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Running head: INFLUENTIAL POETRY

Influential Poetry Kadijah Dickens Winston-Salem State University

2 INFLUENTIAL POETRY Influential Poetry When you think of influential you think of something that brightens your day, makes you feel good about yourself and a certain aspect in life. Poetry is my influence. From the smooth tone it sets having you travel to another world just to understand the writers perspective. To the reflection it gives on life experiences. There are many poetic devices supporting poetry but some heavy ones are the extended metaphors, dialect, and imagery. Two poets I admire the most are Langston Hugh and Maya Angelou. Langston began writing poetry when he moved to Lincoln, Illinois to live with his mother and her husband. His first book of poetry was published in Washington, D.C, by Alfred A. Knopf called the Weary Blues in 1926 (Hughes, n. d). Maya Angelou was famous for many things especially writing. I know why the cage bird sings is her most famous work published in 1969. She wrote it based on her childhood in Long Beach, St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas (Angelou, 1928). She was raped by her step father at the age of seven and her uncle killed him. She felt it was her fault he was dead so she stopped speaking. Mrs. Flowers, an educated black women, whom Angelou wrote a book on explained the importance of words and introduced her to poetry; got her to speak again. I know why the caged bird sings showed a lot of extended metaphors. A free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream. Till the current ends and dips his wing in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky (Angelou, 2006). Angelou connects the bird to leaping on wind, and dipping his wings into the orange sun rays. Although they have nothing in common they all come together to say the bird wishes to be free experiencing the earth instead of being locked in his cage. Langston Hughes uses, Life for me aint been no crystal stairs. It had tacks in it and splinters and boards torn up. Places with no carpet on the floor. Bare. (Hughes, 1997)

3 INFLUENTIAL POETRY Some form of dialect was also used in the poets work. In I know why the cage bird sings, Angelou used till meaning until. In Mother to son, Langston used Ise, cause, and kinder. Which are short for I am, because, and kind of. Langston and Angelou didnt use as much dialect in the two poems. The poems both had different points. Angelou talked about being free, not having to be caged up, getting out and experiencing life. Langston talked about life being a struggle, there are a lot of obstacles you have to go through and it is not as easy and simple as people may think. Imagery is a major part of poetry. Lots of poets and writers use it. Angelou compared her life to crystal stairs. Life for me aint been no crystal stair. It had tacks in it and splinters and boards torn up. Places with no carpet on the floor. Bare. She explained that life has been rough for her; she went through obstacles and overcame them. Everything is not as smooth and nice as stairs made of crystals. Langston on the other hand talked about freedom, not being locked up. Being able to adventure out and see the world. But a caged BIRD stands on the grave of dreams. His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream. His wings are clipped and his feet are tied. So he opens his throat to sing. Besides these two great poets I have wrote poetry that displays some extended metaphors, dialect, and imagery. My poem Success, Its the blood in my veins. The pump of my heart! The determination in my eyes, and the strength of my mind! That helps my success go beyond thy eyes. Im going to be successful because its in me. Im going to be successful because thats all there is to be. You may tell me I cant do it. You may say its not for me. But who are you to tell me what I can and cant achieve. Ima strive even harder to follow my dreams. No one pulling me down! No one getting in my way! Its just a diamond clear pathway. The dialect from Success is Ima which means I am and thy meaning thine. Some of the imagery portrayed was the comparison of a pathway being as clear and visible as diamonds.

4 INFLUENTIAL POETRY An extended metaphor in my poem Success would be, The determination in my eyes and the strength of my mind. That helps my success go beyond thy eyes. I go from me seeing determination to me having the strength to go for what I want beyond what I can see. Poetic devices make up poetry besides the words itself. There are many more but extended metaphors, dialect, and imagery is the main ones .Everyone has something that helps them get through day by day. Mines happen to be writing poetry. Poetry is not all about ones pleasure. Its about the value behind the meaning and the feeling it contributes to readers. Its the connection to a persons inner being. Regardless of it not being recognized as much there are still people out there making it known!

5 INFLUENTIAL POETRY References Angelou, M. (1928). Biography. Poetry Foundation http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/maya-angelou#poet Angelou, M. (2014). Global Renaissance woman. Biography http://mayaangelou.com/bio/ Angelou, M. (2006). Maya Angelou Poems. Famous poets and poems.com http://www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/maya_angelou/poems/494 Hughes, L. (1997). Langston Hughes poems. Famous poets and poems.com http://www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/langston_hughes/poems/16948 Hughes, L. (n. d) Langston Hughes. Poets.org http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/83 Maitland Librarian. (2011). Youth poetry contest awards reception. Maitland public library complex. http://maitlandconnects.blogspot.com