Line Breaks and Structure of “Guantanamo”

After researching “Guantanamo” by Jorie Graham for my group project, I became really interested in the subject and some of the issues of accountability that she brings up throughout the poem. Something I think is worth discussing more is the overall structure of the poem as well as the line breaks used. Looking closer at the poem and our analysis, I think these structuring choices were done in order to emphasize the overall shocking manner in which the issues at Guantanamo were addressed. During the time when more and more information about the prison was starting to surface, the public seemed to get little snippets of details a little at a time. I think the chaos of this is reflected in the structure of the poem and how most of the lines are broken up into smaller, seemingly incomplete phrases. Also, the high level of secrecy that the government tried to maintain in regards to Guantanamo could be another reason for the choppy structure of the poem. The public was getting mixed information from different sources about what was really going on at the prison, and their confusion and refusal to address any of it can be seen throughout the poem. Graham talks about the accountability of the U.S. citizens, and the fact that they didn’t want to address what was going on or were unaware of many of the issues shows in the unorganized layout of the poem.

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