as the devotees of the same. Of course, looking into the poet’s literacy works, it is ostensible that she is not one author whose readers will have to fiddle around with long phrases. Instead, her works are relevant, intriguing, and accessible. Most of her poems, if not all, contain lines that are flavored with bittersweet essence of immigrant. A Rainy River is one of the famous poems where Pastan conveyed her thoughts and feelings about matrimony to her readers. In as much as her poems portray her as a kind-hearted woman, a concise understanding of her works reveals that she is one of the fiercely independent women who have contributed a lot in the field of literature (GALE 13). Apart from being a poet, Pastan is a cynical, loving, playful, passionate mother and wife.

Unlike several other contemporary poets who cover contemporary issues openly, Pastan is one author who emphasizes more on the confounding topics showing vast issues. Some of the themes that the poet addresses widely throughout her poems include parenting, grief, and marriage. For instance, in “I Am Learning to Abandon the World,” the poet goes deeply into the concept of grief (GALE 21). The poem revolves around a woman who is verging suicide but every morning she wakes up, she sees a beautiful day awaiting her instead of dark forces. Apparently, at some point, Pastan must have got a connection to grief since her poem captivates what the motive of the woman was throughout the entire piece of writing.

“I am Learning to Abandon the World” is a literacy work, where Pastan emphasizes on the issue of grief. Reading through the poem, any keen reader would be quick to notice specific phrases that the poet used to capture the attention of her readers (GALE 23). She uses words that could make the readers believe that the persona in the poem has a suicidal mind and had contemplated suicide throughout her life. Firstly, just like the other poems of Pastan that touches on grief, the title of this poem speaks volumes about grief. Any reader will conceptualize the literal meaning of the title of this poem even before settling down to its figurative meaning. In lay language, if an individual talks about abandoning the world, would mean that one is thinking about living no more. Therefore, any reader would get a clue that the person referred to in the poem is at some point contemplating taking her life.

Other than the word “abandon,” which the poet uses in this poem, "I give my body up limb by limb...towards the heart" is a phrase within the poem that gives the Pastan’s readers an idea of the thoughts of this woman. As with the other poems that the poet has done regarding grief, this poem holds diverse tones right from its start until the end. Some of the most prominent tones in “I Am Learning to Abandon the World,” which are not new in Pastan’s poems, are apologetic, hollow, and heavy-hearted tones. Of course, the poet does not just use these above-mentioned tones for the sake of spicing or giving tone to her poems (GALE 25). Instead, she uses such tones to make the readers understand the mood, and where the person referred in the poem come from. The thoughtful and careful expression of words in “I Am Learning to Abandon the Word” reflects on how the poem have earlier in other works such as “Marriage” relayed her thoughts. Pastan also brings in the relevance of the poem by connecting the theme of the poem with the parallel hope that the woman in the poem is apparently seeing every morning when she wakes up.

Just like “I Am Learning to Abandon the World,” “The Obligation to be Happy” is another poem where Pastan explores people’s feelings in the world (PASTAN 6). Again, in this poem, the tittle tells it all. The author tries to make her readers understand that there are countless situations in their lives, when they will feel obliged to be happy. She draws the attention of the readers by making them fantasize the experience of working in a Country Club (PASTAN 6). Of course, this setting gives people the opportunity to taste the feeling of interacting with different people, some of whom would put a smile on your face and others who would annoy every time. Nevertheless, Pastan makes her readers believe that there are times when one’s happiness is self-attained. She believes that people have to make themselves happy regardless of the situations or the people around them. In the same way the woman in “I Am Learning to Abandon the World” could wake up to a beautiful morning every day, the poet encourages her readers in “The Obligation to be Happy” to stay happy even during their moments of frustration and anger.

Like in other circumstances of grief, Pastan brings in the context of the experience in the poem’s setting. She expresses her sadness on how the contemporary society has placed the burden of masking other people’s emotions purposely to fulfil their social etiquette. The comparison of happiness that the poet makes in “The Obligation to be Happy” stresses that happiness can be gilded in various circumstances (PASTAN 9). As a social advocate, the poet brings in the relevance of her poem by making her readers understand the value of their happiness. In a deeper understanding, she uses phrases that intrigue the essence of having money when there is nothing to do with the money. Like in her parallel works that touches on grief and happiness, “The Obligation to be Happy” is another poem that will always be relevant piece as far as the matters relating to matrimony are concerned (PASTAN 13). The poet believes that when people feel that it is their obligation to stay happy, then they will always assume that they are happy even when deep down their hearts they know they are not happy.

As a social poet, whose poems are renowned for conveying hidden thoughts, Pastan gives the readers an opportunity to get the confounding thoughts out of “Why Are Your Poems So Dark.” The poet stage that regardless of the person one is, darkness will always show in one’s life. Even though it might be hard to realize that there are some forces fighting in somebody’s life, it would be imperative to give oneself that benefit of doubt that there is darkness in their lives. Just in “I Am Learning to Abandon the World” where she used a beautiful morning as a symbol of hope, she depicts the presence of darkness in everybody’s life in “Why Are Your Poems So Dark” by contrasting between darkness and light throughout the poem. Besides, other than revolving on phrases with deeper meanings, Pastan is fond of asking rhetorical questions in most of her poems, and “Why Are Your Poems So Dark” is not an exception. Throughout her pieces of literary works, the poet wants the readers to get to the figurative meanings of her phrases and this she does by making the readers to think for themselves. From “A Rainy Country” to “Why Are Your Poems So Dark,” Pastan gives the readers the speaker’s points of view to enable them synthesize the deeper meaning of her poems. Some of the most common themes that the poems described in the paper talk about are well illustrated by the poet’s use of point of view (GALE 28). Be it “Why Are Your Poems So Dark, “”A Rainy Country,” “I Am Learning to Abandon the World,” or “The Obligation to be Happy,” the poet uses second person as point of view. The usage of the second point of view draws the readers into the poem.

Concisely, in as much as the author might be conveying different messages to various people through her literary works, it is imperative to add to the account that many, if not all of her poems revolve around social issues that affect the society. Despite being playful, Pastan demonstrates a lot of relevance in her works and in most occasions tries to engage the readers by making them feel part of the poems (PASTAN 19). Finally yet important, she creates a suitable mood to all her poems to relate to the subject or the theme of the poem. Without any doubt, the poet’s works can be recommended to any reader who yearns to read educative and entertaining poems.

Works Cited

GALE, CENGAGE L. E. A. R. N. I. N. G. Study Guide for Linda Pastan's "i Am Learning to Abandon the World.". DETROIT: GALE, CENGAGE LEARNING, n.d.. Print

PASTAN, LINDA. "The Obligation to Be Happy." Poetry. 169.2 (1996): 147. Print

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