Please give examples of theme and style in Marilyn Dumont's poem "Not Just a Platform for My Dance."

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The most important rhetorical device used in Marilyn Dumont’s poem “Not Just a Platform For My Dance” is repetition. The line “this land is not” is used in half of the eight stanzas and is prevalent in both the first and the last. It is important when analyzing poetry to...

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The most important rhetorical device used in Marilyn Dumont’s poem “Not Just a Platform For My Dance” is repetition. The line “this land is not” is used in half of the eight stanzas and is prevalent in both the first and the last. It is important when analyzing poetry to identify who the speaker is; it is also significant to note that the speaker and the author are not automatically the same entity.

The speaker in this poem is evidently someone who loves their land. The word “land” likely refers to their country or a specified area. We know they love their land because of the repeated line “this land is not.” If the speaker is someone who did not care about the land, they would not place so much emphasis on it. In addition, the use of the word “my” is important. The stanza “this land is / my tongue my eyes my mouth” and the phrases “my prayer,” “my medicine,” and the others in which the speaker uses the word “my” demonstrate that the speaker feels a particularly positive and personal connection to the land. We know that the speaker has a positive view of the land because of their tone and word choice. Thus, we can identify the over-arching theme of pride and love for one’s home.

The poem has a free-form style with no rhyme scheme or other rules; this perhaps reflects the way the speaker views the land, as something that should be free.

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Marilyn Dumont, in "Not Just a Platform for My Dance," places what the "land is not just" in opposition to what the land is.

The opening two stanzas repeat "this land is not/just" to achieve unity and build intensity.  The first stanza uses the everyday:  house, car, fence.  The second stanza moves to the ceremonial--"dead"--and the regenerative--"seed."

The second part of the poem, beginning with stanza three, repeats "this land is," but omits the "just," and cites sensory organs as samples:  tongue, eyes, mouth.

The speaker repeats again, in part, in the fourth stanza, beginning each line with "this," "these," and "these," respectively, and moves from human senses to human-like nature:  in other words, she uses personification to describe the land.  The grass is "headstrong," the willow "relenting," the fields "flat-footed," leaves, "applauding," and winds, "frank."

The linking verb "are" replaces the repeating "is" from the first four stanzas to open the fifth, and the "th" in "this" from the previous stanzas is repeated in two uses of "they."  Stanza five also moves from the subject of nature to the spiritual (prayer), to the physical (medicine), and to the culmination of her being (song, which is created from the spiritual and physical).

Finally, metaphor provides the conclusion of the poem, as well as the title, of course:

this land is not

just a platform for my dance

as the speaker returns to "this land is not/just," and concludes that the land is not just a stage for her to dance on--not just a place for her to exist.

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