I'm writing an essay on Peter Meinke's poem "Liquid Paper" and need some information.Any kind of help would be appreciated!

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pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In Meinke’s poetry, he is able to elevate ordinary objects. His use of metaphors connect those objects to something deeper and original. In “Liquid Paper”, the title poem for the work, the poem flows like the clear liquid. “Smooth as a snail, this little parson pardons our sins. Touch the brush tip lightly and--’abracadabra!’--a clean slate.” Meinke delves deeper to connect our common “white out."

It is amusing to think of the squat Liquid Paper bottle as the plump priest come to redeem us. With a measure of sobriety, however, it turns into a quiet miracle-worker; "sins" conveys a moral flaw, something important and guilt-worthy. 
Meinke touches on the human capability to distort and destroy. Taken with the white-out's previous association with a parson, this capability appears more sinister; things that were light and amusing in the first stanza are suddenly fragile, corruptible.

Humans can thus turn aftershave from something to save us from the horrors of stinging skin or smelling bad to something that saves us from the horrors of war. This leap from the micro to the macro is one of Meinke's most effective strategies. He funnels despair into everyday things.

The toxic smell of white out comes to mind, suggested by the earlier allusion to drug abuse.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I assume you already have a copy of the poem and are needing help to analyze it. First, we need to know what kind of paper you are writing. Is it an analysis of the structure and technique? Is it an analysis of the themes? Are you comparing it to another poem? We need to nail that down first.

I've pasted a link to the eNotes article on how to explicate (meaning, how to analyze) a poem. It should be very helpful to you.

I've also included a link where you can read the book Religion and Literature, by Robert Detweiler and David Jasper, in which the poem is critiqued. The third link is to a review of the poem.

I hope this helps!

Sources:

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