Gerard Manley Hopkins's Poem In October By Dylan Thomas

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Introduction The idea that the poetry of Dylan Thomas must have been influenced by the works of Gerard Manley Hopkins was one that occurred intuitively when reading Thomas’ “Poem in October”. The two poets seemed to share a fondness for creating a rich, densely packed network of sounds, making extensive use of devices such as onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance and consonance; this density sometimes goes hand in hand with obscurity. Both are known for their inventiveness with language; for example, the free creation and use of unusual compound words and the taking of words out of their usual categories in order to make verbs out of nouns and so on. There was also an apparent similarity in rhythm, in the use of religious themes, language…show more content…
Daniel Schwarz (90) observes that the final line of the tenth stanza, "By the believer lost and the hurled outcast of light," is "probably a deliberate echo of Hopkins' ‘Pitched pitch of grief’ in his sonnet ‘No Worst, There Is None’. He goes on to discuss the divine nature of the bird portrayed in the poem, associating it with Christ and with the Holy Spirit, and pointing out that "perhaps the most prominent poetic influence upon Thomas' association of a bird with divine revelation is Hopkins' own version of the convention of a poet responding to a bird's vitality: ‘The Windhover,’" (Schwarz…show more content…
Goodby (333) argues that “Many poems rely on frameworks which might be called ceremonial; the separate, carefully nested temporalities of “A Winter’s Tale”, for example, …All these effects yield a ritualistic, performed utterance and are set against the ever-present threat of silencing.” These temporalities can be found in lines such as “the snow blind twilight”, “Once when the world turned old”, “till the flame of the cock crow” and “the river mouthed in night”. This poem also has a densely woven web of sound, and the assonance created by the repeated use of “o” sounds in the first two stanzas (“snow”, “over”, “floating”, “frozen”, “folded”, “cold”, “snow”, “owl”, “folds”, “frozen” again, “”hold”, “Flocked”, “smoke”, “house”, “cowl”, “told”) helps generate musicality. There are many examples of compounds in Thomas’ usual style (“log bright light”, “snow blind love”), as well as alliteration (“And his nameless need bound him burning and lost”). 5. “In Country

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