Analysis Of Why I Am Not A Painting Poem

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The poem ‘’Why I am not a painter’’ by Frank O’Hara is spilt into three stanzas. Two of which are 13 lines long and one is three lines long. The poem has been structured in such a way that the reader is taken backwards and forwards between the second and third stanzas rather than progresses though them. The second stanza focuses on Mike Goldberg’s process of creating his painting ‘’ Sardines’’. The third stanza focuses on the speaker’s process of creating his poem ‘’ Oranges’’. This structure helps O Hara to demonstrate to the reader the similarities and differences between a poet and a painter and painting and poetry. Both the painter and the poet start with the concept of an object. The painter has the object of sardines and the poet has the object of oranges. However, how they go about creating their final product is very different. The painting is created around a word while the starting point of the poem is an idea. The painter needed to pull the word apart until it was ‘’ Just letters’’ (15/16) the poet writes for days but does not mention the word orange. He only includes words and does not include any proper lines. It is essential that he gets all his ideas onto paper before he focuses on the structure of the poem. The painter is forced to remove objects out of his painting ‘’ It was too much’’ (16) the painter needs to get down all his ideas onto the canvas and then edit it, so to speak. He has to become selective about what he includes in his final product and ensure that everything in the painting fits with the overall message he wants his painting to convey. The poet is only able to write a poem about orange by not talking directly about orange. He has to show the reader what orange is as opposed to telling them what ... ... middle of paper ... ...d bleak. ‘’ Of how terrible orange is and life’’ (23/24) the speaker is torn between expressing his personal feelings and views in his poem and sticking to the rule that poetry is not supposed to contain the writers personal experiences. O Hara creates this contrast between a positive mood and a negative one. This is so that the reader can see the downfalls and rewards of being a poet or a painter. There is no rhyme scheme in this poem. It is free flowing. This adds to the conversational tone of the poem and it makes it informal, more like a conversation one would have with a friend. The conclusion of the poem directly links back to the beginning of the poem. The poem begins by talking about how the speaker is a poet but would rather be a painter. The end of the poem compares his finished poem with Mike’s painting.

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