What is it about?

This essay explores images of exile, displacement, liminality, indeterminacy and elusiveness in the poetry of Robert Graves and discusses how Graves saw this condition as essential for inspiration. The essay concludes with a metrical analysis of the poem "Like Snow in a Dark Night," which demonstrates the importance of liminality, as at the end of the poem readers find themselves both in the center of the poem and at the edge.

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Why is it important?

The importance of the poem lies in how effectively it opens up the poems of Graves to deeper analysis.

Perspectives

One of the reasons I think this essay is worthwhile is that it challenges the conventional image of Robert Graves as a self-confident sort of poetry worker in an old-world mode churning out texts that chide contemporaries for their weaknesses and fallen ways but somehow remote from the afflictions of modernity. I think the essay succeeds (I hope) to some degree in demonstrating that while he wrote poems that were formally and conceptually unlike those of his contemporaries, his sensibility was modern--doubt-ridden, divided and at odds with itself--but simultaneously capable of professing an unequivocal faith in the truth of poetry.

MICHAEL JOSEPH JOSEPH
Rutgers The State University of New Jersey

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This page is a summary of: ‘Like snow in a dark night’: Exile and displacement in the poetics of Robert Graves, Book 2 0, September 2018, Intellect,
DOI: 10.1386/btwo.8.1-2.43_1.
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