A Lady Amy Lowell Literary Devices

1581 Words7 Pages
From John Keats’ dreamy sonnets to the Edgar Allen Poe’s macabre laments, the most renowned poems across movements and writing styles capture and illustrate the fleeting emotions one feels when a soul impacts another. Through diction, devices, and form, a poet imparts the impression of his muse, the source of these emotions, much like an artist illustrates his source of inspiration through any combination of media. Amy Lowell, a twentieth century pioneer of modern poetry, is one such poet. In her poem, “A Lady”, the muse is not only the subject, but the audience, whom she directly addresses. To describe her muse, Lowell uses allusions to the arts, elegant and domestic imagery, and repetitive sounds; in conjunction, she creates a sensual tone to transmit her admiration to the audience.
Lowell opens the poem with a bold tone, explicitly addressing the subject of her work and beginning to characterize and compliment her. In using a second person point of view, Lowell begins to construct an intimate tone on which she will continue to augment as the poem progresses. Though the speaker addresses her subject outright in the poem, Lowell knows that readers of this poem feel as though they are outsiders who, upon seeing the word “you”, imagine a private conversation. In this way, Lowell manipulates her readers to feel as though they are witnessing in a private moment, such as one shared between lovers.
Amy Lowell characterizes her muse as classically beautiful, alluding to various forms of art as she does so. Lowell uses a simile to compare the lady of whom she speaks to “an old opera tune played upon a harpsichord”. With her utilization of phrases such as “opera tune” and “harpsichord”, she urges the audience to visualize the grandeur and elegance of fine art and apply this imagery to her subject. Lowell continues her comparison, soon likening the woman of which she speaks to the “silks of an eighteenth-century boudoir”. Not only does this solidify the image of elegance and luxury for the reader, but it also introduces the motif of domesticity, which recurs throughout the poem. Lowell’s inclusion of adjectives such as “faded”, “old”, “eighteenth-century”, and “outlived” continue to characterize her muse, who one can

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