21 terms

poems of the decade summaries

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What was 'The Gun' by Vicki Fever about?
Vicki Fever grew up in Brixton where she "sometimes hear gunshots", but she "never actually saw a gun". However, when she moved to Scotland, a rural area, her husband bought a shotgun to go hunting, and when she saw it she was "very afraid" but gradually began to grow fond of it. The poem shows the effects of a gun through the use of the garden of eden.
What is 'Material' by Ros Barber about?
The importance of motherhood through comparing the speaker's role as a mother with her mother's role. Themes of nostalgia and childhood and family and motherhood.
What is 'To My Nine-Year-Old Self' by Helen Dunmore about?
Helen Dunmore speaking to her childhood self. Time separates us from a younger selves. Change to the adult world.
What is 'Inheritance' by Eavan Boland about?
Parents passing down materialistic or intangible qualities their children. Says that people don't always have to leave valuables for their loved ones. Teaching them important skills is better.
What is 'From the Journal of a Disappointed Man' by Andrew Motion about?
Contrast between the speaker and the workmen has he observes. Little or no interaction between observer and the observed. Poem dramatises the distances between the two. One difference is the activity of the workmen compared with the observer's intellectuality.
'Eat Me' by Patience Agbabi
About a husband that force feeds his wife which shows his control and power over her. Eventually she kills him through suffocation and possibly eats him too? Context on women and their weight pressurised in the media.
'Chainsaw VS the pampas grass' by Simon Armitage
Assume speaker is s male cutting down the pampas grass of South America, even though the grass is cut down easily the poem ends with a vision of the grass growing back because the roots can't be cut.
'History' by John Burnside
Poet feels that experiencing disaster can shatter perception of the world. Only way to rebuild is on present tangible things which are real and unchanging. Context is him being affected by 9/11 even though he's not there.
'An Easy Passage' by Julia Copus
Contrast between a innocent and naive, young girl and an older woman who works as a secretary. Central concern= exploration of the fleeting (momentary/short) period between girlhood and womanhood.
'The Deliverer' by Tishani Doshi
Setting= convent (religious house/community, nunnery) in Kerala, India where abandoned children live (disability, skin colour, female gender). The speaker's mother's job is to deliver a baby to her adoptive family in America waiting in Milwaukee USA. They raise her till she is a woman but the sad thing is the speaker's mother had to leave the baby behind. Title= ambiguous. Deliverer= mother, and deliverer= speaker's mother.
'The Lammas Hireling' by Ian Duhig
Contains many allusions. Dramatic monologue about young man helping with farmer's cows (hireling= rural, archaic world 100 years ago in place of hiring). Mimicks a Thomas Hardy novel of tragic stories. Hired man is good with animals, seems almost magic. Speaker then dreams of dead wife and wakes to see the hireling, but hireling is naked in a fox trap on his ankle- made him seem like a warlock. Out of shock narrator shoots hireling through the heart and under the moon the hireling turns into a hare- magic creature in British folklore. Hireling's body grows lighter as farmer takes it in a sack and throws it into the river. Narrator's luck has now run out and his cattle are cursed and he is haunted by guild (society). He passes his time using the metal from coins to create bullets for his gun, and in confessing his sins, in all likelihood to a Catholic priest.
'A Minor Role' by U.A. Fanthorpe
About how often in life one will have to deal with a difficult situation. Explores sufferers reaction to situation and people around them. Speaker suffering from illness; having to make "sense/ of consultant's monologues" which isn't clear what the illness is. Poems does hint that the illness is terminal. Speaker attempts to be optimistic; poet aims to emphasise how precious life is. Speaker attempts to speak truthfully about the most difficult and complicated situations that one may experience in their life.
'The Furthest Distance I've Travelled' by Leontia Flynn
Explores physical and emotional journeys. Transition from freedom of a student traveller to a more mature perspective of the present-day speaker. 'In doing so it acknowledges that our emotional geography is as significant to who we are as the physical journeys we undertake' The poem states "this is how/ to live"
'Giuseppe' by Roderick Ford
Historical realism mixed with a fairytale element to explore the darkest corners of human behaviour. War and how people make excuses for their actions. E.g. abortion, disability. Asks the question, what is it to be human? Title= Giuseppe is the uncle Giuseppe, but the casualty in o Mr or Uncle shows disconnection from the uncle due to telling the story and could show anger or bitterness towards the uncle's actions. Speaker is the uncle's cousin.
'Out of the Bag' by Seamus Heaney
Explores how a child's perspective differs from an adult's, and how it is not always true. Speaker blends personal memory with his deep knowledge of the classical world of ancient Greece to interrogate (question) myths of origin. Themes of cass, faith, gender... title= revealing something, or a birth. Links to child's opinion of how babies come out of the doctor's bag.
'Effects' by Alan Jenkins
Explores inner monologue that goes on after a loved one has died. Speaker reminisces about the lives of his parents, especially his mother and the great change that has come about. E.g. he now feels regrets not being close to his mother after death.
'Genetics' by Sinead Morrissey
Structure of a Villanelle: 19 lined poe with 2 repeated rhymes and 2 repeated refrains, 5 tercets (3 lined stanzas) and 1 ending quatrain. Villanelles also focus on themes of love, loss and challenge. Morrissey changes what was meant to be repeated to show that we are not exactly like our parents through genetics; we are our own selves.
'Look We Have Coming To Dover' by Daljit Nagra
Title is grammatically incorrect to show the speaker's second language is English. Dover is one of the key entry points into the UK for immigrants, legal and illegal; setting provides a further clue about the speaker and concept of poem. Dover= resonant (loud, clear, and deep sound) English location. Dover's famous white cliffs. It's a cultural shorthand for the country history as an Island power.
'Please Hold' by Ciaran O'Driscoll
Explains monotony of daily tasks in modern life through example of a phone and company's customer service department. The department puts speaker on hold to an automated machine. Speaker becomes increasingly frustrated as poem progresses, contrasting starkly (sharply) with the robotic nature of everything else around him.
'On Her Blindness' by Adam Thorpe
Loss of sight is unnerving. Uses direct experiences to demonstrate impact that the disability had on speaker's mother e.g. through eating, dodgem-like awkwardness and more done while she pretended she could still see, provoking sympathy from the reader as she exists in a 'living hell'. She is the "observed instead of the observing"= embarrassment; she "kept her dignity". Title= similar to a famous Milton sonnet 'On Her Blindness' 1655 after poet's loss of sight became complete. Poet speaks about limited ability to serve God but ends with bearing loss patiently. Thorpe's poem is partly a rebuff of Milton's stoicism (acceptance) of those who "like a Roman" put up with affliction without complaint.
'Ode on a Grayson Perry Urn' by Tim Turnbull
Modern rendition (translation/performance) of Keat's 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' due to themes and structure. Both Turnbull and Keats care about beauty, but the truth in beauty both "celebrate an object or image". Poet described Perry's vase as "kitschy"= assosciated with art that uses cultural icons. Poem consists of different British cultural icons.