Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Naoshi Koriyama - A Loaf of Poetry (Overview Part 2)

This is part 2 of the analysis of Koriyama's "A Loaf of Poetry". Read a brief introduction of mine and find facts about the poet's life, the poem's structure (rhyme, meter, sounds, divisions, turning point), persona, and the first half of the poem here:

Naoshi Koriyama - A Loaf of Poetry (Overview)

This part completes the analysis of the poem's content and discusses the symbolism found in it as well as the title and overall message.

Naoshi Koriyama - A Loaf of Poetry


  • part 2 
    • 10 lines 
    • this part describes the results of the work put in and the final stages 
    • this part also can be subdivided into categories 
      • the verbs used
        • puffs out
        • knead 
        • shape
        • bake
      • the abstract qualities that go into the poem/recipe
        • inner force 
        • round form
        • heart  
      • no ingredients are necessary but an instrument: the oven 
    • links created in this part are
      • inner force makes the dough puff out
      • the shape given is a round one 
      • the dough is baked in the oven of your heart
    • conclusion: 
      • once worked well, the poem has its own inner force which resides in the combination of experience and inspiration (when the yeast is added to the dough and worked well by kneading and pounding) 
      • once more, the poem is reworked (kneaded again) and at this time is given its final shape
      • the shape chosen is round – why?
        • a poem comes full circle, creating a perfect shape which encompasses all the emotions and ideas the poet wants to include in it
        • a circle is the shape where the center is placed at an equal distance to all points in a plane, creating a symmetry; poetry is also symmetrical and places equal weight on all the concepts dealt with, all the verses and stanzas included within, every single word chosen
        • the Ancient Greeks considered circles to be the perfect shape which reflected the divine symmetry found in nature: poetry for poets is also considered as a reflection of life or self and revered as such 
      • the final stage of a poem is connected with fire:
        • the heart is the instrument a poem must pass through to finally be forged
        • the oven, being connected to the heart, shows both a poet’s passion and love for his or her work


  • bread (extended metaphor for a poem)
    • basic form of sustenance 
      • poetry is as vital as bread is to our diet
      • it is usually taken for granted (its importance is often overseen because it is a given fact for most that it is there during each meal), yet it is a necessary element 
    • powerful symbol used especially in Christianity to seal the communion between God and mankind (cf. the Last Supper)
      • bread in this sense denotes
        • spiritual food: that which provides spiritual satiation
        • the bread of life: that which when consumed gives life (bodily and spiritually) 
        • generosity and bounty: Christ’s feeding of the multitude (in 2 cases in the New Testament)
          • the feeding of the 5000: the miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fish near Bethsaida
          • the feeding of the 4000: with 7 loaves and a few fish 
        • holy communion: Christ’s body is received by the faithful, uniting that which is mortal to the immortal
        • sacrifice: Christ sacrificed himself for mankind, something which is remembered each time bread is offered at communion 
        • unity and fraternity: sharing of bread during the Last Supper was also a gesture denoting familial ties among those present 
    • ancient civilizations placed great importance on bread: 
      • the Ancient Greeks
        • offered bread to the gods  (during the rural Dionysia, festivals held in honor of Dionysus, obeliaphoroi took part in the procession carrying baskets with long loaves of bread)
        • revered the goddess Demeter (goddess of agriculture, grain and bread, fertility)
        • a number of festivals in honor of Demeter were held throughout the year 
          • during the Megalartia celebrated on the island of Delos, large loaves of bread were carried in a procession
          • Megalartios was the name given to a month in the town of Halos in Thessaly
      • the Ancient Romans
        • bakers unionized and were held in high esteem
        • a seat at the Senate was reserved for a representative of their guild 
        • the process of bread-making is well-documented (cf. Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia; Cato’s On Agriculture, et al.) and appears in frescoes / bas-reliefs 
        • revered the goddess Ceres (goddess of grain and, by extension, bread) 
      • the Ancient Egyptians 
        • bread was the symbol of all food offerings to the gods & all that was good
        • their Book of the Dead (Book of Coming Forth by Day) makes several references to bread as gifts given to the gods or received of them once the soul of the deceased has been cleansed
          • “the bread of the gods … the bread of the child”
          • Let there be given unto me vessels of milk, and cakes, and loaves of bread …”
          • “I have given bread to the hungry man …”
        • the goddess Isis was also known as the Lady of Bread (one of the many epithets connecting her to agriculture & tying her to Demeter and Ceres)
        • the god Osiris is connected to grain (the cycle of life and death) and joins the notion of immortality to bread:
          • I am Osiris . . . I live and grow as Neper [“Corn” or “Grain”], whom the august gods bring forth that I may cover Geb [the earth], whether I be alive or dead. I am barley, I am not destroyed.” (The Coffin Texts, collection of funeral incantations inscribed on coffins to help steer the deceased in the afterlife) 
        • inside Egyptian tombs, offering tables, upon which gifts were offered to the gods, were often laden with bread loaves (many tables also displayed ornately carved bread loaves on them)
    • the poem shows the connection between the work involved in baking & writing 
      • you need dough and yeast like you need experience and work to produce a poem 
      • poetry requires shaping and once that is done, the poem rises to become what it is meant to become through its inner force
      • the focus of Koriyama’s poem is in its finale: 
        • poetry must be baked with love 
        • a poem is part of a poet’s heart


  • is the place where the metaphor is presented to the reader so that the poem makes sense
  • it links the process of writing a poem to the process of baking bread
  • it is an intriguing and therefore effective title: 
    • readers want to see how these two concepts are joined
  • it is a simple, straight-forward title which explicitly states the central idea of the poem 
    • this is in line with the poem itself which is simplistic in form and wording (cf. overall structure)


  • Koriyama most likely wanted to make readers think about the work that takes place behind the words they see as they read a poem
  • he focuses on 
    • the love poets put into their poems 
    • the effort needed to create a poem which requires rewrites, corrections, alterations, improvements 
    • how a poem is a part of the poet himself/herself because it is forged in his/her heart
    • the prerequisite skills needed to write a poem which are experience and inspiration
    • the basic sustenance that a poem provides
  • as the poem itself visually rises and falls in the undulating lines that horizontally move in and out, readers feel that they too could create such a ‘staple’ given time, inspiration, experience and effort 
If you want to read more literary analyses (either poems, short stories or novels) click on the image below.

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