By stating, in the first few lines of “Constantly Risking Absurdity,” the poet risks absurdity and death whenever he performs. Lawrence Ferlinghetti addresses the perils of reciting poetry to an audience. In the poem, Ferlinghetti uses a metaphor of a circus to illustrate the risks associated with the reciting poetry. Numerous death-defying acts are performed by individuals in the circus: from the fearless trapeze artists, swinging above a small net, to the courageous lion tamers that are face-to-face with a large beast that could tear them to pieces. When reciting the poem to the audience, two things could occur; the audience will or will not understand or like the poem. By referring to the circus, Ferlinghetti is able to describe the feelings associated with reciting his poem, and the uncertainty of whether or not the audience enjoys and understands his poetry. Moreover, the poem’s structure consists of uneven stanzas that could visually represent circus acts and imply the performer’s uncertainty. Does the poet risk absurdity or death by reciting this poem to the audience? To recite it and possibly one’s intimate feelings to people who may not understand the poem is a daunting act that could result in feeling foolish or wanting to die. There are indications of a performance or act, hints of danger, and references to ridiculous actions throughout the poem. The performance, danger, and ridiculous actions in the poem help describe the feelings of the poet who is unsure of how his audience views his poetry.
Throughout “Constantly Risking Absurdity,” there are various references to the performance. The hints and undertones of danger play an important role in the poem.
There are hints and undertones of danger in the poem that reveal what the poet is encountering. The ridiculous actions mentioned throughout the poem emphasize the uncertainty experienced by most poets.
Felinghetti vehemently describes the wishes of most poets. The job of a poet according to him is risky and requires that the audience should be happy with the poem being recited to them. He emphasizes this fact by describing it as advancing to a higher perch where beauty stands. This means that the poet will always wish that his audiences will readily accept his or her poem and will be satisfied with it. He goes further and describes the situation of starting a death defying leap. This means that the poet is not sure of what will happen to him if the audiences will not accept his poem. In a real life situation, a person needs to analyze the frustration one will undergo if he or she is ignored. This is should be done especially after they have spoken their minds and expressed their feelings to other people or a crowd. It might although be embarrassing.
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The poet clearly understands all the risks involved and he goes ahead and describes it as climbing a wire. This means that the climber faces a major risk of falling in case of taking any wrong move or step. This symbolizes the difficulties in life in the real world and how some decisions can lead to failures in our own lives. However, despite understanding this risk, he encourages poets to take risks. According to him, taking risks is also a part of life. Though, he also sympathizes with the risk taker who faces the risk of being embarrassed due to falling from the tight wire in front of the crowd and may end up with injuries. This suggests the personal damages one may have after being embarrassed in public. It may be too difficult to bear it at times.
An acrobat has been used in the poem in comparison with the poet who is about to go on stage and recite his poem in front of the audience. This situation is quite tense for the poet and acrobat. In most cases when the acrobat goes on stage to share his skills, the situation is usually intense. This is mainly because most of the audiences will always want to see whether the acrobat will perform well or not. Some of them will even want to see the acrobat fall over the tight rope or wire. This is mainly done in order to make fun of them. The acrobat therefore needs to be very tricky by ensuring that he keeps his balance. This compared to the poet means that the poet needs to be tricky as well to ensure that the audience understands his poem and he avoids the risks of being embarrassed. This is where the pitfall lies for the poet. He has to ensure that he chooses his words carefully to please the audience. Without this the poem becomes irrelevant to the audiences.
The poet ensures that they are clearly heard to avoid chances of misjudgment. This is because the poet may have written a good poem but he fails to recite it loud enough. The audience will not get the message and the poet will still be embarrassed. The death as he describes in the poem may not necessarily mean the failure of the poem to please his audiences. It may also result from the poet not speaking loud enough for the audiences to hear and understand him. This situation in real life can be compared to someone who has a talent but fails to show it because of the fear of it being rejected. This particular person still faces the risks of being a failure in life.
Ferlinghetti also clearly portrays the life of the poet that includes taking risks. This fact can be supported by the title of the poem itself. However, since most poets clearly understand this fact he also expects the audience to support risk takers by understanding them. Unfortunately this is never the case in most situations. The life of the poet will always remain to be under pressure from the expectations of the audiences. As a result, most of the poets will end up worrying constantly. Most of them are always worried of what will happen to them if their works are not accepted by the audiences. The poem however encourages the poets to be strong and express themselves no matter what results and judgments they will receive from the audience. Only due to taking a risk the poet will be successful. Although it may take a long time to achieve the success, it is worth the risk and the poet or any other artist should always bear this fact in mind.
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According to Felinghetti, the life of the poet is full of uncertainties. The worst thing that could happen to the poet is that he may receive a negative judgment. Felinghetti goes ahead and describes the embarrassment that the poet will have to go through if the audience does not understand his poem. Using the poetic language he compares some facts of the poem to death. According to the poem, it is therefore necessary for the poets to be patient enough no matter what the embarrassment they may face. Thus, it is needed to take risks in order for every poet to be successful. It is the most important factor in making any meaningful achievements in life regardless of how long it will take to achieve the main objective which leads directly to success.
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