Categorized Poems from Subjects for other Conversations In John Stigall’s book, Subjects for Other Conversations, all of the thirty-seven poems can be placed into one of five different categories.These categories include sadness, racism, happiness, sex, and religion. Sadness, the first category, includes ten of the thirty seven poems.These poems express hate, anger, and depression about many things in life, from growing old to losing a child.These poems are “Poem on Turning Forty,” “Poem on Turning Forty-Five,” “Blues,” “Impromptu,” “Into the Life of This World,” “Some People,” “The Revenant,” “In the Bibleblack Air,” “Approaching,” and “Final Approach”.In Stigall’s poem, “Poem on Turning Forty,” he talks about how women aren’t as attracted to him now.And you can tell he’s depressed about growing old.The poem “Into the Life of This World,” talks about losing a child at birth.
Stigall’s light use of words, such as perfect, calm, and silent agony, shows that this poem is full of intense emotions and sadness. I.At thirty-three, too young to be sickened into the light, my father’sbody-perfect, calm-forms a fetalcurl about its silent agony.His eyes, suggestive& articulate, explain.The lightwanesII. Silent, I refuse the firsts breaths (cradled in the light). My body- stillborn, calm, numb from the canal-appears deaf, dumbSee the physician & my mourning mothercurl over me, warping my flesh, weeping,praying me into the life of this world (30) The next category is racism.
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These three poems describe how racism still exists today.The poems show how hateful people can be towards someone of a different race.These poems are “December/ January,” “Brazil Nuts,” and “Up in Dixie”.In all three of these poems, Stigall never seems to show any anger.
He just tells of his experiences in plain and simple terms.In “Brazil Nuts,” Stigall talks about how when he was a child, how he never questioned racism.But now as a man he doesn’t understand why racism hasn’t gone away. When I was a ChildI understoodas a childI did not questionas a childI acceptedas a child But when I became a manthe old folksdown southstillcallthem Nigger Toes (39) Four of Stigall’s thirty-seven poems can be put into the category happiness.These four poems are light and pleasant.They talk about things such as music, people and Stigall’s children.
These poems are “This Sabbath Afternoon,” “No 3 Tanka,” “If the Past Ever Existed,” and “”101 West 123Rd Street”.In “This Sabbath Afternoon”, Stigall talks about watching his children playing.And while he’s there in that moment, nothing else seems to exist.This Sabbath afternoon, calm & mild & quiet,I quietly acknowledge that I am His childalthough two younger children call me “Dad”& behave as if childhood never included me.No one knows what I am thinking.
The day is calm. I am mildly quietjust watching my children explore the ground.I.