Key Poetry Themes- Different Cultures

Key quotes and themes that link the poetry from other cultures poems.



Violence is a theme explored in several of the Poems from Different Cultures.

These poems are:

  • Not My Business by Niyi Osundare
  • This Room by Imtiaz Dharker
  • Hurricane Hits England by Grace Nichols

Not My Business explores political violence and physical violence based around the topic of the political trouble in Nigeria.

This Room explores internal violence; a change in the poets life. The violence is positive though, a break-through rather than a tragedy.

Hurricane Hits England explores internal feeliings through the natural, destructive violence of a hurricane, again the violence is viewed as a postive thing.

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The theme of identity is one that runs through all the poems in the Different Cultures cluster. Those that show particularly strong themes of identity are:

  • Search for My Tongue by Sujata Bhatt
  • Half-Caste by John Agard
  • Unrelated Incidents by Tom Leonard
  • Presents from My Aunts in Pakistan by Moniza Alvi
  • Hurricane Hits England by Grace Nichols

Search for My Tongue, Presents from My Aunts in Pakistan and Hurricane Hits England are all about a confusion of identity or losing your identity and then finding it. In Search for My Tongue Bhatt has lost her mother tongue, Gujurati, but finds it again. In Presents from My Aunts Alvi has never really understood her Pakstani roots and the poem presents confusion. In Hurricane Hits England Nichols expresses her feelings of disconnection from her home land of Guyana when a hurricane brings it back.

Half-Caste and Unrelated Incidents are both very self assured poems. Agard is expressing disgust at the use of the term half-caste, poking fun at those stupid enough to use it. Tom Leonard is saying that you shouldn't discrimiate against his accent, in fact everyone else is speaking incorrectly.

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Confusion is a theme that naturally fits with the main theme of Identity and is explored in several poems in the Different Cultures cluster:

  • Present from My Aunts in Pakistan by Moniza Alvi
  • This Room by Imtiaz Dharker

Presents from My Aunts is from Alvi's point of view as a teenager, confused about her identity- is she English or Pakistani? Alvi uses the clothing of her two separate cultures to present confusion and separation of the two cultures.

This Room is about changing your life and the confusion comes about when all of Dharker's possessions are fighting to escape the confined space of her 'room', with her caught in the middle.

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