The identification of two stylistic devices that give Magistrale’s poems, “Perfection Undone by Love,” and “My Vampire Love,” their powerful effect on the reader and a look at how does each element of style contribute to the poems’ apparent pessimistic view of the human experience of love?
One element of style that is present in both “Perfection Undone by Love” and “My Vampire Love” is diction. As we heard in class from Magistrale’s wife, Anthony Magistrale writes his poems over and over again until they are perfect. This point emphasizes the importance of diction in the collection of poems in What She Says About Love. Magistrale’s word choice within these two poems lend to the presentation of a pessimistic view on love. In “Perfection Undone by Love”, Magistrale chooses words such as war and blood to portray the gruesome battle that love can become. He also chooses the phrase “loss of innocence”, I find this phrase to be most interesting because many associate love with something good and pure. Magistrale sees love as something that rips the innocence from women in the poem. In “My Vampire Love”, the use of words such as vampire and redden lend to the portrayal of love. This depiction of love is one in which one participant is siphoning the life out of the relationship as a vampire does to its victim. In both poems, Magistrale is able to place emphasis on a more pessimistic outlook on love through the use of word choice.
Another element that is presented in both “Perfection Undone by Love” and “My Vampire Love” is vivid imagery. The use of Magistrale’s vivid imagery reveals situations that shed light on the negative aspects of love. In “Perfection Undone by Love” we are presented with a beautiful young woman who seems to have everything going for her. In the following stanza we see the repercussions of love through the use of vivid imagery. Images such as “bandages of war” and “drew blood from her heart’s opening love” illustrate the gruesome, war-like relationship that love can become. In “My Vampire Love” the same pessimistic view of love is presented through the use of vivid imagery. The image that is presented with the scene being set at night, makes the relationship seem negative and unworthy of being in the presence of the daylight. The image of the women reddening her lips plays right into the stereotypical vampire sucking blood from its prey. Magistrale’s use of vivid imagery allows us to see the darker side of love.