16 pages 32 minutes read

Derek Walcott

Love After Love

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1976

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Literary Devices

Form and Meter

“Love After Love” is a 15-line poem organized into four stanzas. The line lengths and metrical units in each line differ, and the poem is written in second person as a direct address to the reader or audience. “Love After Love” is Postmodernist in its approach and content. Stylistically, the use of free-verse and enjambment allow the poem to stand out from more traditionally formed poems.

“Love After Love” reads as a four-course meal laid out before the reader, in order to encourage them to “sit and feast” upon their life (Line 15) by giving “wine. Giv[ing] bread. Giv[ing] back your heart / to itself” (Lines 8-9). One of the motifs that marks the poem is the use of the meal, or sitting down and breaking bread with the inner self, in the way one would with an old friend or lover. The content of the poem is also enhanced by its form, which breaks down into a series of undefined courses in order to drive home the message: Feast upon your own life.

Walcott encourages the reader to look at themselves as something to learn, feast upon, and enjoy—instead of investing time in romantic love or love outside the self, Walcott encourages the reader to enjoy loving themselves.