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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

"Wodwo" is a creative stream-of-consciousness poem. In many ways, it mimics the fractured ways in which a person actually thinks (if they thought about it) or mirrors how a child thinks when discovering parts of the world for the very first time. Inevitably, different quotes from the poem will stand out to different readers. Given the unusual style of the poem, it is also likely that a reader might be drawn to different quotes in each reading.

One significant quote comes from the first three words of the poem:

What am I?

The quote is important; it sets the stage for what the speaker of the poem is actually trying to figure out: his identity. Interestingly, poems (including this one) are often a catalyst for self-reflection on the part of the reader. Thus, the reader and the speaker, in some ways, embark on this journey together. This poem is littered with questions, and this first line alerts readers to the fact that this poem is a poem about searching and the unknown.

I seem

separate from the ground and not rooted but dropped

out of nothing casually I've no threads

fastening me to anything I can go anywhere

This line epitomizes the confusion the Wodwo is experiencing. He is having the realization that he is a part of the world around him, yet quite different from it as an individual. This feels quite human—we are “dropped” onto the earth and must find ourselves in the places we go. There is no “right” direction; instead, there are countless paths we may take.

If the very first line of this poem is so significant, it would make sense to consider the very last line as well. The poem doesn't disappoint in this regard:

. . . but I’ll go on looking

The opening quote lets readers know that the speaker is searching, but the final line lets readers know a couple of important things. First, the final line lets readers know that the poem's narrator has not found the answers to his various questions about what he is and what his place in the world is. Second, the final line lets readers know that the speaker is not giving up. He is going to continue searching for his place in the world. It's a very unique ending because, on one hand, it is very disappointing: the speaker doesn't have his answers. Despite this, the line could be read as hopeful, as the reader senses that the speaker will not give up.

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