How to Answer Unseen Poetry

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I will be referring to this unseen poem from the OCR Jan 2013 paper throughout this guide: 

The Fish Are All Sick

The fish are all sick, the great whales dead, The villages stranded in stone on the coast, Ornamental, like pearls on the fringe of a coat. Sea men, who knew what the ocean did, Turned their low houses away from the surf. But new men who come to be rural and safe Add big glass views and begonia beds. Water keeps to itself. White lip after lip. Curls to a close on the littered beach. Something is sicker and blacker than fish. And closing its grip and closing its grip.

Anne Stevenson

How does Anne Stevenson make this poem so disturbing? You should consider:

  • the effect of the opening line

  • the description of the…

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