Monsters, Beasts, and Chimeras Poetry Friday Reading Themes

[Poetry Friday] Margaret Atwood’s Questioning the Dead

poetry friday

Myra here.

Two weeks ago, I shared the sadness in Sylvia Plath’s poem “Dialogue between Ghost and Priest.” Now I am back with another one of my favourite female poets who is also fearless when it comes to taking a stab at darkness, the inimitable Margaret Atwood. A few of her poems that I found in her book The Door seems to fit our bimonthly theme “Monsters, Beasts, and Chimeras: Spooks and Spectres.” 


Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Merely Day by Day.


While I love Atwood’s prose, I’ve always been more in love with her poetry. And so I took a picture of her poem entitled Questioning the Dead from her book of poetry called The Door. 

It speaks about our desire to communicate with loved ones long gone through various rituals and offerings – and the unspoken sentiments, unasked questions, unanswered ruminations.

I edited the screenshots using my iPhone app – hopefully the image would make your reading of the poem even more goosebumps-inducing.



*** Video ads other readers may find at the bottom of this post are NOT endorsed by GatheringBooks but are randomly included by WordPress to maintain their site. ***

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

10 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Margaret Atwood’s Questioning the Dead

  1. Ooh…I have chills. I do love her poetry, too, Myra – always unexpected.


  2. Cool! I like the ending of the poem! 🙂


  3. Creepy!



  4. maryleehahn

    Love that ending!

    Hey, on another note, I’m curious to know what the iPhone app is that you use for illustrating poetry. You mentioned it in a comment somewhere else on the PF roundup. Would you let me know what that app is, please? mlhahn at earthlink dot net. Thanks!!


    • Hi Mary Lee, I use FilterMania 2. It’s a free downloadable app. I just take photos of the poems and superimpose these built-in images. 🙂


  5. Very appropriate for Halloween! So mysterious. (Bonus points to Ms. Atwood for using “sibilants” in a poem!)


  6. Beautiful illustrations too, Myra. I love that idea of listening for the voice after dropping a pebble into a pool!


  7. What a wonderfully, spooky poem! I love it. Great imagery. Thanks for sharing!


  8. “The dead… smelling like damp hair, flickering like faulty toasters… their voices… dry as lentils falling into a glass jar.” This is why Margaret Atwood is my hero.


  9. I love this one. Thanks for sharing it. People know Atwood’s novels better than her poetry, but her poems are amazing. She’s such a keen observer of human nature. My favorite it “This Is a Photograph of Me.”


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