Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and unique qualities in addition to its apparent meaning. It may be written independently or may be presented in conjunction with others. It usually uses specific terms to suggest alternative meanings in the words or to bring emotional or sensual feelings. It basically uses styles such as rhythm, alliteration, assonance, consonance to achieve musical effects. Poetry normally has a subject matter commonly known as a theme (Allen, 23).
In this essay, we shall look at three poems by Ndrek Gjini with titles 'Wartime', 'This night' and 'I saw the word'. The first poem, 'Wartime', has the major theme as war. The persona recounts how bullets are falling like rain everyday. This creates a mental picture in our mind of how the place is full of chaos. He goes ahead to say that his body is swimming in tears and blood and the screams are climbing up to the clouds. This adds to the number of thematic issues addressed as suffering and violence are clearly seen. Finally, a theme of death is brought out as the persona claims that worms are counting the holes of dead bodies. The poet has employed styles such as metaphor and personifications. The poem is a short one, as it has two stanzas (Allen, 633).
The second poem by the same poet goes by the title 'The night'. It opens with the persona claiming that the night is pregnant with dark and panic. A thematic issue of violence is clearly seen in this poem. There is panic and people are living in fear. The darkness is likened to an old witch and therefore people can hardly sleep a wink. Fear and terror are also brought out as subject matters in this poem (Allen, 638).The people in this society are going to have their dreams shattered and being left hopeless owing to violence. After the dreadful night, unbearable day will be ushered. The poet has employed devices such as similes and personification. The third poem by the same poet goes by the title, 'I saw the word'. The major theme is violence. The violators are allegedly said to have nailed some people on the cross. The stylistic device used in this poem is personification (Allen, 644).
From the above three poems by Ndrek Djini, there is a consistency in styles and thematic concerns as portrayed by the poet. The subjects' matters are mainly three as seen, violence, war and sufferings in addition to fear. The stylistic devices as seen are personification, simile and metaphor (Allen, 652). The three poems are short poems comprising of stanzas not more than three. The uses of styles in these poems have assisted in laying emphasis besides creating mental pictures in the mind of the reader. This helps the reader to easily understand the message being passed by the poet. However, much as these poems might appear as some good artistic work, critics have a different view all together (Allen, 656).
Ndrek's poetry was first seen as not being poetry at all. Many critics attacked his work on the basis of interweaving of quotations from other authors into his work. He defended his work as adding richness through surprising juxtaposition. Other critics have attacked and strongly condemned the literary work as portraying lack of originality and having been plagiarized. The short poem 'Wartime' has some lines with similar wording like the poem by Mark R. Slaughter, 'A One-On-One Skirmish in War' (John, 34). Following this, some critics deduce that immature poets just imitate those who are mature; poets who are bad deface what they take, those who are good and in this case rare to find, make it into something better or rather into something that appears different (John, 35)
From the above criticism, I seem to read from the same script with these critics. Ndrek's poetry work is greatly plagiarized from other well known poets of the old. A poem by Walt Whitman, 'O Captain My Captain', has similar wording and has been given the same approach as Ndrek's. Although it cannot be considered as a great evil to borrow from other writers as every time a work of literature is re-written, it sparks a new feeling in reader's mind and the attitude might change (Andrew, 103). In the same breath, when a poem is written again with the similar message but different wording, it enables most readers to understand and appreciate some poems as some of them and indeed most of them are difficult to understand in their original context. In some cases, a reader can read a poem and fail to grab anything from it. When the same work of art is paraphrased by another poet, it absolutely appears easier for one to understand (Andrew, 105).
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Ndrek's poetry work has continued to receive views from critics across the globe. Specifically, his poetry is seen as having a depth that is composed of political, war and emotional layers. He is seen as having taken on universal themes while maintaining a personal connection. His exploration of ideologies including personal and professional, war and fear, violence and loss, creates tension that runs throughout his poetry (Andrew, 108). His work has been described as dark, mysterious, sophisticated and socially conscious. His work is likened to that of Bella Akhmadulina a Russian poet who was described by the government of her time as being too personal and emotional causing her trouble. Her criticism contradicts earlier dispositions by some scholars who commend her for her witty use of metaphor to comment on society and the natural world as well as her ability to create and sustain her personal perspectives in her poems (Andrew, 111).
From the above, to describe Ndrek's poetry work as having been based on universal themes is indeed a fact. Due to this, his literary works usually create tension and fear in the mind of the reader throughout. He has taken work by other poets before him and has taken it to be his work while maintaining a personal connection. This clearly portrays him as being too emotional and personal as earlier seen. It also contributes to his work seen as being dark, mysterious and sophisticated.
In yet other dispositions, critics have continued to express their views on Ndrek Djini poetry work. Critics have lauded his emphasis of warlike themes, particularly his examination of individual consciousness and how it is affected by the world outside. His work has been decried as being not too academic due to the simplicity of his verse. Similarly his work has been seen as self-indulgent, obscure and overly pessimistic (Andrew, 116). His use of humor has equally been questioned with some critics stating that it sometimes descends into mere witness or sarcasm. Despite mixed reactions to his poetry and lack of what some consider serious scholarly study of his work, many critics have applauded his ability to address contemporary concerns such as insecurity, the limits of language, in a way that is relevant, compassionate, and thought as provoking (Andrew, 118).
In my opinion, Ndrek's poetry work is a classical example of scholarly work which has been taken for granted. Most of his poems are very short and therefore the subject matter not clearly brought out. The simplicity of the diction adds the more to him being not serious. Though this allows him to connect to the readers very fast, it does not, but instead encourage critical thinking to a reader. However, I support the fact that he addresses the contemporary issues in a society. His poems are connecting with diverse issues affecting societies globally. These are such things as war, violence, insecurity and fear.
In conclusion, Ndrek participated in the literary life of his poetry work regardless of critical attention. His poetry is still doing what it wants to do and is ahead of what has been written about it (Andrew, 221).
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