One of the purposes of poetry is to delve into the struggles and tensions that define our lives. Considering this thematically, poets invite us to think about the tension between the public and the private, between the self and others, between the past and the present, between nature and culture, between innocence and experience, between the dead and the living, between the fleeting and the eternal, between fantasy and reality, and so on. What is one of the central tensions engaged in the poem you chose? What insight into this tension does the poet offer and how does the poet employ literary form (ex. metre, imagery, sound, figurative language, fixed form, structure, etc.) to effectively and artfully communicate this insight? When choosing your tension, feel free to draw from this list or conceive of your own.


What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

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