Epiphanic Structure

In her entry in “Endless Structures” in Structure & Surprise: Engaging Poetic Turns, Rachel Zucker references three poems that turn to sudden revelation near their conclusion.  Here are links to those poems:

“Archaic Torso of Apollo,” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Here is Mark Doty on Rilke’s great poem.

“A Blessing,” by James Wright

“Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota,” by James Wright

Other poems that feature a sudden, final revelation include:

“Just,” by Alan Shapiro

“Body as Argument,” by Jillian Weise (in The Amputee’s Guide to Sex (Soft Skull, 2007), p. 81).


3 responses

8 05 2012
Writing a Metaphor-to-Meaning Poem « Structure & Surprise

[…] Here are two student poems that ended up fitting the metaphor-to-meaning structure perfectly.  Yet, even though these poems closely engage the structure, they do so in very different ways.  With the metaphoric status of the blister(-as-poem) remaining a mystery until the end, Anjelica Rodriguez’s “Blister” makes a beautiful kind of surprising sense.  However, the turn in Stephen Whitfield’s “Maturity” is more sudden, more shocking—it resonates with what Rachel Zucker calls the epiphanic structure. […]

16 01 2014
Turning the Bad Poem into the Great | Structure & Surprise

[…] Rachel Zucker discusses “Archaic Torso of Apollo” as a kind of turn that she calls “the Epiphanic structure.”  About poems using this kind of structure, this pattern of turns, Zucker states, “The […]

14 06 2017
Some Surprising Lesson Plans | Structure & Surprise

[…] Also of particular interest is lesson 4, “Wonder: The Poet Surprises Herself,” which focuses on a kind of turn we here have come to call, after Rachel Zucker’s naming it as such, an “epiphanic poem.” […]

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