English Literature - Anthology Poetry (Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy and Pre 1914)

Notes from Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy and Pre 1914 poetry.

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  • Created by: panna
  • Created on: 21-05-11 16:37


Form = 1st person dramatic monologue which is from the persona of the character from the book.

Structure =

  • Lines start without capital letters - she may be losing structure to her life.
  • The 3rd verse is only about love, all others are about hatred. There is an imbalance of love and hate throughout the poem.

Language =

  • 'sweetheart *******' - plosive, oxymoron.
  • 'opens the wardrobe' - opens the truth to who she is.
  • 'love's hate behind a while veil' - the hate belongs to love.
  • 'give me a male corpse' - she wants revenge on all men.
  • 'Don't think it's only the heart that b-b-b-breaks' - loses control, ambiguous, 'b' sounds like a heart beat.
1 of 13

Anne Hathaway

Form = 1st person, personal point of view. Has 14 lines, like a sonnet.

Structure = 

  • Moves from their love life to how she is going to handle his loss.

Language = 

  • 'a spinning world', 'he'd written me' - shakespeare creates this world and it is magical.
  • 'my lovers words were shooting stars' - shows their love was amazing.
  • 'dive for pearls' - love was like treasure.
  • 'a verb dancing in the centre of a noun' - language of his profession describes their love life.
2 of 13

Before You Were Mine

Form = 1st person, personal.


  • Each verse is a seperate episode.
  • Glamerous.

Language =

  • 'i'm ten years away from the corner you laugh on' - puts herself into the picture.
  • 'pals' - colloquial.
  • 'Marilyn' - Marilyn Monroe, very glamerous.
  • 'I knew you would dance like that' - creates a connection.
  • 'Whose small bites on your neck, sweetheart?' - role reversal.
  • 'Even then' - she wants the person her mum was before.
  • 'before you were mine' - she blames herself.
3 of 13


Form = 1st person, casual tone, colloquial.

Structure =

  • A story is told.
  • A circular poem - 2 questions at beginning and end.

Language =

  • first line and last line are rhetorical questions - hasn't learnt from mistakes.
  • 'I joy ride cars nowhere' - he has ended up 'nowhere'.
  • 'I'm a mucky ghost' - childlike.
  • 'Again. Again' - determination, lack of control.
  • 'You don't understand a word i'm saying do you?' - feels society is to blame for this.
4 of 13

My father thought it...

Form = 1st person, autobiographical, past tense.

Structure =

  • Becomes clearer as the poem pregresses.

Language =

  • 'bloody queer' - colloquial.
  • 'half hidden' - suggests peer pressure.
  • 'you should have had it through your nose instead' - like a bull, 'easily lead'.
  • 'drive a needle' makes it sounds more fearful.
  • 'spiral of the ear' - from what he heard.
  • 'If I were you...' - realisation, change of perspective as he is hearing his own father's voice.
5 of 13


Form = 1st person. 

Structure =

  • Makes a point.
  • 2 seperate ideas becoming one in the final verse.

Language =

  • 'free-fall backwards and those behind you take all the weight' - when you mess up parents take all the weight.
  • 'the very model of a model of a mother' - not the best relationship, quite distant.
  • 'step backwards' - he can take he wieght.
  • 'clasp', 'zip' - security.
  • 'It still fits' - jacket it the metaphor of the relationship, still the same person, you will always have your past.
6 of 13


Form = 1st person, present tense.

Structure =

  • Grandma is not mentioned after verse 2.
  • Problem is slowly dismissed.

Language =

  • 'November' - end of year, end of life.
  • 'we walked to the ward' - emotional support.
  • 'badly parked car' - in a hurry, things aren't right.
  • 'we have bought her here to die and we know it' - guilt.
  • 'parcel her' - becomes an object, distancing.
  • 'we let it happen. We can say nothing' - guilt, helplessness.
  • 'alive', 'life' - contrasts death.
7 of 13


Form =1st person, rhyme at start and end, have achieved nothing.

Structure =

  • Fast pace.

Language =

  • 'Batman, big shot' - anger.
  • 'well I turned the corner' - going to change it around.
  • 'he was like a father' - looked up to him.
  • 'Holy robin-redbreast-nest-egg-shocker!' - childish, sarcasm, mockery.
  • 'you without a shadow' - hasn't got robin beside him.
  • 'I'm the real boy wonder' - reality, no longer childish superheroes.
8 of 13


Form = First person, past tense.

Structure =

  • Sentence lengths from short to long, short to long. Mirrors the content routine to muder, routine to murder.

Language =

  • 'One more sick note, mister, and you're finished. Fired' - reason for depression.
  • 'It was hired' - life is uncertain.
  • 'on the top road out of Harrogate' - a familiar reference.
  • 'I dropped it into third' - casual tone makes him feel better and makes the murder more shocking to the reader.
  • Shorter sentences in the last verse - back to normality.
  • 'Stitch that I remember thinking, you can walk from here' - casual, ironic.
9 of 13

On my first Sonne

Form = 1st person.

Structure =

  • 1-4 trying to find meaning for his loss. 
  • 5-8 questions logic of grievance.

Language =

  • 'thou child of my right hand' - speaking to his favoured child.
  • 'My sinne was too much hope of thee' - blaming himself.
  • 'Seven yeeres tho'wert lent to me' - God lent him his son.
  • 'For those whose sake, hence-forth, all his vowes be such, As what he loves may never like too much' - hold things at a distance.
10 of 13

The song of the old Mother

Form = 1st person, 'song' - ideas of repetition and routine.


  • Like a cycle that the 'Old Mother' lives through.

Form =

  • 'I rise at dawn' - everyday.
  • 'And then I must scrub and bake' - she has no choice, work is disliked as plosive sounds are used.
  • Rhyming cuplets makes it sounds less serious yet more repetitive.
11 of 13

The Man he Killed

Form = 1st person, chatty and coloquial.


  • Unsolvable argument.
  • The poem is personal.
  • Poem progresses through the questioning of war.

Language =

  • 'Had he and I but...' posing a question.
  • 'I shot him as he as me' - blunt and equal.
  • 'killed him in his place' - shot him because its his job.
  • 'No other reason why' - war isn't necessarily something people agree with.
  • 'quaint and curious war it!' - an understatement.
  • 'You shot a fellow down' - the circumstance of war.
12 of 13

Sonnet 130

Form = 1st person, written as a sonnet.

Structure =

  • Rhyming couplet.
  • Body of the poem says how she is not as beautiful and incredible as other things.

Language =

  • 'snow be white' - purity.
  • 'her breast be dun' - imperfect.
  • 'eyes are nothing like the sun', 'black wires grow on your head', 'breath that from my mistress reeks' - not perfect at all.
  • 'And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare' - despite her faults he still likes her.
13 of 13


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