Poetry Should Ride the Bus

Not every poem depicts what poetry is, but the ‘Poetry Should Ride the Bus’ has an opinion. Ruth Forman wrote this piece about her opinion on poetry, comparing them to her life events. In each stanza, Forman describes a beauty and intensity of emotion regarded as characteristics of her life. Using literary devices such as imagery, tone, and word order, she characterizes the symbolic importance of community so that anyone can connect to it.

At first glance, this poem is a collection of life events.

Each stanza places poetry through descriptions and imagery in a different scene. The stanzas tell a story of her life, effectively using the literary devices through visual, auditory, and tactile imagery. Combined, they all help the reader have a clearer picture of what is happening. The first line of the poem introduces, ‘Poetry should hopscotch in a polka dot dress’ (line 1). This content easily paints a picture in someone’s head, which is what Forman wanted to do.

The author visually describes a little girl playing and cartwheeling down the street, so that anyone can easily imagine it. This line also shows how poetry can brighten and sustain us in a childlike way.

Another line that very effectively creates imagery is, ‘Poetry should wear bright red lipstick/ n practice kisses in the mirror'(lines 5-6). These lines descriptively show the reader a rebellious teen that is easy to imagine. Using everyday life experiences, Ruth Forman instantly connects with the readers.

Another important part of this poem is the tone.

With the mood and emotion Forman evokes, it helps the message she is sending to the readers and also affects how the reader perceives her poem. Throughout the poem, the author uses a light-hearted tone that comes across as joyful, funny, and childlike. For example, ‘wear bright red lipstick/ n practice kisses in the mirror’ (lines 5-6). This part of the poem, just like other parts, conveys light, bright, and silly language to help the imagery of the poem. The sound of the informal ‘n’ used throughout the poem could be read as if it was a child or teenager.

A different part of this poem, however, uses a different tone. Towards the end of the poem Forman says, ‘poetry should sing red revolution love songs/ that massage your scalp/ and bring hope to your blood’ (lines 21-23). These lines of the poem express a different tone that is more somber and serious. Although it only covers a few lines in the poem, it is still impactful to the readers. Instead of using the informal ‘n’, she uses the formal ‘and’. This still helps express the whole meaning of the poem that poetry should be relatable and understandable but is more intent. Lastly, a literary device that has great effect in this essay is word order. Forman uses word order to develop a story in the poem that makes it cohesive. Throughout the poem the author writes with reference to the coming of age.

Specifically, she takes time through each stanza to represent a memory, and all stanzas together form the coming of age sense. In the fourth stanza Forman wrote, ‘poetry should ride the bus/ in a fat woman’s Safeway bag’ (line 13-14). These lines tell of a middle aged woman riding a bus. Another corresponding line of the poem recites, ‘Poetry should drop by a sweet potato pie/ ask about the grandchildren’ (line 17-18).

Specifically, Ruth Forman takes time through each stanza to represent a memory, and all stanzas together form the coming of age sense. This is portrayed throughout the poem, and it starts with a child’s memory. Still, the main focus of the poem is about the opinion of poetry. Forman makes this clear through the syntax she uses. Carefully, she placed the word ‘poetry’ at the start of each stanza beginning. With the starting word in each stanza, the author makes clear that the main focus and point she is trying to make is about poetry.

The deep meaning that I found in this poem mostly illustrates that the best poems are not simply written, but lived first. Anyone can find poetry in anything familiar. I am not sure if this poem is significant for the future, since people are so opinionated and demanding. It may be that this poem affects people because it is greatly comparable, however, some people will want deep, meaningful poems that are hard to depict.

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