Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Restored Thread

 

#1 8th April 2006, 01:29 PM

katrina

 

Have recently had to go and observe some sixth form lessons, where i came across a class discussing Duffy's 'The World's Wife', I immediatley felt compelled to go and buy the collection, and was really disappointed that i was only able to see two lessons worth of discussion on the poems. I'm about to start reading through a collection of Duffy's work and thought it would be interesting tobe able to discuss or get input from others as i usually try to avoid poetry as it always seems a bit scary. Below is my fav poem of Duffy's that i have discovered so far, would be glad to hear other peoples opinion on her work.

 

Mrs Midas

 

It was late September. I'd just poured a glass of wine, begun

to unwind, while the vegetables cooked. The kitchen

filled with the smell of itself, relaxed, its steamy breath

gently blanching the windows. So I opened one,

then with my fingers wiped the other's glass like a brow.

He was standing under the pear tree snapping a twig.

 

Now the garden was long and the visibility poor, the way

the dark of the ground seems to drink the light of the sky,

but that twig in his hand was gold. And then he plucked

a pear from a branch - we grew Fondante d'Automne -

and it sat in his palm like a light bulb. On.

I thought to myself, Is he putting fairy lights in the tree?

 

He came into the house. The doorknobs gleamed.

He drew the blinds. You know the mind; I thought of

the Field of the Cloth of Gold and of Miss Macready.

He sat in that chair like a king on a burnished throne.

The look on his face was strange, wild, vain. I said,

What in the name of God is going on? He started to laugh.

 

I served up the meal. For starters, corn on the cob.

Within seconds he was spitting out the teeth of the rich.

He toyed with his spoon, then mine, then with the knives, the forks.

He asked where was the wine. I poured with shaking hand,

a fragrent, bone-dry white from Italy, then watched

as he picked up the glass, goblet, golden chalice, drank.

 

It was then that I started to scream. He sank to his knees.

After we had both calmed down, I finished the wine

on my own, hearing him out. I made him sit

on the other side of the room and keep his hands to himself.

I locked the cat in the cellar. I moved the phone.

The toilet I didn't mind. I couldn't believe my ears:

 

how he'd had a wish. Look, we all have wishes; granted.

But who has wishes granted? Him. Do you know about gold?

It feeds no one; aurum, soft, untarnishable; slakes

no thirst. He tried to light a cigarette; I gazed, entranced,

as the blue flame played on its luteous stem. At least,

I said, you'll be able to give up smoking for good.

 

Seperate beds. In fact, I put a chair against my door,

near petrified. He was below, turning the spare room

into the tomb of Tutankhamun. You see, we were passionate then,

in those halcyon days; unwrapping each other, rapidly,

like presents, fast food. But now I feared his honeyed embrace,

the kiss that would turn my lips to a work of art.

 

And who, when it comes to the crunch, can live

with a heart of gold? That night, I dreamt I bore

his child, its perfect ore limbs, its little tongue

like a precious latch, its amber eyes

holding their pupils like flies. My dream-milk

burned in my breasts. I woke to the streaming sun.

 

So he had to move out. We'd a caravan

in the wilds, in a glade of its own. I drove him up

under cover of dark. He sat in the back.

And then I came home, the women who married the fool

who wished for gold. At first I visited, odd times,

parking the car a good way off, then walking.

 

You knew you were getting close. Golden trout

on the grass. One day, a hare hung from a larch,

a beautiful lemon mistake. And then his footprints,

glistening next to the river's path. He was thin,

delirious; hearing, he said, the music of Pan

from the woods. Listen. That was the last straw.

 

What gets me now is not the idiocy or greed

but lack of thought for me. Pure selfishness. I sold

the contents of the house and came down here.

I think of him in certain lights, dawn, late afternoon,

and once a bowl of apples stopped me dead. I miss most,

even now, his hands, his warm hands on my skin, his touch.

 

#2 8th April 2006, 03:31 PM

megustaleer

 

I posted the following in the TS Eliot Prize thread, back in December. I thought it worth copying into this thread.

Quote:

I read 'The World's Wife' as a bookgroup choice in the summer. i enjoyed it very much, although it was not popular with other members...it helps if you know a bit about CAD's history.

 

Many of the poems are quite angry, and anti-men, some are funny.

 

'Red Riding Cap' is somewhat autobiographical, refering back to her relationship with Adrian Henri.

I'm sure you will have come across 'Mrs Midas' before, I think it is the most well known of the collection.

'Mrs Icarus' is pithy and funny...compare with Auden's 'Musee des Beaux Arts'

'The Devil's Wife', I seem to remember, is about Myra Hindley.

 

The poems deserve to be re-read several times, and pondered upon!

 

 

 

I am still re-reading...and pondering!

 

#3 8th April 2006, 06:15 PM

Thumbsucker

 

Duffy's poetry is fantastic and something that young people can easily respond to. The poems they have selected for exploration in the AQA Anthology for GCSE are a good selection. Some like Salome and Anne Hathaway are from The World's Wife. The latter causes many blushes in the classroom but it always interests the boys!

 

#4 28th May 2006, 06:12 PM

Harriet

 

I've just done my English Lit GCSE, and we had to study Havisham, Education for Leisure, Salome, and erm..a few more.. Anyway, I really enjoyed them, I thought Duffy's style of writing was really excellent, especially when you have to look really deeply into like you have to in exams. We also studied Simon Armitage, who I also enjoyed but I dnd't really like him as much because his poems didn't really have one definate meaning to them, there were too many possibilities, with Duffy there was one solid meaning and then a few other possiblilities, but there was always that one certain meaning that you just didn't get with alot of Armitage.

 

#5 29th May 2006, 08:48 PM

HCR

 

I've also just done my English Literature GCSE and although I studied Heaney and Clarke instead of Duffy and Armitage I have read the poems by Duffy through and I have to admit that I didn't like them very much. It's not that I don't like poetry I really like Heaney, Hughes, Betjeman, Edward Thomas and others, perhaps I am put off because my first introduction to Duffy was through the anthology published by AQA but I think that even if they'd not been on the GCSE syllabus I don't think I'd have liked them.

 

OK - Please give me 5 mins to escape before you come and beat me up!

__________________

Sorry for any spelling mistakes. I'm having to type one handed as I have tendonitis in my right wrist and so only want to use it to write my GCSEs.

 

 

#6 29th May 2006, 09:26 PM

Royal Rother

 

I have never understood poetry that doesn't rhyme. It just reads like a little story with short sentences.

 

I am aware I am missing out on something but I seriously do not understand this sort of poetry, and having never been bothered about it, have never sought out an explanation of what I am missing - or help to see what I am missing.

 

Help?

 

What is poetry? seems a good place to start.

 

#7 29th May 2006, 10:44 PM

Adrian

I have never understood poetry that doesn't rhyme. It just reads like a little story with short sentences.

That was my thoughts too RR. I haven't yet "got" this poem and as you say, it's more prose than poetry to me. I'll print it off and give it the full Fry treatment to see if anything clicks. Usually I find poems with longer lines and more te-tums easier to scan.

 

Must get my Ode Less Travelled back. Never lend books to anybody

 

#8 30th May 2006, 07:37 AM

Hazel

I am aware I am missing out on something but I seriously do not understand this sort of poetry, and having never been bothered about it, have never sought out an explanation of what I am missing - or help to see what I am missing.

 

Help?

Non-rhyming poetry will still have referential uses of language such as internal rhymes, half rhymes, figuritive uses of language, assonance, consonance, rhythm and metre - also the dead give away it that it is always laid out differently on the page to prose. Poetry is always more concerned with language use rather than plot/narrative, so even if it doesnt rhyme traditionally it will contain some repetition of sound within the lines.

 

#9 30th May 2006, 10:12 AM

Royal Rother

 

How do you read it? Presumably not even imperceptible pauses and the end of each line? Why have the lines then?

 

As for a pattern I can see that most lines have 13 syllables, and the 1st has 15, but "begun" is after a comma, which made it 13 + 2. Am I getting warmer?

 

Is it something that just clicks one day, coz I really don't get it?

 

#10 30th May 2006, 10:33 AM

Flingo

 

At A level, we were told to read it as the punctuation suggests, so pauses for breath etc isn't at the end of the line, but where the comma's are.

 

Therefore, I would read the first lines as:

 

It was late September. (Breath!) I'd just poured a glass of wine, (brief pause) begun to unwind, (brief pause) while the vegetables cooked.

 

Basically, yes, discounting the need for lines!

 

I agree with Hazel's comments though (spot the English Lit student!!!), this really has a lot more rhythm than you would get in (most) short stories. It does also have obviously plays on words - like wine and unwind.

Link to post
Share on other sites

#11 30th May 2006, 10:44 AM

Hazel

 

The broken lines are called enjambement, and should be read with a slight pause so as to add emphasis to either the first or second half as the reader/author interprets as salient. Linguistically speaking, speakers take a short pause naturally every 7 words or so, so this enjambement flows with the rhythm of natural speech. Pauses in poetry whether they are enjambement or caesuras, add emphasis or reflection as needed.

 

Spot the lit students indeed!

 

It does just click one day I guess, but you have to read alot of poetry as it is not something that can be learned in a vacuum.

 

 

#12 30th May 2006, 11:24 AM

megustaleer

 

I enjoy poetry, but have never studied Eng Lit (past a late 'O'level), and know nothing about any of the stuff Hazel has mentioned.(I really must read the Stephen Fry book).

 

Apart from the mechanics of poetry: rhyme, rhythm, and the different constraints of specific forms (sonnet, ode, ballad, limerick etc), a poem to me is a distillation of an idea, or story...sort of reduced to its essence.

 

Like a fine whisky, or brandy.

 

Not that I always understand, or even follow the idea being expressed, but somehow can recognise a poem even if the words don't rhyme.

 

Of course, to confuse things, some prose can be poetic in quality, too, although if I recognise something poetic in a writer's style when reading a book, I usually discover later that the novelist is also a poet.

 

#13 30th May 2006, 03:32 PM

David

 

Poetry really is very difficult to define in a very absolute sense - even rhythm is not an essential requirement, as seen in free verse.

 

At its most basic level, it is about pattern, be that in the arrangement of lines, rhythms, punctuation, sound or even meaning, with the significant juxtaposition of words or imagery.

 

The comments about it being a distillation have a lot of truth, because it is frequently about generating rich and even layered meanings in a far shorter space than prose generally achieves. That said, though, there are many poems of novel length - some of them, such as Paradise Lost, maintain this level of condensation, whilst others, like Byron's Don Juan, can ease back at times. But then Don Juan was in part written as mischievous 'anti-poetry', which deliberately pushed at the limits of the genre, thereby demonstrating its endless flexibility.

 

Although poetry is often touted as an aural genre, it is also designed to be read on the page, which is where the line structure fully comes into its own (the original classical poets only started to think about breaking poetry into line structure when it began to be more generally written down). This is again about creating or accentuating meaning. So, CAD in the given poem makes extensive use of enjambment, as most modern poets do, to give a more 'natural' feel (the architectural contrivance of neatly arranged poems of the past has long been out of fashion), but like many poetic patterns, this creates greatest impact when it is broken.

 

So,

It was late September. I'd just poured a glass of wine, begun

to unwind, while the vegetables cooked. The kitchen

filled with the smell of itself, relaxed, its steamy breath

gently blanching the windows. So I opened one,

then with my fingers wiped the other's glass like a brow.

He was standing under the pear tree snapping a twig.

Every line runs on until the end, leaving us with a clearly defined final line, which lends dramatic emphasis to the revelation of what she sees through the cleared window: 'He', given added impact by the ambiguous introduction that invites us to assume it is the Midas implied by the title.

 

Stanza 2

Now the garden was long and the visibility poor, the way

the dark of the ground seems to drink the light of the sky,

but that twig in his hand was gold. And then he plucked

a pear from a branch - we grew Fondante d'Automne -

and it sat in his palm like a light bulb. On.

I thought to myself, Is he putting fairy lights in the tree?

Same again, only with further developments - notably the longer, more circuitous statement beginning "And then...", which starts with the conjunction, has a hyphenated insertion, with a second conjunction and running over three lines, all of which gives the impression of greater development of thought and interest before hitting us with a one word sentence: "On." Immediately we're struck by the absurdity of the idea and therefore how remarkable and bizarre this golden pear must look. The single-sentence line concluding the stanza develops on this.

 

And so on.

 

I also like CAD, who delights in taking established figures/ideas and exploring their more unconventional aspects. This is perfectly suited to poetry, since part of the delight in verse is that it takes something so familiar to us - language - and shapes it into something unusual. So exploring something we take for granted - here the old story of Midas - and taking a new angle - what must it have been like for his wife? - is the perfect alliance of purpose and form.

 

#14 30th May 2006, 04:38 PM

Royal Rother

 

Wow! Thanks. I'll re-read that later.

 

(I wonder what Mr IB would say.)

 

#15 30th May 2006, 07:10 PM

elfstar

Wow! Thanks. I'll re-read that later.

 

(I wonder what Mr IB would say.)

Probably something along the lines that he had only skimmed it as he didn't consider it worth his consideration...............

 

Thank you from me too David, I actually liked this anyway. Think I'll be looking for some of her work soon. I don't neccesarily like poems to rhyme but I do think there is a very definite need to read them aloud. The pattern on the page is interesting but the reading can make a whole new feeling emerge. Your comments clarify things for me as usual.

 

#16 2nd June 2006, 03:05 PM

katrina

 

I avoided most poetry, even at uni, as I always felt I didn't get it. This year I've been attempting to broaden my reading of poetry as a challenge to myself. I'm still not really confident to discuss the internal structures but the more of it you read the less scary it seems.

 

Seems like bgo has a few experts in David and Hazel though

 

#17 2nd June 2006, 03:18 PM

Hazel

I avoided most poetry, even at uni, as I always felt I didn't get it. This year I've been attempting to broaden my reading of poetry as a challenge to myself. I'm still not really confident to discuss the internal structures but the more of it you read the less scary it seems.

 

Seems like bgo has a few experts in David and Hazel though.

David yes, me, hmmm, student not expert! Poetry is too elitist and people do seem to worry too much about 'getting' it. It is a good idea to begin with, to just like the sound of the lines being read out, and maybe the broad themes covered, how it makes you feel. None of which can be deemed 'wrong' and you won't be penalised in any way for your thoughts. 'Getting it' can be left for another day, another time when you actually have to study it.

 

#18 16th June 2006, 12:02 PM

elfstar

 

I had a birthday, I was given a book token , i went off to the bookshop and came home with nothing....

 

I went to find 'the World's Wife' and I did BUT it was £8.99 for a Picador paperback. Not excessive in this day and age I suppose but it was horrible, cheap paper, nasty print, cheap feeling cover............. I would happily have paid (quite a lot) more for a hardback or this price for a decent paperback (it is a very slim volume). The thing is that this would be a book I wished to look at again and again, it would get used not just read quickly. I felt that I would not enjoy using this book at all,nor would it stand much handling -oh the difference a well presented book makes.

 

Ok rant over.

 

#19 17th June 2006, 11:39 AM

megustaleer

 

Not a sentiment I share, as is obvious to anyone who gets to see my ratty collection of charity/second-hand-book shop/stall purchases. I don't even mind that smell of decaying book, when they've been kept in a dampish place As long as the words are legible it's OK by me!

 

I have the Picador paperback, but I did get it new

 

#20 17th June 2006, 12:36 PM

David

 

I very much understand Elfstar's point. Without wishing to run over old ground from Central Library about the influence of material properties of books on the reading experience, this would have put me off buying a copy. I do like books to be well-presented and somehow for poetry this is even more true. There is something about poems that demands more than manky paper or insipid typeface; such collections should have a bearing on the page that befits their nature, inviting re-reads and suggesting the integrity of each poem, which can, of course, exist happily in its own right beyond the collection, unlike the page of a novel.

 

Mind you, I'm surprised you came back with nothing, Elfstar. Surely there were other tomes that would have tempted you by virtue of effectively being 'free'?

Link to post
Share on other sites

#21 17th June 2006, 01:11 PM

elfstar

 

Well, I had gone specifically to get that book. I went in again 2 days later but spent some money...a book on British generals for fathers day and two "try this for 99p" books. Because the token was a present I wanted to get 1 important thing with it. And Meg, I don't mind old books or indeed second hand but when I am buying something I wish to use frequently or intensively the quality of the paper etc is important.

 

Will be trawling the net for Carol Ann and browsing the bookshops again......

 

#22 17th June 2006, 08:10 PM

megustaleer

 

And of course, if it's a gift from someone, you'd want it to be a bit special.

 

Even I see that

 

It's on Amazon in hardback, and audio cassette. You could use the token in a shop to buy something else, then use the money you didn't spend to get CAD online. It would still, in effect, be from the person who gave you the token.

 

 

#23 8th July 2006, 11:10 AM

katrina

 

I'm reading Carol Ann Duffy's Rapture at the moment, a book length love poem and I'm really enjoying it. Each page has a poem, which then makes up part of the bigger poem, following the ups and downs of being in love. One of my favourites so far is "Text" a poem about the modern issue of text messages when your in a new relationship - and oh so true!

 

Text

 

I tend the mobile now

like an injured bird.

 

We text, text, text

our significant words.

 

I re-read your first,

your second, your third,

 

looking for your small xx,

feeling absurd.

 

The codes we send

arrive with a broken chord.

 

I try to picture your hands,

their image is blurred.

 

Nothing my thumbs press

will ever be heard.

 

This edition of Duffy is also thankfully in a gorgeous red hardback cover, with a nice silver picture. I agree with elfstar about poetry books being in rubbish covers, my copy of T.S Eliots The Wasteland has actually fallen out of the collection of his poems, and when at uni I found if I had to buy Faber and Faber editions of poetry to study they quickly had pages missing.

 

#24 8th July 2006, 08:40 PM

Flingo

This edition of Duffy is also thankfully in a gorgeous red hardback cover, with a nice silver picture.

I tried to find this on Amazon a while ago. A friend showed me one of the poems from it, and I'd love to re-read that one, and read the rest.

 

The one she showed me was about memories of someone - about feeling them there when they weren't.

 

#25 22nd July 2006, 08:52 PM

Cassandra_Mortmain

 

Looked at The World's Wife for my AS exam a month or so ago. I loved the concept of going back and telling the stories from the female perspective, lots of laugh out loud moments! The three boys in my english literature group hated the collection though!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I got her beautiful retelling of "A night before Christmas" for Christmas (funnily enough!). As well as being wonderfully retold and reimagined, it's also lovely to hold and look at with gorgeous illustrations. A gift book, but one that is sure to become staple Christmas reading.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 months later...
I read 'The World's Wife' as a bookgroup choice in the summer. i enjoyed it very much, although it was not popular with other members...it helps if you know a bit about CAD's history.

 

I studied Duffy's The World's Wife for A level and absolutely loved it. I did notice though that her poetry was sometimes dismissed by those who deemed it feminist propaganda and nothing else. Personally however I found that though some of Duffy's poems can be dismissive and contemptuous in tone towards men (Mrs Freud for example) her female protagonists are hardly depicted as being perfect. Rather, Duffy seeks to argue that women, just as men are capable of being aggressive, callous ( c.f Salome), even murderous, as in The Devil's Wife. For me I found The World's Wife to be more about (sorry to strike a corny note) about love than anything else. The tenderness and passion that it inspires, such as in Anne Hathaway, the anguish and pain in Mrs Quasimodo. It should be noted that the collection concludes with Demeter, a poem about maternal love.

 

What made me really enjoy Duffy's poetry is the fun she has with language. Have a look at Mrs Sisyphus to see what I'm referring to.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

I've just had The World's Wife from the library, and I don't want to take it back.

 

I've not read anything by Duffy before, but I'll certainly look out for more. I loved the vast range of tone in these poems, as Nige says above - from the snappy sarcasm of Mrs Darwin and Frau Freud, to the tenderness of Anne Hathaway in her second best bed. I think my favourite was Little Red Cap - the not quite so innocent little girl who lets herself be seduced by the Wolf-Poet:

 

......As soon as he slept, I crept to the back

of the lair, where a whole wall was crimson, gold, aglow with books.

Words, words were truly alive on the tongue, in the head,

warm, beating, frantic, winged; music and blood.

 

 

I need to renew this one and keep it for a bit longer, I think.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think my favourite was Little Red Cap - the not quite so innocent little girl who lets herself be seduced by the Wolf-Poet:

 

......As soon as he slept, I crept to the back

of the lair, where a whole wall was crimson, gold, aglow with books.

Words, words were truly alive on the tongue, in the head,

warm, beating, frantic, winged; music and blood.

If I recall correctly, that poem has strong biographical elements, harking back to her relationship with Liverpool Beat Poet Adrian Henri - before her tastes changed direction.

 

Edit:

Oops! I said the very same thing upthread - sorry for the repetition :o

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 9 months later...

Thanks for that L_L, it was very moving, I especially like the last three lines. I have saved it to read again and maybe use in class as the boys will be studying WW1 poetry next term.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Does Poetry need to rhyme to make sense?

 

Rhyming poetry is so much better, on the whole. Most people can come out with clever phrases but rhyming poetry shows, at its best, a true connection with the English language.

 

Why does everyone find the poem moving? I found it trite and arrogant, and the ridiculous line 'If poetry could tell it backwards'. What on earth does that mean?!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Rhyming poetry is so much better, on the whole.

There was a young lass from Brize Norton

Who had a big tit and a short 'un

Her belly was jelly

Her bottom was smelly

And her fart like an 850 Norton

 

Yep - that's definitely better than any of that non-rhyming rubbish ;)

 

If poetry could tell it backwards'. What on earth does that mean?!

Well I guess anyone could rewind the clock and bring bring back all those young lads they would wouldn't they - but sadly poetry cannot turn back time.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Rhyming poetry is so much better, on the whole. Most people can come out with clever phrases but rhyming poetry shows, at its best, a true connection with the English language.
I take it you are referring solely to end rhymes?

 

Why does everyone find the poem moving? I found it trite and arrogant, and the ridiculous line 'If poetry could tell it backwards'. What on earth does that mean?!
I find it moving that she has reversed the action in Wilfred Owen's poem and is speaking back to the wealth of war poetry that condemns war and its effects, expressing regret that poetry cannot undue what has happened. I find it also touching that she, a poet, would rather the poet put away his/her notebook and smile, than have 'meat' for the poetry machine.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Rhyming poetry is so much better, on the whole. Most people can come out with clever phrases but rhyming poetry shows, at its best, a true connection with the English language.

Those hacks Shakespeare and Milton would surely have benefited from such advice, KL!

 

Unsurprisingly I don't agree with that. Rhyme is just one of many tools available to the poet but is far from pre-eminent. I'm not sure how finding one word that rhymes with another creates any truer 'connection' with the English language than any other aspect of poetry.

 

People often think of rhyme as defining poetry because it is an easy concept to grasp and helps us memorise poetry. That's why it's used at primary school level to introduce kids to the concept of a poem. But it would be like saying the peas are the most important part of the banquet and most closely link us to nutrition. There are plenty of other foods too and you can have just as good a meal without the peas.

 

Why does everyone find the poem moving? I found it trite and arrogant, and the ridiculous line 'If poetry could tell it backwards'. What on earth does that mean?!

I very much like it, though it's not Duffy at her best. I think this structural concept works well because it's a way of forcing us to look again at something that has become so familiar. World War I is perhaps the one event in world history that has become fundamentally tied to poetry. We've all heard Owen's words and the more we hear them the more danger we're in of losing the impact.

 

The reversal forces us to look anew at something familiar, which is what poetry does best. It reminds me of Amis's Time's Arrow, in which the Holocaust is examined through the device of a man's life told backwards, bringing this same re-examination.

 

Duffy adds a fresh poignancy to the deaths of these young men by taking that grim final moment and rewinding it, then forcing an imagined changing of gears to move forwards once more into the lost lives ahead, charged as we are with the tragic foreknowledge of death seen at the very start.

 

I think it's also a take on a statement such as Auden's that 'poetry changes nothing'. In other words it's a poignant reflection on the fact that for all the truth of poetry and for all its power to preserve and commemorate, it cannot change the awful reality. It's a sombre sigh that poets can immerse themselves in these events and pay their respects, but they are as powerless as anyone else. It underscores the harsh reality that for all the words, rhymes and imagery that we pore over, the terrible truth is immutable. Above all, then, it is an exercise in futility, which is the final truth at the heart of any war.

 

 

I think this also shows how the position of Poet Laureate is evolving nicely. This is just the sort of thing the role should be producing and fills me with confidence that it's heading in the right direction.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I found it moving as well. As I read it, it reminded me of all the things I've heard about Harry Patch and Allingham in the last few weeks.

 

I've sent a link to a friend of mine who's a great fan of Carole Ann Duffy and writes poetry herself. She cannot stand rhyming poetry. She finds the rhymes a big distraction from the content of poetry and at their worst says they make poems sound twee or silly - like nursery rhymes. For her, poetry is about capturing a moment/emotion in a concise way so that words have to be chosen carefully for their associative meanings (as well as their strict dictinoary definition) and the sound they make adds to this.

 

She keeps trying to educate me about poetry.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I did say 'on the whole' not 'every poem that rhymes'. Anyhow that rhyming poem would be better than a poem on the same topic that didn't rhyme, me thinks. At least it was mildly amusing.

 

'If poetry could tell it backwards' is such a stupid pretentious way of saying 'If poetry could undo it all.' I really like how Duffy has decided to speak for the whole of poetry, and all the soldiers, and is suddenly now judge of all...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I did say 'on the whole' not 'every poem that rhymes'. Anyhow that rhyming poem would be better than a poem on the same topic that didn't rhyme, me thinks. At least it was mildly amusing.

 

'If poetry could tell it backwards' is such a stupid pretentious way of saying 'If poetry could undo it all.' I really like how Duffy has decided to speak for the whole of poetry, and all the soldiers, and is suddenly now judge of all...

 

And Shakespeare understood rhythm and how to employ language. Trite 'the cat sat on the mat' rhymes are no help to anyone but if you tie yourself to rhythm and/or rhyme, you tie yourself to the language, instead of spouting out clever-sounding things.

 

That 'Dulce-No Decorum-No..' bit really bugs me. We know what Owen's poem meant and I think he has far more authority on the matter than Duffy does.

 

Duffy can write good poems ('Text' is a good poem, and it rhymes) but it's normally a product of throwing out whatever her mind thinks and then jiggling it about to see if it makes a good poem.

 

''All I know, all I understand

Is that foreign men were killed

In a foreign time,

A foreign land.

And many many years later

Poets write on a thing which they cannot understand.''

Link to post
Share on other sites
... but it's normally a product of throwing out whatever her mind thinks and then jiggling it about to see if it makes a good poem.

Isn't that what all writing is? It's just that some people have more imaginitve minds and better ways of "jiggling" than the rest of us.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...