Composition

Outer composition

The poem “How To Eat a Poem” by Eve Merriam has a simple outer composition. The poem is structured into three stanzas of different lengths, with a total of 14 verses. The verses vary in length, from two to eleven words each. 

The first stanza has four sentences split into five verses:

Don’t be polite.

Bite in.

Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that

may run down your chin.

It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are. (ll. 1-5)

The second stanza contains two verses:

You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth. (ll. 6-7)

The third stanza contains seven verses and takes the form of a list:

For there is no core
or stem
or rind
or pit
or seed
or skin
to throw away. (ll. 8-14)

The poem is written in free-verse an...

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