As D. A. Powell writes in his essay on the elegy’s structures in Structure & Surprise: Engaging Poetic Turns, the elegiac mode has three kinds of structures: one with a turn from grief to consolation; one with a turn from grief to the refusal of consolation; and one from grief to deeper grief. Below are a few poems (supplemental to those included in Structure & Surprise) which employ at least one of the elegiac structures.
Here are a few poems that turn from grief to consolation:
“Alfred Corning Clark,” by Robert Lowell (pp. 27-9). Lowell, perhaps, ekes out a little consolation at poem’s end.
“Frau Bauman, Frau Schmidt, Frau Schwartz,” by Theodore Roethke (readily available in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, vol. 2).
Helpful commentary on Roethke’s poem is available here.
“Babe Buried at Sea,” by Lydia Sigourney (on pp. 315-16).
“Elegy,” by Arthur Guiterman. A silly take on the move from grief to consolation.
Here are some elegies that turn from grief to the refusal of consolation:
“[the thicknesses of victor decreased…],” by D. A. Powell (in Tea (Hanover, NH: Wesleyan UP, 1998): 7).
Among many other things, Doug discusses this poem here.
A rich and complex book, Powell’s Tea begins with a series of elegies to friends and lovers who died from AIDS-related complications. Tea is vital reading for so many reasons, including the fact that it displays a variety of ways the contemporary elegy might be put to use.
“Photograph from September 11,” by Wislawa Szymborska. (Listen to it here.)
Here are some elegies that turn from grief to deeper grief:
“Elegy for a Long-Dead Friend,” by Michael Collier (in Dark Wild Realm (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006): 26-27). (Is the ending of this poem deeper grief, or, strangely, consolation?)