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Titanic, by David R. Slavitt
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Form

Form: Rhyme and Reason (or lack thereof)

     Slavitt does not use any particular form, rhyme, meter, or any other distinguishable patterns in Titanic. The first stanza consists of three lines; the second, three; the fourth, four; the fifth, three; and the last, one. Little structure of any kind exists in the poem. The poem in the form of prose adds to its stark intensity in that the reader must focus on the language itself (and its connotations) and not its rhythm.

     The first stanza can be read very easily, as in everyday speech. However, when one reads it aloud, the rest of the poem can take on a somewhat lyrical form in that the arrangement forces the reader to read it a certain way. In lines 5 and 6, after a brief pause of reflection, the speaker quickly lists glamorous accompaniments on the way down, ending with, Ah! One would most likely read this aloud in one breath, gaining speed as he or she reads.

     In the third stanza, Slavitt uses conjunctions to separate thoughts and again force reflection and place emphasis on certain phrases: this is what the world will do, and so it should. This is what will happen, how we will be remembered when we are gone.

Slavitt repeats one phrase in the poem: We all go. This line implies death, in that we all must die, or "go down." He uses it in line four and again in line fourteen. This use of repetition serves to cement what Slavitt is truly saying: we all die, but some deaths are more enviable than others.