The Repetitive, Meditative Style of Lawrence's Birds, Beasts, and Flowers

The Repetitive, Meditative Style of Lawrence's Birds, Beasts, and Flowers

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The Repetitive, Meditative Style of Lawrence's Birds, Beasts, and Flowers


D. H. Lawrence is not a formalist. He derives his free verse style from prolonged experience with imaginative essays in which he objectively and vividly contemplates things, people, and places in their singleness rather than in their relationship to each other. Lawrence's purpose, according to Gilbert, is "knowledge through meditation": he essays "to know something . . . intuitively . . . obliquely . . . fragmentarily; not through orderly ratiocination, but through emotional perception." As his style developed, Lawrence's essays became "increasingly idiosyncratic, increasingly elliptical, spontaneous and jazzy, as though reflecting the process rather than the product of thought." Gilbert finds Birds, Beasts, and Flowers, Lawrence's sixth volume of poetry, written in a "casual, improvisational, unfinished style" that "functions not only as a means of communication but [also] as a process of discovery" (131-32). Building on Gilbert's studies, an examination of "Fruits," the first sequence of the nine-part Birds, Beasts, and Flowers, reveals that Lawrence's repetitive, meditative style employs three types of repetition.

"Fruits," an archetypal sequence about eating fruit and being changed by its magical properties, admits readers into Lawrence's meditations and his Blakeian journey to the natural world (Gilbert 333). The poet/narrator tantalizes his prissy countrymen by suggestively dangling fruits that hold "a secret that can be experienced with the senses, but cannot be grasped intellectually" (Lockwood 105). Lawrence accomplishes his poetic journey through revisions of myths. The opening poem, "Pomegranate," which alludes to the myth of Pers...


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...h life with "family and friends" (Unterecker 241).



Works Cited

French, Roberts W. "Lawrence and American Poetry." The Legacy of D. H. Lawrence, Jeffrey Meyers, ed. New York: St. Martin's P, 1987. 109-34.

Gilbert, Sandra M. Acts of Attention: The Poems of D. H. Lawrence. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1990.

Lawrence, D. H. Birds, Beasts, and Flowers. New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1923. Lockwood, M. J. A Study of the Poems of D. H. Lawrence: Thinking in Poetry. Houndsmills, England: MacMillan P, 1987.

Murfin, Ross C. The Poetry of D. H. Lawrence: Texts and Contexts. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1983.

Unterecker, John. "Of Father, of Son: On "Fergus Falling," "After Making Love We Hear Footsteps," and Angling, a Day." On the Poetry of Galway Kinnell: The Wages of Dying, Howard Nelson, ed. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1987. 227-41.

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