Rapture Criticism (Carol Ann Duffy)

A selection of quotes from different critics on both Carol Ann Duffy and her collection of poems 'Rapture'.

Useful for the A2 English Literature Unit 3 Examination.

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  • Created on: 15-11-12 21:47
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Criticisms of Rapture
"Even at the early stages of an affair, doom may creep in and attach itself to joy". Kate Kellaway, The Observer,
2005
"Love is an extremity, only rivalled by death. And desire is almost a death wish". Kate Kellaway for the Observer,
2005
"it draws on tradition, but is very up to date" Margaret Reynolds for the Guardian 2006
"The form that dominates rapture is the sonnet, the magical shape so suited to refelctions of love". Ruth Padel for the
Independent 2005.
"An extended rhapsody on a love affair, ushering the reader from first spark to full flame to final, messy
conflagration." ­ Xan Brooks for The Guardian (2006).
`The trajectory of a love affair from its giddy beginnings, with poems of almost prelapsarian sensuality, to deep love
and then its sorrowful end." Ginny Dougary, The Times, 2011.
"She was the first poet to push language and form, their limits and tensions, to articulate that bankrupt and dislocated
era." Lavinia Greenlaw
[The poems are] `intimate and teasingly anonymous. Pain has more character than the person who has inflicted it.' ­
Kate Kellaway, 2005
`Only the scenery endures: stars, moon, roses, graves [...] This is an elemental love ­ it could belong to any time were
it not for the occasional contemporary accessories' Kate Kellaway, 2005
`If a poem endures, the life is between the reader and the poem. The poet should not be in the way.' Carol Ann
Duffy, in an interview with Jeanette Winterson
Margaret Reynolds: "These poems are almost oldfashioned in their commitment to rhyme, assonance and metre."
Frances Leviston "These poems are intent as an obsessed lover upon their subject"
Kate Kellaway "Love is an extremity, rivalled only by death"
"She knows the end of the story, but she also knows what will survive." The Guardian, Margaret Reynolds, 2006
"Poetry, above all is a series of intense moments ­ its power is not in narrative. I'm not dealing with facts, I'm dealing
with emotion." Carol Ann Duffy
"The subject of her latest work [Rapture] is the specifics of love, not the specifics of the lovers. Its inhabitants could
be young or old, gay or straight." The Guardian, Xan Brooks, 2006
"Cliché is overturned." The Guardian, Xan Brooks, 2006
"a coherent and passionate collection, very various in all its unity of purpose. In the language and circumstances of our
day and age, it reanimates and continues a long tradition of the poetry of love and loss" David Constantine
Kate Kellaway: "The poems are wonderful. But before forming any judgment of them, I found myself developing a
hostility to the love object: the casualness, the `strolling' into the life ­ even that lucky laugh."
Margaret Reynolds: "Rapture is sad, but not bleak. It draws on tradition, but is very up to date. Duffy is a poet who
surprises with images that are precisely funny."
`Rapture is intimate as a diary ­ except that it is free of particularity, of identifying characteristics about the lover, who
could be anyone but is not quite everyone.' Kate Kellaway

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They reveal the way in which, even at the early stages of an affair, doom may creep in and attach itself to joy. These
are poems that will be recognised by anyone who has ever been sexually obsessed to a selfpunishing degree.' Kate
Kellaway
`Duffy is a very brave poet. Only pop songs are braver in their use of repetition, and in "Finding the Words" she
succeeds in making an ordinary "I love you" into something extraordinary.…read more

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