Mona Van Duyn American Literature Analysis
Van Duyn protested the application of the label “domestic” to her work, noting that male writers who write about their spouses and the events of their daily lives, as she often did, are never labeled that way. In fact, she frequently found her subjects in literature, including the subject of poetry itself, as well as in history, mythology, and even newspaper items. Nevertheless, her subject matter frequently came from her daily life, its various events, her family, her travels. At the heart of her achievement is the fact that those domestic events, even those she treats with considerable humor, become metaphors for the complex statements she makes about the world and the place of people in it.
Van Duyn is a formal writer, almost always using rhyme (often slant rhyme) and frequently using regular stanzas. The volume Firefall (1993) may serve to illustrate the diversity she achieves. The first poem in the collection, “A Dog Lover’s Confession,” is prefaced by a lengthy note that identifies it and several other poems in the book as “Minimalist sonnets.” She explains that she has kept the Petrarchan or Shakespearean conventions in these works while shortening the conventional ten-syllable line length. She sometimes also added an extra quatrain.
“Miranda Grows Up” works like a sort of inverted Petrarchan sonnet with two-syllable lines, and several similar poems are included in a section called “Minimalist Sonnet...
(The entire section is 2681 words.)
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