The Manhunt is written from the perspective of the wife of a soldier who has sustained serious injuries at war and has returned home. The poem explores the physical and mental effects of living with injuries sustained when on active service in the armed forces.
Simon Armitage uses colloquial (everyday, informal) language and autobiographical material. He has worked on several television programmes including a documentary on permanently injured soldiers and their lives. This poem was first broadcast as part of that documentary.
The poem is made up of a series of couplets, mostly unrhymed. This creates a sense of fragmentation, which matches the feelings of the soldier's wife as she seeks to understand the man her husband has become.
The title puns on the idea of the 'manhunt', meaning literally a hunt to capture a man, often a criminal. Here the wife's search is…