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The Gravity of Birds
"A complex web of jealousy and heartache." - O, The Oprah Magazine
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How do you interpret the poem that prefaces the novel? How would Alice relate to these verses?

Created: 08/18/13

Replies: 5

Posted Aug. 18, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 558

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How do you interpret the poem that prefaces the novel? How would Alice relate to these verses?

Mary Oliver's poem "No Voyage" prefaces the novel. How do you interpret the poem? How would young Alice relate to these verses? How would Alice feel differently about the poem as an older woman?


Posted Sep. 08, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bonnieb

Join Date: 09/11/11

Posts: 92

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RE: How do you interpret the poem that prefaces the novel? How would Alice relate to these verses?

The poem is significant in two ways. Firstly, the book she left at Thomas's cabin was a book of poetry by Mary Oliver. Secondly, the poem is very much like the way Alice feels about life. She finds her life wanting, she feels used up, an invalid, "while the birds in the trees sing of the circle of time".


Posted Sep. 10, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
cathyw

Join Date: 07/29/11

Posts: 3

RE: How do you interpret the poem that prefaces the novel? How would Alice relate to these verses?

Mary Oliver is the perfect poet to preface this book. Like Alice, she is a private person by nature. She is also a keen observer of the natural world. This Pulitzer prize winning poet illuminates the connection between nature and the human condition. This poem points out that grief is a part of life and we should find solace with the fact.


Posted Sep. 11, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 130

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RE: How do you interpret the poem that prefaces the novel? How would Alice relate to these verses?

Thanks for you comment, Cathy. I've always thought that I wasn't a poetry person -- one of those who just doesn't "get it," and barely gave the poem a glance. After the information you provided above, though, I think I'm going to have to revisit it. I'm sure I'll see it in a new light.


Posted Sep. 11, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kathrynk

Join Date: 05/21/11

Posts: 31

RE: How do you interpret the poem that prefaces the novel? How would Alice relate to these verses?

Thanks to those comments above. I just don't often get poetry. I saw the connection between the poetry book and the poem quoted. I think I saw it more as a description of where she was -- and not so much where we find her at the end of the story. I think I may have seen it more relating to Thomas actually. Thanks Cathy for your comments. I knew nothing of the poet.

More grist for the mill!


Posted Sep. 15, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dorothyl

Join Date: 04/15/12

Posts: 34

RE: How do you interpret the poem that prefaces the novel? How would Alice relate to these verses?

I think the poem is very appropriate and applicable to the novel. I see it relating to Alice. Some of the lines "on a cot by an open window" shows her disconnection and isolation from the real world. I also like "wanting life" which I think has a dual meaning. Alice wants an active life and to be "normal." And her life is "wanting" because of her disability. I think it could be a verb and an adjective. She also spends most of her life ruminating on the brief moments with Thomas and their consequences. And to her they could be "weeping ruins."


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