My favorite poem is he River-Merchant’s Wife by Ezra Pound.
This poem is my favorite for probably a silly, prideful reason. Let me set you up with a little story. In my senior year of high school I was in AP English with a teacher that quite a few students hated because she was pretty tough. I liked her though because she loved literature and so did I!
I have some very fond memories of that class. Except for the assignment where we were asked to pick a poem and dissect it for the class. I chose “The River-Merchant’s Wife” (I think I just randomly found it in our anthology and I liked the flow and the imagery) and I really sunk myself into it, examining each line very thoroughly. I reached the conclusion that the narrator in the poem was forced into an arranged marriage but by the end of it she truly did love her spouse.
But my teacher disagreed even when I explained why I had reached that conclusion. I was so disappointed! (Though I did feel a little better when most of my classmates admitted they had read into it the same way I had.)
So when I got a chance to complete the same type of assignment in a college course I chose the same poem with the same conclusion that I had reached in high school. And guess what? My professor told me he thought I was spot on!
That’s why this poem has always had a soft spot in my heart (though every time I think of it I have to spend forever trying to find it because I can never remember the title). It’s the poem that proved to myself that, even though I’m not really a fan of poetry, I can still critically look at and understand poetry. Plus, I think it also goes to show that meanings in poetry can be subjective.
Here’s the poem for your perusal: “The River-Merchant’s Wife” by Ezra Pound