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New York has always been known to be one of the most vibrant and motivational cities in the world. Many books, poems, pieces of art, and songs have been dedicated to this beautiful place. Two poems that intriguingly capture the city's character are The Energy of New York by Louis Dienes and These Ever Just So Six Million Hearts and Dorothy by Robert Clairmont. Both of these poems describe the emotions and actions that take place in New York. However, Dienes simply portrays the movements that take place, without leaving the reader with a positive outlook towards the city. This contrasts with Clairmont's depiction since he portrays the city as being unforgettable and although he does not directly claim that New York is perfect, he sends a strong message across to the readers about the city's effect on people and makes it sound like a welcoming and accepting place to be. Both of the poems describe the same place, but they have a different effect on the reader and reveal varying aspects of the city.
Dienes has a direct and simple approach towards New York. In the poem, he illustrates the many acts that take place on a typical morning in the city. He talks about the trees, and how they are not comparable to those in "Italy, Greece, or Spain" because they aren't as lush. The walls of the buildings are said to be "asphalt ribbons" and the work done in factories is shown in a negative light. The poem goes on to list the many things that are brought into the city on a daily basis to meet the needs of its inhabitants. Dienes ends the poem with a mixed emotion: he claims that people in the city work for others and use all the goods brought in "to pass on to people in other places." This poem captures the energy that is ever present in the city, but does not describe it as being a good thing. Dienes' thoughts about the city can be traced back to his Dienes depicts the city in an extraordinary manner, making it a compelling and moving poem.
On the other hand, Clairmont's poem shows New York as being a memorable and life-changing place. The poem is written for a girl that has lived in New York, even though she does not originally belong to the city. The poet believes that once someone has inhabited the place, they cannot leave. The readers are made to imagine New York as a city that becomes a part of anyone who lives there. Clairmont states that the girl will not be happy anywhere else because she has "breathed the scent of New York too long." The poet sends across a very inviting air, making the poem sound almost musical. It is written in free verse, yet there is repetition that maintains the flow of the poem and keeps it interesting. Clairmont ends the poem by saying that the city will call the girl back, giving the readers the impression that the girl has loved the city and will never be able to live without it. It makes the city sound like a wonderful place to be in, a city where anyone will assimilate and be inspired.
Every place has both negative and positive aspects to it. Depending on the person, the effect of the area can vary. This fact is clearly evident when the poem Energy of New York and These Ever Just So Six Million Hearts and Dorothy are compared to each other. The way the city is portrayed is different, but interestingly, even the way certain aspects of the city are shown are dissimilar. For instance, Dienes and Clairmont both include a description of the floors. Dienes thinks of the roads in New York as "brick boxes covering the ground," while Clairmont makes even the floor seem unique by claiming that they are "ever just so New York floors and stones." Another characteristic that both poets incorporate into their writings is the people of New York. Dienes, again taking an unenthusiastic viewpoint, shows them as being humans simply "employed running engines made of machined parts." This makes them sound dull and makes the readers think that their life is repetitive and boring. Conversely, Clairmont describes the people with more wholehearted outlook. He states them as being "ever just so six million New York hearts," giving them a sense of distinctiveness and importance. By using the word "hearts," the poet adds a passionate feel to the people of the city. This passion is a factor not evident in Dienes' poem. There is a contrast in the perspectives of the poets which makes the same thing sound different.
Apart from the contrasting depictions of specific features of the city, there is also a difference in the way they are written. Dienes tries to persuade the readers of New York's tiresome monotony by using factual evidence. He lists the many items that are brought into the city and very frankly claims that they are used for other people instead of New York's own inhabitants. He does not attempt to stir the emotions of the reader, unlike Clairmont. Clairmont relies on the use of emotional exaggeration and personification to portray the vibrancy and significance of the city. No ethics are questioned and no logical reasoning is presented to the readers. The feelings of the readers are stirred to create a sense of belonging. The tools utilized by both poets to present their thoughts vary, sending different messages across for each one.
Upon viewing the differences in the two poets' ideas, the readers are made to question why these dissimilarities exist. One of the reasons of their existence is the poets' personal backgrounds. Dienes, being a poet and a photographer, studied Aesthetic Realism in New York at the age of 17. He believes in making poetry that is deep and alive, concerning things that the poet is surrounded by. He uses poetry to capture reality and to tackle "ethical problems." Interestingly, Clairmont's poems are often studied in Aesthetic Realism. However, he has a different take on poetry; he believes that poems should be "wild and exact." For him, poetry has to be beautiful and pleasant. The poets' ideologies about poetry are apparent in their poems, and show why the poets have written each poem in certain ways.
Nonetheless, there are some similarities that can be observed when the two poems are compared. One of these similarities is the way both poets address the greenery of the city. Dienes describes the blossoming trees but also claims that they are not "lushly." Clairmont tells the girl that no "greens and flowers" will please her after she has been in the city. This indirectly shows the readers that although New York is special, it does not have a green landscape. Another interesting common factor in the poems is the use of the word "sharp." Dienes emphasizes that New York has a "sharply defined form," where all buildings and vehicles are angular. This can also be used to describe the city itself. Clairmont uses the word to describe the girl's walk, after she has been influenced by the city. The poets have opposing perspectives about the city, but they agree on some aspects, highlighting the unchanging parts of New York.
New York is a beautiful and inspiring city, but it has different effects on each individual. This is apparent when the two poems Energy of New York and These Ever Just So Six Million Hearts and Dorothy are compared. While Dienes believes New York to be a mindless, dull, and tiring city, Clairmont thinks of it as an unforgettable abode. Through Dienes poem, the readers receive a unwelcoming description of the city. On the other hand, Clairmont makes the city seem like a very home-like place, where everyone fits in and becomes part of it. This heavy contrast is intriguing and shows that there is more than just one perspective towards the city. It proves that the city is not unchangingly perfect: there are people who do not appreciate it. The tow poets have opposing thoughts and the readers are given the impression that the city has had different effects on both of them. Nevertheless, some things about the poems are similar. These similarities emphasize the things about New York that are indeed exceptional and are the same through both poets' eyes. By comparing the two poems, the readers get a clearer understanding of the city, the kinds of people that live there, and how those people feel about being in it.