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“Nothing in That Drawer” by Ron Padgett Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Dec 17th, 2021

The poem seems to suggest a search. Apparently, the persona is looking for something without much success. Repetition here suggests that the search is continuous and maybe even frantic. Additionally, the object that is for is not being found and therefore the search continues repeatedly. The use of “that drawer” suggests the use of choice and effort in evaluating and deciding which drawer to pick out. Alternatively, the poem can be said to be describing an examination process rather than a search. Suggestively, that the persona is examining the drawers and finding them empty. The repetition suggests that several drawers are examined without success. The last line can be taken to be either a summary or a conclusion that there is nothing in the drawer. This can also be taken as a soliloquy, the poet is going through a realization process that the drawer is empty. The different lines said in different tones reveal different emotional stages: confusion, panic, frantic calls, realization and understanding, acceptance, regret and bitterness. The emotions are not limited to these listed but may be somehow like the stages of realization of a terminal disease.

My interpretation of the poem goes to how frantic life can be; chasing what is not there. We often look through the many drawers of life hoping to find something meaningful only to be disappointed that there is nothing superior stowed away and hidden for us to find. This is the tragedy that is life. We start of confused, angry and even resentful that what we have chased is not what we thought. Then we end up realizing and accepting, no matter how grudgingly, that we cannot change it.

Nourbese Philip

Nourbese Philip is undeniably talented. She has written several acclaimed anthologies and has a lot of mind-blowing poetry. One of these rich poems is Discourse on the Logic of Language. This piece brings to light the conflict within her about the use of a “colonial” language to express herself. It also highlights the struggle for identity from her perspective. She is an educated person who still wants to identify with her African roots. Yet she cannot because of language constraints. This excellent piece reflects her main theme in most of her works: the struggle for identity with her roots in the face of a foreign culture. The piece is bravely arranged and written; boasting of musical and linguistic creativity.

Computer generated poetry

Computer generated poetry is impersonal, period! It does not have the characteristics of humanly written pieces, no matter how close it comes to. Poetry’s flare comes from the writing down of feelings and creative flouting of traditional grammar rules. It is where raw emotion is expressed as one feels it. Sometimes it is illogical, unstructured and even disorganized. No matter, it is what we feel.

A computer, for those reasons, cannot be acceptable within the realms of poetry. Computers are machines and they therefore do not feel. The feeling aspect of poetry is central to its writing. They are also not creative: they follow codes and structures. What we may mistake for creativity of a computer are merely cleverly written codes that guide the structure of piece written rather than set free the limits of creativity. Computer generated poetry is therefore not legitimate.

Whether it is desirable is another question altogether. The works that are created may be very good. They may even be very emotionally moving. Personally, when I consider that they have no real emotional background, their appeal disappears. Their appeal lies only in the quality of the work, not their authenticity.

Metaphor use

Metaphors are an integral part of poetry. They are phrases that create relationships between things. Here, the poet relates two previously unrelated things or concepts and in essence allows one to see one in terms of the other. This relationship gets the reader thinking and understanding the description in a more vivid manner than if told in plain language. By associating a concept, situation, thing or emotion with another one is able to grasp the characteristic being attributed to the thing being described through the relationship of the thing describing. They therefore act as vehicles of description.

The metaphor also creates the beauty of poetry through this description of one thing in terms of another. Without the use of metaphors, poetry would be simple and plain. However, its use paints vivid pictures and imaginations, allowing the richness to flow and be created. They utilize the poet’s creativity and engage the reader’s imagination making the whole experience richer.

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IvyPanda. (2021, December 17). “Nothing in That Drawer” by Ron Padgett. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nothing-in-that-drawer-by-ron-padgett/

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IvyPanda. 2021. "“Nothing in That Drawer” by Ron Padgett." December 17, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nothing-in-that-drawer-by-ron-padgett/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '“Nothing in That Drawer” by Ron Padgett'. 17 December.

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