Thursday, June 12, 2014

Analysis of "A Conceit" by Rae Armantrout

Original poem reprinted online here:  "A Conceit" by Rae Armantrout
Originally read: October 30, 2013
More information about the Poet: Rae Armantrout

I looked up all the definitions of conceit before reading this poem.  I've read and analyzed quite a few Rae Armantrout poems over the past year, and I always noticed in her work the way she uses multiple definitions of the word, but in a simple backdrop situation so, theoretically, the scene  defines the word in an interesting way.

Note that this poem is separated in three parts in which each section uses a different technique: narrative, lyric, definition.


This portion flows between a conversation between two anchors about how "viewers might enjoy tomorrow."  This is the conceit, fanciful notion device that opens up the idea for the anchor, but . "One says, 'Get some great....', but / that seems a stretch."  Who is judging this aspect?

It seems to be the other who "snickers, meaning, / 'Where were you going with that?'"  and then this idea transfers over to the "you," "like you thought."


The "you" here can be different or the same you in the first part, but this part definitely brings conceit into the poem:

     Like you could defend

     in the sense of idle

Pride in oneself, conceited.  Here the word is used two ways: the overinflation of a persons ability to "defend vanity" and the description of vanity itself, "vacuous self-absorption.

The last lines in this part are humorous, "whatever / because, / really." Since there is no defense, just a group of words as a defense.


     As if to say,

     is the vacuum energy"

The second part goes along with how the word/idea of "conceit" is used in the poem -- vacuous vacuum that has energy in itself.  The thing that stands out for me is "As if to say,"  to undercut the definition with a qualifier.  Why qualify?  Maybe the line goes back to the you defining the word  Maybe the line is part of a different section.  Inexact stance on an exact definition.


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