Poem's from different cultures - notes

The following revision cards provide notes on the 8 culture poems you may be asked about in English paper 2

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'Search for my Tongue' - Sujata Bhatt

Context- Born in 1956, Indian state of Gujarat, Mother tongue was Gujarati. Later, family lived for some years in the United States, where she learned English.  What is search for my tounge about? - Explains knowing 2 lang, might lose her first lang - fear of this. Mother tounge remains in her dreams. Structure-  Expresses how hard it is to know 2 lang, might lose the one that means the most, explains these ideas in gujarati, then translates these ideas into english (lines 31-38) Language-Meanings of word 'tongue' in poem-Part of the body, speak with. Means language you speak with, lost tounge means 'cant speak. Imagery-Imagines knowing 2 lang is like having 'two toungues' in your mouth. compares tongue to plant -extended metaphor. Ways in which is compared to plant: 'would rot/rot and die.', 'it grows back', 'grows strong veins'  Why it is like a plant- plants die in wrong environment, imagery is startling, 'rot & die', lost tongue grow back  NB:poem begins in a colloquial way (using everyday language)  Sound- translated into phonetic english.Tone- Mournful, lost tongue. Anger, has to speak english. Triumphant, gets tongue back. What poem is about, context, how poem is written. write short paragraps aboutexperience of two cultures, poem moves between two languages, image of the two tongues 

                                                                                                                                                                         

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'Unrelated Incidents' - Tom Leonard

Context-Born in Glasgow, still lives there now. Describes childhood as'Working class West of Scotland Irish Catholic'. What is Unrelated Incidents about?- seeminly read by BBC presenter (irony),he explains why the BBC thinks it is important to read news in 'BBC accent', noone will take it seriously if 'spoken like a scruff.' Structure-poem is written in phonetic version of Glasgow accent. Language-almost no punctuation, lots of 'slang' and colloquial words, 'newsreader' talks directly to audience. How do these features add to the effectiveness of the poem? Tone and ideas-is it an amusing/serious problem? maybe both- poet is arguing that this is the way media view the public, believes BBC viewers see people of Glasgow and other parts of Britain as 'Scruffs'. Uses humour to make serious criticism.  Have things changed since 1976 when poem was written? - context. For the exam-Make it clear what the poet is talking about. Remember HOW the poem is written, language, structure. What does the poem have to say about the past and the way it effects the present? Could include short paragraphs about- The argument about language and power which poem puts forward, dialect in which the poem is written, the effect and significance of this, what the poem led you to think about. 

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'Half Caste' - John Agard

Context- John Agard came to England from Guyana in 1977, he is mixed race. Likes the diversity in Britain, Does not like the view of racial origins. What is Half Caste about?- Ridicules the term half caste by following idea through to its logical conclusion. should Picasso be seen as 2nd rate due to mix colour paintings, should weather be scorned because it is full of light&shadow, is music of Tchaikovsky seen as inferior due to black and white keys, half caste only half a person? Structure- poem is written in 5 stanzas f varying lengths, lines throughout the poem are short to hammer home the message. Language-certain phrases are repeated/echoed, builds up a pattern in the language. repetition strengthens argument. poem relies on comparisons to make us realize 'half caste' is stupid. Poet has not used standard English, partly because poem is meant to be read aloud, uses lower case and writes in 'Caribbean dialect', e.g 'yu' instead of 'you'. Tone- Anger- warning to everyone who uses term 'half-caste', apologetic- 'excuse me, explain yourself..', humour, pleadingly - as tries to make people understand. Select a short quote to justify your choice. For the exam-Make it clear what the poet is talking about. Remember HOW the poem is written, language, structure. What does the poem have to say about the past and the way it effects the present. In exam, could write short paragraphs about: what the poet has to say in this poem, the style in which it is written, how the two are connected. 

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'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan'-Moniza Alvi

Context- Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore in Pakistan, the daughter of a Pakistani father and an English mother. What is the poem about? The speaker describes gifts and clothing sent to her from Pakistan, drawn to the loveliness of these things but feels more comfortable in English clothing. contrasts the beauty of them with boring English, tries to remember what it was like for her family to travel to england. Structure- The poem is written in free verse: the phrases are arranged loosely across the page. It is divided into stanzas of varying lengthImagery and soundThe poem is a sequence of personal memoriesI is repeated a lot in the poem. When we are remembering things, our minds often drift from one image to another, in the way that the poem does, and sometimes surprise us by fixing on odd details - like the 'tin boat', perhaps (line 54).The poem is full of associated, sometimes contrasting, images. Tone: Much of the meaning of a poem is conveyed by the attitude it expresses toward its subject matter. 'Attitude' can be thought of as a combination of the poet's tone of voice, and the ideas he or she is trying to get across to the reader.For the exam-Make it clear what the poet is talking about. Remember HOW the poem is written, language, structure. What does the poem have to say about the past and the way it effects the present. Could write short paragraphs about: The poet's personal history, and how this links with the situation described in the poem.The imagery of Pakistan and the imagery of England.What the poem says about the girl's thoughts and feelings. 

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'Love after Love', Derek Walcott

Context- Derek Walcott was born in 1930, Methodism and spirituality play an important role in his poems. What is love after love about?- self discovery, spend years looking for who we really are, lost love and giving yourself to another until they break your heart in which you need to love yourself again after suffering self doubt after rejection. moving on. Structure-poem begins by telling of the time you will recognize yourself 'with elation, the second stanza suggests that one has to fit in with others ideas, but in time we will see who we really are and welcome them. goes on to say when the time comes we must feast on our life. Language- poem is written second person, addressing reader directly, repeats words or gives variants of them. Tone- self forgiving, acceptance- learning to love yourself, happiness in discovering who you really are. For the exam-Make it clear what the poet is talking about. Remember HOW the poem is written, language, structure. What does the poem have to say about the past and the way it effects the present. In exam, could write short paragraphs about: What do you think this poem means? Why does the poet imagine someone as being like two different people at the same time? How important is it for us to recognize what we are really like and accept ourselves for this? Why is the poem written to “you” rather than about “me”? Is the poet giving advice to everyone? Why does the poem use images of feasting?

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'This Room' - Imtiaz Dharker

Context- Born in 1954 as a Scottish Muslim, moved to Glasgow when she was just under 1 years old. What is this room about?- this room is one of the most difficult poems to interpret, but its general meaning is clear: Imtiaz Dharker sees rooms and furniture as possibly limiting or imprisoning one, but when change comes, it as if the room “is breaking out of itself”. She presents this literally. could also be a poem used to represent elation. Structure- Begins with a literal explanation of a room 'breaking out of itself', goes on to describe how this is the time in which to live, explosive happinessWe do not know the cause of this joyful explosion, but it seems to be bound up with personal happiness and fulfillment - it might be romantic love, but it could be other things: maternity, a new joFor the exam-Make it clear what the poet is talking about. Remember HOW the poem is written, language, structure. What does the poem have to say about the past and the way it effects the present. In exam, could write short paragraphs about: What do you think the poet means by imagining a room breaking out of itself? How does the poet suggest ideas of change and opportunity? This is a very happy poem - how does Imtiaz Dharker suggest her joy in it?Does the poem give us any clues as to why this upheaval is going on, or is the cause unimportant? What do you think might have caused it?What is the effect of the images in the poem - of rooms, furniture and crockery bursting into life?

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'Hurricane Hits England', Grace Nichols

context- 

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Comments

Reivi Kiizhu

It only has 1. :<
But the one shown is amazing. Can you upload the others?

Jessica Brown

just writing them now :)

Reivi Kiizhu

Hah, ok. Thanks a lot. :)

Jessica Brown

no problem, will probably be..half an hour maybe! 

priyanka

@Reivi Kiizhu click next to see the others

priyanka

@Reivi Kiizhu click next to see the others

priyanka

@Reivi Kiizhu click next to see the others

Zoeeee

amazing stuff girl!!! :) thanks

Zoeeee

Please can you do the poems, Not my Business and Hurricane Hits England. Thank you :)

Jessica Brown

noo problem, struggling to find stuff on not my buisness, laame 

Izzy Beard

These are great thank you :)

Jessica Brown

im getting horribly frustrated now, its stopped letting me type etc! buut theres stuff of 'Hurricane hits england' here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/english/poemscult/hurricanerev1.shtml

cant find anything on not my buisness..argh 

Paul Dutton

A useful set of notes on these poems, contains information on context as well.

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