The Great Poem Series: Dana Gioia’s “Meet Me at the Lighthouse”
The Poem “Meet Me at the Lighthouse,” By Dana Gioia, in the 2016 BAP is a poem about reminiscing on the past. The Poem talks about how He misses the past, and wishes he could go back. I love how the poem is about the coast and how this was a place where they met, or a place of fun. It just reminds me of all the crazy fun times I’ve had at the beach and reminds me of the past and the good days. It sounds like in this poem he could be talking about
a wife that may be dead or dying. After looking in the back I have learned it is a loved one but it was his cousin that was also his closest childhood friend, who was dying and this was a place they would go to to listen to jazz. He said he couldn’t go back to this place because it just to hard.
The first attribute about the poem that I loves the fact that he is talking about this memory. I’m not 100 percent sure why I love this, I just love that fact that he is remembering a place that was so important to him. A place that shaped him into the person he is today and it was with family. The thing that makes this memory so vivid and glorious to see. The language he uses in his poem makes you just see this place perfectly, although I’ve never been I am able to make up a picture of what he is talking about, making it almost feel like it’s my own memory that I’m reading. I find it amazing that a writer can do this with his words in such a short time, he can tell and whole story and make if feel as if you were there as well. “Let’s aim for the summer of ‘71,” I love this quote just because he was remembering this place that they loved and this one time he remembers the most, this exact year tells you how important or memorable it was.
When I first read the story I thought it was more of a love poem, I thought it was possible that it was even an older couple remembering the night they met or something. However this is not the case, it’s not a love poem, even though it could be one if written to the right person. He wrote this as sort of a love poem, it was love for his cousin. They were best friends and having this special bond with someone that is family a special connection and a different kind of love comes from it. Even though it’s is not a love poem for a significant other it is still looking back to when times were better. Professor Gioia wrote this poem for his cousin who was sick and died. He wrote this so he could remember the good times they had at this place without going back, because in the back of the 2016 BAP he says “Since his early death, I’ve never had the heart to revisit our old haunt.” This just shows how important this poem is to the writer and makes a stronger connection to the reader. He uses this storytelling method that pulls the reader in. “I’ll pick up the cover charge, find us a table, and order a round of their watery drinks.” This quote shows how he remembers the details, the watered drinks, how he paid, and he talks as if it is present and if the reader is the one he is talking to, which really pulls in the reader because it’s like a conversation.
I find interesting that Professor Gioia has decided to make stop endings. I find it interesting because is talking about his dead cousin. So is he saying that there is always an end and there is no way of stopping it? It is also possible that he was putting out that death is abrupt and it just ends. I think this is true. A lot of the time the death of a friend is unexpected and people don’t know it’s coming. Not only does he make these stop innings his last line is about how death is the collector. Death is keeping tabs on people and he is just waiting for death so that he is able to collect the souls. Dana Gioia is very clever on how he presents this because it’s not noticeable to the naked eye. Only after reading it a couple times and knowing who / what it is about then you can understand. One last thing he does to represent this death is using alliteration, to me this represents death because when I see words that start with the same letter it reminds me of a Heat meter going flat. I this this is very effective in this poem and really gives life to his poem.
In the end this is one of my favorite poems that I have read. It reminds me of so many memories that I have and it creates a new one. As I have stated before the poem talks about his cousin and there adventures to this club. This club is a Jazz club where some of the more popular West Coast Jazz player would play. There are names in the poem that you may recognize because he uses the names of some of the Jazz players he and his cousin listened to while at this club. This poem to me is able to be read by just about anyone and they would get some type of meaning from it. It maybe the same type of thought but pulling of different parts of the poem you find different things and I learn more every time I read it and explore what the poem has to offer.