Poetry Response

Question 1 “Languages, just like people, are worlds within themselves. They have the incredible ability to provide us with a clearer, more profound and detailed perspective of a culture and its views on life, nature, and death.”

The power of particular words and phrases as well as the overall impact of the language used in poetry gives a poem the ability to express an individual’s cultural perspective which shapes their thinking and identity. In short, it implies that language plays a critical role in supporting the meaning of the poem and not only creates the overall effect. The effectiveness of language use in a poem to express the theme is determined by the powerfulness and relevance of the styles and the register. Since language is intrinsic to the cultural expressions that define an individual identity, then it is evident that culture contributes significantly to how one perceives things. Therefore, language is a channel of communication of beliefs, values, and customs depending on the context; hence it is helpful as a social tool. For instance, in the poem ‘This is where it begins’ the language of the persona, Bikol is used to shift emphasis to the importance of the poet’s culture since it is the origin of the story hence supports its meaning and the intended message.

Similarly, in the poem of “My Hakka Grandmother,” the poet describes the Hakka house while relating the architecture to the cultural background thus making it easy to understand the context and choice of words or phrases and style thus facilitating correct interpretation. It is worth noting that the language of a person expresses how their culture influences their thinking and views regarding life experiences, existence, and even death. Furthermore, it is clear from the two poems that the sense of identity of an individual is based on their cultural identity and the understanding is instilled from birth and gets informed by the attitudes and values prevalent in the surrounding community and at home.

The significance of language in poetry to draw the cultural perspective and meaning implies that identity tends to be more involved as well as fluid with time when individuals establish allegiances to separate groups in the society as a whole. For example, Bobis connects the readers to the origin of the story which happens to be from the Bikol ancestral history, which shows that the persona identifies with the culture and the introduction of the Mother learning Spanish still connects to the history of Bikol people of Philipines. The strong connection between the poet’s childhood memories and the present reality is further emphasized by choice of Spanish words used by the Mother storyteller. It, therefore, means that the languages the persona is exposed to have significance in her life regarding the experiences of the past and the contribution to the present way of thinking as well as the developed sense of identity. On the other hand, Chong describes how the Grandmother as a second persona explains to the poet the way of living in their community and despite speaking different languages the can bond through activities like braiding. The reason for the developed connection is not defined by their languages but by the fact that they have a common ancestry which is confirmed by the relation evident in the family tree. Besides, in the final stanza of the ‘My Hakka Grandmother’ when the poet asks where their bloodline begins, mentions that the persona shows interest in knowing their cultural heritage; and the response clearly explains the Hakka way of life that justifies the perceived lack of identity or belonging. Therefore, it is precisely indicated that when people stay together and work together as the two personas depict while braiding, they develop a sense of belonging and identity whether based on family, cultural heritage, religious, or place of birth.


Question 2 Analyse the ways poets shape the form and structure of their poems to present unique cultural perspectives.

It is essential to observe the form and structure of a poem; however once these concepts have been identified it is necessary to think of the way they connect to the effects and meanings of the poem. The form refers to the composition of the entire poem regarding the nature of the story being relayed; for instance, some poets adopt specific forms like narratives or sonnets although the majority have no identifiable form. In the case study poems, the poets have chosen specific, and they can be classified as narrative poems since they are built on stories told by several generations with symbols an language that connects to particular ancestry. The form of the poems connects to their themes as well as the underlying ideas that give the context and basis to work in literature through the use of the literal styles and choice of words and phrases. The narrative form contributes significantly to the impact of the intended message as reflected in their reactions which can vary when it is told differently to distinct audiences. The effect is witnessed on the structure thus implying that the form shapes the poet’s organization of thoughts and the complexity in the interpretation of the message. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to the impact of the form on the message based on the objectives of the persona to express certain attitudes and values. In so doing, it is possible to understand the cultural context of the poem for instance when the poet gives brief on their ancestral history and the effect on their present realities.

On the other end, the structure of the poem is focused on the organization which represents the smooth flow of ideas. It is described by the number of lines, stanzas, and the breaks within and without the verses and lines.  The structure has a close relationship between appearances on the page and the effect as well as the meaning of the poem. In short, these are the building blocks of the work whether big or small since they determine the whole shape, total stanzas, length of lines and verses as well as the movement between verses and lines. These aspects are essential in understanding the poet’s train of thoughts sequentially and logically hence making it simple to deduce the meaning relayed in the poem. Once the structure has been identified it is possible to choose the appropriate poetic techniques that suit the nature of the organization to create the intended effect. For example, rhyme and rhythm are developed depending on the number of lines in each stanza and the mood that is required to present the intended subject content. The devices used such as similes and metaphors as evident in the poems of Bobis and Chong to express the meaning and drive the effect of the poem within the chosen form and structure. Since the composition has an impact of the language used and the way the poetic devices are applied it means there is a link to an individual’s cultural perspective. Due to the power of the language of a poem, it is the best strategy to reach the heart of the works which is linked to its origin where it derives meaning implied by the cultural view of the individuals. Therefore the form and structure of the poem are essential in the attempt to deliver a specific message since it gives meaning to the past concerning the current reality as dictated by the individual and cultural views.