Label the following poems as either lyric or narrative, and substantiate with specific textual evidence: newfoundland sealing disaster michael crummey- Winter Uplands by Archibald Lampman

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eir | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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“Winter Uplands” is a lyric poem. Lyric poems are generally defined by three features: they are short and epigrammatic, they are limited to a single instant in time, and they are cast as being spoken by a ‘lyric’ ‘I’ who is present in the moment and experiencing the world through his senses.

In “Winter Uplands,” you’ll  find this lyric ‘I’ in line 4:

I sit in the great silence as one bound (4)

The 'I' in this passage is immediately present and experiencing the world described in the poem immediately through his senses. Good examples or sensory details are: 

The stars that singly, then in flocks appear,

Like jets of silver from the violet dome (9-1-) 

The crunching snowshoes and the stinging air (13)

We also get the speaker’s emotion, as in line 11, where he writes about the stars that they are: 

So wonderful, so many and so near (11)

All of these features (a short epigrammatic moment, a sensory immediacy, and the lyric speaker's emotional experiences) make the poem a lyric poem. 

2. “New Foundland Sealing Disaster” by contrast is a narrative poem. It tells about an event that’s happening over time. The speaker of the poem, moreover, is an observer reporting on events that happen at a distance from him.   

For evidence, look at line 3. You’ll see that the narrator speaks in the third person about a “they.”

they stooped to the slaughter: gaffed pups,
slit them free of their spotless pelts (3).


Also, in the second stanza you'll find the line:

The storm came on unexpected (5).

The line is important because an event enters into the picture and separates on moment from the next.

You can also see the passage of time by comparing the first stanza with the last one.  While in line 1, the characters described by the poem are just being 

Sent to the ice after white coats (1)

 In the last stanza it is already dark, and the hopeful day gives way to a moment when: 

the night and bitter wind doled out



their final, pitiful wages (24-25).

In short, you're given a story of characters, that has a beginning middle and end, a plot based on a conflict (the storm) and a resolution (the death of the sealers).

Sources:

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