“The Hanging Family Tree” employs what Robert Pinsky, in his book The Sounds of Poetry, calls “like and unlike sounds” in order to intensify the meaning of key thematic lines and to create shifts in the musical effects of the poem.
The alienation of the cityscape creates a profound sense of isolation, which is represented not just in the images but also in the construction of the lines. Every sentence in this poem begins with “I.”
The moments of clarity in Frost’s poems, his “momentary stays against confusion,” are achieved through form.
Ai is the only name by which I wish, and indeed, should be known.
Ai constructs the experience of dread and pours it into the reader’s mouth. We swallow, “thinking it tastes like blood.”
“How free is a woman?” To be a woman is to be in conflict with one’s own desires, as well as society’s desires to put woman neatly away in her place. In contemporary poetry and literature, female desire is often viewed simultaneously as a force of mysterious power and as a source of evil and corruption. A woman’s desires and her identity are linked. This is her sense of self. The self in Ai’s personae is often broken, but is always present, dictating the direction in which her characters take.
Anne Sexton, a voice trying to define itself in a society where male voices have always been more powerful.