‘Girl Friend’ is written by the modern American poet Carolyn D. Wright. This poem is about a speaker’s love for her girlfriend. It is dedicated to a woman named Nina whom the speaker adores. In this poem, he shares a memory of first seeing the lady. He beautifully describes how the lady incited his past yearnings. This piece is dedicated to Nina, the speaker’s girlfriend whom he first saw a few summers ago. It is the prelude to their love story.
Explore Girl Friend
‘Girl Friend’ by C.D. Wright is a poem about the first encounter of a speaker with a person she loves.
The poem begins with a reference to the incident that concerns the speaker’s first encounter with her girlfriend. It was a few summers back. On that day, she looked extremely beautiful. The speaker saw her when he was climbing the staircase. Her looks aroused carnal feelings in his heart. In the next lines, Wright gives a description of the lady. She was not young. Besides, she tried to be a singer and turned out to be a poet. She was fond of schnapps. In the following lines, the speaker says how her looks aroused his past longings. All he wanted was to have a good time with her and transcend the boundaries to set out for the stars.
You can read the full poem here.
When I first saw her a few summers ago I felt.
A singer manqué. Among a small host of poets.
C.D. Wright’s ‘Girl Friend’ begins with an end-stopped line. The speaker seems to be a bit disheartened for not being able to be with a person he loved. He first saw the woman of his dreams a few summers ago. The term “summer” is a symbol of his old love. It was a day of summer when he felt her “photogenic spit”. It is a reference to her beautiful face that glowed in the sunlight.
He was climbing a shining staircase. From the height, he could easily discern her face. Her looks filled his heart with a wild desire. It felt like his “flammable skin” would catch the fire of her beauty.
The lady is not young anymore. Still, she radiates a beauty that is beyond time and aging. The speaker thinks the burden of aging might seem difficult to her. She had failed to be a singer but turned out to be a poet. From this description of the lady, it seems Wright is describing herself. But, there is no clear evidence regarding her identity.
country. The lack. Of. Everything.
The seventh line of ‘Girl Friend’ contains only a single word “Noisier”. This line marks a shift from the previous section. Here, the speaker describes her nature rather than her beauty. She was talkative. Sometimes it seemed to the speaker that she spoke more than men. Here, the term “noisier” is not used in its literal sense. It hints at her attitude towards patriarchy.
She quaffed schnapps, a type of alcoholic drink, as none had seen before. Hence, the speaker says that no photographic lens could capture her real beauty as a woman. She was strong, nonconformist, and a jubilant soul.
In the next line, the speaker zooms into her shoulders and hands. As he was looking down at her from the stairs, her prominent shoulders and moving hands came to his attention.
Her gaiety sparked the longings of his heart. Yearnings that are errant or wandering and verdant or evergreen. These longings are nothing but the speaker’s love for her. He somehow wanted to be with her and dream with her. The country of their dream would be their sole region. However, there was a “lack” that pained him deeply. It can be the fear to express his feelings to her or the fear of rejection.
The confusion. It is very difficult. One needs.
This “lack of everything” created confusion in the lover’s heart. It seemed difficult to her to pass his time without her. He could only her from a distance. The distance between them never ceased.
For this reason, the speaker says that he needs some sort of “golden books”. It is an allusion to children’s fairy tales. The speaker wants to be one character in such tales. If it was possible, he would use a miraculous ladder and extend it to the sky. The rest is not said in words. Readers have to imagine what the speaker wants to say further.
Through the phrase “a nursery for new stars”, the poet compares the starlit sky to a nursery. The stars are compared to newly bloomed flowers. In this imaginary garden, the speaker wants to spend time with his beloved.
‘Girl Friend’ is a free-verse lyric poem. It is told from the perspective of a first-person speaker. The text does not have a regular rhyme scheme or meter. In a few instances, Wright uses internal rhyming. The structure of the poem is also unconventional. Wright uses full stops instead of commas. Within a line, she uses several such metrical breaks that reflect the speaker’s state of mind. Some lines of the text are comparably longer than the neighboring lines. While, some of them are extremely short, consisting only of one or two words.
Wright makes use of the following literary devices in this poem.
- Enjambment: It occurs in a few instances. Wright uses this device to internally connect the lines. For instance, it can be found in “Among a small host of poets./ Noisier/ than the men.”
- Alliteration: This device can be found in “climbing a coruscating”, “Errant. Verdant“, “nursery for new”, etc.
- Metaphor: The phrase “photogenic spit” contains a metaphor of a lady’s face. It also occurs in “set of golden books” and “nursery for new stars”.
- Anticipation: Wright uses this device in the last line of the poem. Here, the poet implies what might happen after the speaker imaginatively reaches the stars.
The poem ‘Girl Friend’ was first published in C.D. Wright’s collection of poems Steal Away: New and Selected Poems. It was published in 2002 and was selected for the 2003 International Griffin Poetry Prize. The “Girl Friend” series of poems appear with numerical marking. In this series, the poet captures the development of a love story. Readers can find surprising effects in the diction of ‘Girl Friend’. Wright makes use of phrases of French and allusion to other works in this piece. It is important to mention that this poem beautifully captures the beginning of a modern-day love story.
C.D. Wright’s poem ‘Girl Friend’ is about the first encounter of a speaker with a lady. In this poem, the speaker describes her looks and how badly he wants to be with her. This poem can be treated as an introduction to a modern love story.
‘Girl Friend’ was first published in 2002 in Carolyn D. Wright’s poetry collection Steal Away: New and Selected Poems. This collection contains a series of “Girl Friend” poems capturing a modern love story.
In this poem, Wright explores the themes of love at first sight, desire, longing, and womanhood. The main theme of this piece concerns love and relationship. It is about the feelings of a speaker after the first encounter with a woman.
The speaker of this poem is a man who is in love with a lady whom he saw a few years ago. In the text, there is no clear reference to the gender of the speaker. The speaker can be a woman or a man. From the diction, it seems the speaker is probably the poet herself.
The phrase “Her photogenic spit” appears in the second line of ‘Girl Friend’. Through this phrase, the speaker describes the captivating beauty of a lady mentioned in the poem. The term “photogenic” means looking attractive in a photo. So, the speaker is hinting at the attractive image of the lady clicked by his mind’s eyes.
The following poems are similar to the themes present in C.D. Wright’s poem ‘Girl Friend’.
- ‘Show’ by Owen Sheers — This poem explores two contrasting scenes, one of the poet’s girlfriend, entering the room and the other of the models’ catwalk. Explore more Owen Sheers poems.
- ‘For a Traveler’ by Jessica Greenbaum — This piece is about finding a perfect location to love. Read more Jessica Greenbaum poems.
- ‘Love Letter (Clouds)’ by Sarah Manguso — This poem explores the end of relationships and wastage of time. Explore more Sarah Manguso poems.
- ‘First Love’ by John Clare — This piece describes the sudden, overwhelming love a speaker feels for a woman he is seeing for the first time. Read more John Clare poems.
You can also read about these incredible poems for a girlfriend.