Ashley White’s Key Passage Analysis of Mary Robinson’s “The Poet’s Garret”

“Stand quires of paper, white and beautiful!/Paper, by destiny ordain’d to be/ Scrawl’d o’er and blotted; dash’d, and scratch’d, and torn.” (page 636, lines 12-14)

In “The Poet’s Garret”, the author is introducing the reader to her workplace. She starts by describing what it feels like to be in there writing. She mentions that her imagination flows in her workplace and infers this is where great things are produced.

I chose lines 12-14 because to me, they emphasized how much Mary Robinson loved writing. She is talking about beautiful a stack of white paper is to her, and that she is fascinated with what a writer can do with it. She goes on to say that paper has a “destiny” which I thought was intriguing, like each piece of paper has the possibility to tell an incredible story. When she mentions that the paper is “blotted; dash’d, and scratch’d and torn, (line 14) she is referring to the fact that this piece of paper has to undergo a lot of work to produce a masterpiece. When she writes she makes notes, scratches them out, rips the paper and tears apart her work until she is satisfied with the outcome.

In lines 15-20, she elaborates on everything that she could do with this beautiful paper such as “sonnet, song, and ode…” This goes back to the paper having a “destiny” to fulfill. In line 20 she states “will there delight the reader”, suggesting that no matter what type of literature she produces, there is a reader who will appreciate her work.

I think that Mary Robinson wrote this about herself because it was written the year she died, and she might have wanted to give her readers a visual on what her workspace looked like. This poem also describes her love for all writing, no matter what kind. Mary Robinson did a lot of different types of writing, and even acted, and I think this poem emphasizes how much it really meant to her.

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