Comparatively, the changes may be drastic but the impact of his poems remain the same and it is for this reason that he remained an influential poet throughout his lifetime and beyond.
“A Map of the City” is that characteristic early work of Gunn which encapsulates why he had become a prominent name in The Movement in the 1950s. The style, incorporating the obvious rhythm and rhyme in each line, makes it in that great British tradition of classic poetry. The first stanza, in all its four lines ends with the same syllable with much stress on the ‘e’ sound. This recurs throughout the poem together with other syllabic sounds that are used regularly throughout. Also, the poem was traditionally constructed as a quatrain with four lines in each of its five stanzas. Then, with “On The Move ‘Man, You Gotta Go.’” there has been a slight deviation from the traditional meter with the use of varying rhymes but certain sounds recur such as the ‘o’ and ‘e’ sounds. There is also still that inclination to adhere to traditional form as each of the five stanzas is composed of an octave. However, though the ‘e’ and ‘th’ sounds are also repeated in “In Time of Plague,” they do not appear to be placed consciously as Gunn moves toward the free verse approach. The stanzas do not have uniformity in terms of rhyme and meter as the first stanza has 13 lines, the second has 15, the third has four, and the last has six. This shows an unrestricted adoption of poetic verse where Gunn has transformed his poetry away from the identity of The Movement toward a nonconformist standpoint.
It would be amiss to talk about or even understand how the poetry of Gunn has progressed without taking into consideration the major changes he had effected in his life. In his earlier years, Gunn had already established himself as a major poet alongside Larkin ...Show more