In Greg Pape’s poem “American Flamingo” he captures John James Audubon’s passionate view of the American flamingo. John James Audubon was an American ornithologist, outstanding artist and author of “Birds of America” (560). In the long history of writing, poetry has held a very special meaning for a human and to allow them to express all of their emotions. The poem “American Flamingo” combines the mysterious symbols of nature with the inexact emotional language. “American Flamingo” takes looking at the painting to another level. It was difficult to portray the many emotions Pape was trying to depict throughout the poem.
He comes off to be exceptionally stress-free and at ease with life and what he has experienced. “However; his metaphoric character allows readers of all ages to be able to find a connection with his poetry” (Fitzpatrick). Awesomely, Pape ties several of nature’s incredible elements into his poetry and writing such as; interactions between amazing creatures and their rare or beautiful habitats. On the other hand, He recognizes the high regard he holds for using language in physical representation of objects, animals, people, and places from memories rather than offering abstractions attached to emotion.
Pape was a man of very few words he powerfully described life’s minor events and unforgettable memories with metaphorical phrases and simile’s throughout the poem “American Flamingo” such as “the jockeys perched like bright beetle on the back of horses pounding down the stretch” (26-29) and “as they settled down again like a rose-colored fog on the pond” (41-42) Nature and the overlooked side of earth are given notice as Pape creates outstanding pictures with his astonishing words about the images he discovers in this beautiful, enormous world that we live in.
Right similar to piece of majestic artwork, “Pape allows the reader to take a step back and enjoy all the images that we sometimes take for granted or do not even notice” (Fitzpatrick). Many people just see a flamingo as a beautiful, intriguing, large, rose-pink colored bird that is always standing on one leg. Other than taking it to the next level and looking more in depth at the bird, like John James Audubon does in his painting and Greg Pape does in his poem. Audubon and Pape express the marvelous details to what makes this bird so magnificent.
In the poem Pape gives many descriptions of the flamingo and its beauty such as “I did not know the eyes of the flamingo are blue, a deep live blue. ”(2-3) And “beneath the over-draping feathered monument of the body, between the long flexible neck and the long bony legs covered with pink plates of flesh. ” (18-21). Too many people these qualities are not some of the first things noticed when one takes a glance at the overly large bird. Pape and Audubon take describing a flamingo to the extreme.
Even if one has never seen a flamingo in real life after reading Pape’s poem an exact image of the magnificent flamingo will be created. As the poem draws to an end Pape states “the loud flat metallic voice of the announcer fading as the flamingos, grazing the pond water at the far end of the infield, rose in a feathery blush only a few feet off the ground, and flew one long clipped-winged ritual lap in the heavy Miami light, a great swirl of grace from the old world that made tickets fall from hands, stilled horses , and drew toasts from the stands as they settled down again like a rose-colored fog on the pond (30-40). “American Flamingo” displays a range of bright pieces, often startling many with their generous spirit and frequently linking colorful memories of the past with present moments of indirect understanding or even slightly higher instances of enlightenment. “Each piece of Pape’s poetry increases readers’ awareness of relationships between nature and humans or between us and others, especially those close to us. As well, readers attain an acute appreciation for the impact of the past and on the present, or the way fragments of stored memories may influence our everyday lives. (Edward) After reading the poem “American Flamingo” I now have a new found knowledge on flamingos. Pape’s words created a picture perfect image in my head. He sets a tranquil mood with his vivid descriptions of flamingos. My prior knowledge of flamingos was very minimal, but due to Pape’s vivid words and amazing word description, I now know every specific detail about the deep live blue-eyed flamingo.
Byrne, Edward. "American Flamingo. Souther Illinois Universty Press, 21 Mar 2007. Web. Web. 13 Sep. 2012.
Fitzpatrick, Kelly. Good reads. N. p. , 13 Mar 2011. Web. Web. 16 Sep. 2012.
Pape, Greg “American Flamingo” Literature for Composition. Eds, Sylvan Barnet, William Burto, and William E. Cain 9th ed. Boston: Longman, 2011. 560-61. Print.