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.

Narrative:

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."

Lyric:

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
     vanity

     in the sense of idle
     conceit

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.

Definition:

     As if to say,

     "Conceit
     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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