ENGL100 English

ENGL100 English.

Remember to choose only one topic, and one question within that topic, as a writing prompt for your essay, or, if you prefer, you can just use the title of your topic as the guide for your discussion of this poem.

1.  The Imagery of Consumption: Why does Paley compare making a pie to writing a poem, and what is she saying about poetry through the contrasting imagery of the other chosen activity of  pie-making and eating? What is she saying about the effects of pies and poems through the clever imagery and diction of consumption? In what ways is making a pie like and unlike writing a poem, and what is the purpose of both activities? Similarly, how is eating a pie like and unlike reading a poem?  Even though the speaker sounds a bit depressed about the likelihood of finding the same appreciative audience for a poem as she will for her pie, what are some of the ways that she hints  poems are still better than pies, or at least a good alternative?

2. A ‘Responsive Eatership: What type of audience does Paley expect to find for her pie? How does she characterize them, and how would the audience for a poem be different? What would these differences imply about the nature and value of writing poetry?  Why does she choose to please an immediate pie-audience over the more unlikely audience for her potential poem? What makes the audience for a poem so select and hard-to-find? Does the audience matter at all?  Why is the poet/ speaker normally satisfied to write for an imaginary or small audience?  Is the poem suggesting that having an audience for a poem does not matter as much as finding a ‘responsive eatership’ for a pie?  Why or why not, and if so, what does this imply about poems as contrasted with pies? An uneaten pie would be wasted, but what about an unread poem?

3.  The Choice of the title: Consider the title and the option that it represents to the speaker of the poem. Why does she, on this particular morning, choose to make a pie rather than to write a poem?  Note that Grace Paley was a very successful poet, even being short-listed for the Pulitizer Prize in poetry at one point, so why is pie-making only an ‘occasional alternative’ to poetry for her?  Why doesn’t the speaker choose to make pies all the time? Why does she write poetry at all? What does the fact that this activity is only an ‘occasional’ option suggest about the speaker’s attitude to the importance of being a poet?  Why does she continue to do it when pie-making is so much easier and more gratifying? (Don’t just speculate but base your answer on the poem, its imagery and the comparison it makes between pies and poems).

ENGL100 English

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