Unseen Poets - Shapcott, Hannah and Sheers

What is the background of Jo Shapcott?
She is from London and lectures in creative writing at a university there. She has won lots of poetry prizes and in 2003 was diagnosed with cancer which influenced the themes of her later poetry.
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What themes does she write about?
Science, nature and everyday life
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What about science and nature?
She writes about how advances in science change the ways we think about life and ourselves. She writes about the effect humanity has on nature and vice versa.
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What about everyday life?
She observes little things and puts them into her poetry like a mug or a shopping trip. This allows her to make more universal comments making her poems easy to relate to.
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What techniques does she often use in her poetry?
Characters, imagery and free verse
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What about characters and imagery?
The poems are often about different characters, animals, people or even lettuce, making her poems narrative and interesting. She uses similes, metaphors and personification creating unusual and humorous images.
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What about free verse?
Most of her poems don't rhyme and don't have a strict rhythm, and often the stanzas aren't even lengths.
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What is the background of Sophie Hannah?
She was born in Manchester and lives in Cambridge with her family. She has written crime fiction, short stories and a book for children as well as poetry.
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What does she write about?
Relationships, human behaviour and human failings.
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What about relationships?
A lot of her poems are about relationships between men and women, particularly affairs and failing romances. The tone is bitter and humorous, focusing on the other person's faults.
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What about human behaviour?
She pokes fun at the way people act, particularly experts and rule makers. They pick out people's percieved faults, portraying men as stubborn or weak and women as dishonest and judgmental.
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What techniques does she use?
First or second person voice, form and repetition, alliteration, enjambment and various other techniques.
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What about the voice?
By using first/second voice, Hannah often addresses the poems to a partner and makes the poems seem direct and personal. She uses traditional forms but the content is not traditional, with strong rhyme schemes and short lines.
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What about Owen Sheers?
He was born in Fiji but grew up in Wales. He was written fiction, non-fiction, plays and journalistic pieces as well as poetry.
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What does he write about?
Man vs. Nature, separation, growing up and war.
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What about man vs. nature and separation?
He writes about how people interact with the environment and leave their marks on landscapes. Once we are gone, only nature remains. He writes about different types of separation like the breakdown of relationships or death.
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What about growing up and war?
He writes about the loss of innocence and refers to the circle of life and the idea of an end also being a beginning. He writes about the unnaturalness of warm its effect on soldiers and the people that they leave behind in war zones.
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What techniques does he use?
He uses imagery, personification and form.
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What about imagery and personification?
He uses natural metaphors and uses imagery. Places and landforms are often personified, making them seem more connected with humans.
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What about form?
He doesn't use much regular rhyme but many have a natural rhythm. He often uses enjambment.
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What themes does she write about?


Science, nature and everyday life

Card 3


What about science and nature?


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Card 4


What about everyday life?


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Card 5


What techniques does she often use in her poetry?


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