Poetry Analysis Essay – Human Nature by Alice Anderson
Poetry Analysis Essay – Human Nature by Alice Anderson

Poetry Analysis Essay – Human Nature by Alice Anderson

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Despite my initial frustration with being given an essay to write after the midterm, I saw it as an opportunity to prove myself. I did extensive research on famous writers like Maya Angelo and also explored the works of lesser-known poets who often named their poems "Untitled". In the end, I decided on a small black book because of its reputation for containing extraordinary material. To my astonishment, this particular book exceeded all of my expectations.

The book titled Human Nature by female poet Alice Anderson explores sensitive themes such as rape, lust, consensual sex, and family incest. The poems in this collection create a sick and twisted, yet captivating, tapestry of words. Many of the poems disregard traditional rules, patterns, and rhyme schemes. However, this is not a flaw but rather a deli


berate choice to allow the stories in the poems to be fully expressed without the constraint of forced rhyming.

Anderson likely knew this from the beginning and recounted her fractured and maimed past in a straightforward manner without digressing into a full collection of short stories. The initial poem in the book, titled "The Split," can be seen as the pivotal poem. Anderson probably placed it first to present everything to the reader. The poem centers around a young woman being kissed by her lover after showering, then abruptly shifts its already slightly bewildering trajectory.

The passage centers around a young girl, possibly Anderson herself, who has an accident and injures her knee. Her father takes care of her in the scene, but then the story shifts to a young couple about to engage in intimat

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activities. However, suddenly the narrative changes and the poem continues with these lines: "You fall. Your knees are scraped and filled with rocks but you’re almost back to normal, panties wrapped around one ankle, undershirt pushed up. You hear your breathing and his breathing. You're warm. Your eyes are open again, staring at something they don't even see."

When it finally happens, you realize that this time it isn't your father filling you. As a reader, you may immediately feel the urge to close the book and return it to the shelf. However, for those adventurous and unknowing seekers of darkness, there is a desire to continue reading these twisted tales told in poetic form. I was one of the few curious individuals who didn't dismiss the book simply because I disagreed with the subjects of the poetry. It requires an open mind to appreciate poetry that exposes so much, even if it belongs to a tragic and disapproved genre.

The poem patterns in the satiric collection do not follow any specific lines or aesthetically pleasing patterns. However, a few poems, such as Answers, stand out. In this poem, there is a broken feel as it describes a sequence of events: "... best friend by best friend, me at the end by the front door. Suzy’s mother finally went to bed and then  the real games began. Spin the Bottle – girls kissing girls, softly. And Truth or Dare – everyone taking the dare... " Despite the dark undertones, this particular poem has a somewhat lighter vibe as it is based on Anderson's own thoughts during a fun occasion.

In this poem,

the poet highlights her friends' lack of awareness regarding her hardships. She vividly remembers a slumber party during her youth when she and the girls debated whether they would wear white to their weddings if they lost their virginity beforehand. Although Anderson experienced the loss of her virginity at a young age, she opted to conceal it. Nonetheless, this question compels her to ponder whether she would still choose to don the symbolically pure color of white on her wedding day, despite already being tarnished.

In the later part of the book of poems, Anderson meets the love of her life and portrays their intimate moments. Although he is not her father, she still carries memories of her father's sexual abuse that continue to haunt her. The poem Blue-Blackout reflects her obsession with purity as she expresses that he was her first and how significant it was for both of them. She holds onto the belief of preserving her virginity for the sake of her lover because she doesn't want him to endure the same corruption she went through.

I found it astonishing to learn that Anderson's mother and elder brother, in addition to her father, were aware of the incest. This made me wonder about how much control or manipulation he exerted over them to keep them quiet and unaware. In the poem "The Good Christian," the father used religion as a means to manipulate his daughter into thinking that what he was doing was acceptable. "And so in church you were afraid. You knew."

In this poem, the speaker reflects on her father's words and her confusion while in church.

Despite her father's actions, she was indoctrinated to believe in his potential forgiveness. As the book nears its end, readers may experience a sense of emotional detachment or overwhelming emotions, leading them to either cry uncontrollably or feel numb. Similar to the speaker's childhood experiences, readers may feel mentally violated and question whether physical or mental violation is more distressing.

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