16 pages 32 minutes read

Peter Meinke

Advice to My Son

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1991

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"To a Daughter with Artistic Talent" by Peter Meinke (1991)

Included in Liquid Paper (1991), “To a Daughter with Artistic Talent” was written several years after “Advice to My Son.” The poem has a similar theme, with the speaker offering life guidance to a daughter who loves to paint. However, unlike “Advice to My Son,” the mood in “To a Daughter […]” is more melancholy and nostalgic, mourning the loss of the daughter’s childish creativity years in advance. Unlike in “Advice to My Son,” there is little irony here to ease the poet’s realization that artists have to contend with the world’s practical demands. The poem is useful to study the range and evolution of Meinke’s style. Here, he uses a far more painterly approach than in “Advice to My Son,” and the surrealist imagery is starker and otherworldly, almost as if Meinke has entered his child’s vivid imagination.

"If" by Rudyard Kipling (1895)

A traditional example of the advice poem in English, “If” by was written by English poet Kipling circa 1895. In “If,” the speaker conveys to their son the stoic, courageous values he must inculcate in order to live a worthy life.