Essay on The Theme of Loss in Poetry

Essay on The Theme of Loss in Poetry

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The Theme of Loss in Poetry

Provide a sample of poetry from a range of authors each of whom portray
the theme of loss in some way.

Anthology Introduction

The object of this collection is to provide a sample of poetry from a
range of authors each of whom portray the theme of ‘loss’ in some way.
‘Loss’ has been a recurring theme in literature for centuries, from
early poets such as William Shakespeare who portrays loss in many of
his tragedies including the loss of sanity in ‘King Lear’ and the loss
of reputation in ‘Othello’, through to Keats’s ‘Odes’ and into the
twentieth and twenty-first century. Loss is an important aspect of
life and many modern poets find it to be an interesting theme to deal
with in their work. The poems chosen for the anthology show a range of
responses to different types of loss, from death to material
possessions, and each deals with the theme in their own definitive

The first poem in the anthology is ‘We are Seven’ by William
Wordsworth. Although his work dates over 150 years earlier than the
other poems in the anthology, he was, and still is a pivotal part of
the development of poetry and his voice can still be clearly heard
today in the twenty-first century. His poems from ‘Lyrical Ballads’,
in his own words, feature ‘incidents and situations from common life’.
This indisputably incorporates the theme of loss in many of his poems,
such as ‘Old Man Travelling’ and ‘The Thorn’. However, the theme of
loss is most interestingly represented in ‘We are Seven’ in which the
narrator meets a young girl who has lost two of her siblings to
illness. In this poem there is discord between the narrator’s
interpretation of death and the young girl’s. Whilst the narrator sees

... middle of paper ...

...but when
studied closely it can be established that there is much more at work
in the poem. Williams hints at a lost sense of community brought on by
the introduction of modern transport from a foreign country. The poem
is an emotional recollection for the tram and everything it stood for
to the narrator; the people and the attitude from a time that has

Whilst this anthology only draws upon a fraction of the poems
throughout the time centred around the theme of ‘loss’ it nevertheless
shows a broad view of the different interpretations of the word.
Moreover the introduction shows how the word ‘loss’ can cause tensions
between two poems, or solely the ideas in one poem itself. What all
the poems do show, however, is that there is no set definition for the
word ‘loss’, nor is there a set way to deal with the theme both in
literature and reality.

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