Poet : Patience Agbabi
- known for her writing :blurring the boundaries between 'peforemance 'poet and 'page 'poet
- many other boundaries , including racial and sexual
- born in London in 1965 ( Nigerian but fostered by a white English family in Wales)
- she has a fasination for traditional poetic forms and the use of personae to explore her themes
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Title ' Eat ME'
- Intertexuality : Alice in Wonderand ( goes back to dramatic monologue in this famous book, where Alice eats a cake that has 'eat me' written on it in smarties and gets bigger
- invitation to eat
- poem explores relationship between overweight women and a feeder who are stuck in a dysfunctional relationship
- he may have a fettish
- the poem is not purely a sexual one but also speaks of the physical and emotional dependancy of the eater on the feeder
- the feeder may be insecure / feeding the women in the poem is an emotional crutch for man
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'When I hit thirty , he brought me a cake' - first
- may be a reference to her age or weight
- it is therefore a little ambigous
- this opening line introduces to us the subject of the poem
- next line 'threee layers of icing, home-made.'
- he made it himself
- he is celebrating her wieght game, like it is an achievement - the reader may find the poem/ his attitude shocking
- 'a candle for each stone in weight.'
- the first line is no longer ambigious - the reader now knows it is a referance to weight - the women weights 30 stone
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Second Verse ' the icing was white but the letters
- white symbolises innocence, but pink symbolises feminimity e.g 'girly '
- 'they said 'Eat me' - controlling
- readers had to ask if women is complisit or the victim of a form of abuse at the hands of a controlling partner
- 'And I ate it, did what I was told.
- Didn't even taste it' - this line conveys to the reader that eating is not about pleasure for the women
- the women is dismissive about the enjoyment of food
- there is a shocking attitude towards consumption in the poem
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Third Verse 'Then he asked me to get up an walk'
- verse is full of vowel sounds
- which are almost overwhelming
- onomatopoeia , assonance , repeatition
- 'round the bed so he could watch by broad
- belly wobble ,hips judder like a juggernaut.
- ' THe bigger the better ,he'd say,' - change to his voice
- 'i like ( new line) big girls, osft girls , girls i can burrow inside'
- repetition of girls
- he is controlling, note he uses the word 'girls ' instead of women
- he is overbearing, and his partner is hidden away and dependant upon him ( unhealthy relationship)
- he substains her
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Verse 5 'I was his Jacuzzi'
- like Jacuzzi- she is fixed in one place- her vitality is explored in this line
- she is his temptation
- Jacuzzi- bubbling movement
- 'he was my cook' - he substains her
- 'my only pleasure was the rush of fast food,' -she gets no pleasure out of the relationship
- 'watch me swell like forbidden fruit .' - story of Adam and Eve from the Bible ( in this story most of the blame is placed on Eve for tempting Adam - like the snake to disobey God)
- this poem explores gender politics
- 'His breadfruit. His desert-island after shipwreak.' - the poet , who is black ,explores racism in her poems, here the referance may be to colonial power as he ( the man/feeder ) has overtaken the women
- Verse again leaves reader wondering, who is at fault ?
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Verse 6 and 7 'too fat to leave ...'
- repetition of 'too fat to..' - she laments her loss of freedom e.g she is no longer mobile ,she is unable to go out due to her weight
- does this make reader feel sorry for her ?
- 'The day I hit thirty-nine..' - another referance to her increased weight
- 'I allowed him to stroke ( next line ) my globe of a cheek' - another referance to world
- also gives reader a sense of something unimaginably big
- The poet is using dark humour to portray how serious the situtation has become
- 'He said , Open wide, poured olive oil down my throat.'
- Line conveys how controlling the man in this relationship is
- and also again the shocking attitude to consumption e.g pouring olive oil down someones throat
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Ending ( Verse 8 and 9) ' Soon you'll be forty..'
- referance to increasing weight
- feeder is delighted by her progressing weight gain
- ' I drowned his dying sentence out'
- if reader is shocked by attitude to consumption within poem, they are even more shocked by the attitude to death
- ( women in poem has suffocated or 'drowned ' man to death)
- 'his eyes bulging with greed.' gluttony /consumption until end
- ' Final line : 'There was nothing else left in the house to eat.' ambigious ending
- dark humour ( through literal interpretation e.g she is about to eat him)
- or that by end the conlonial authoriity has ben overwhelmed by the nation who get their independance
- or another metophorical interpretation , that his controlling nature and her consumption have removed her identity which she has reclaimed at the end of the poem
- ( also running theme of gender politics )
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