Stylistics and linguistic variation in poetry | Elena Semino - junkgenie.info
At the most obvious referential level of paraphrase summary this poem is about Linguistically, human relationships are mediated through the grammatical put at a remove from involvement with first- person self, no longer interactants. of the interaction becomes moderated by a display of consideration between interactants. In the poem, however, is found the exact reverse: total submission of the host to the macro- and micro-hosts, the relationship to the food consumed, . Not just for the star-struck lover, this poem explores the symbiotic relationship of love with charming modesty. The canon of love poetry wouldn't.
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And that is love. But a gem is different. It lasts so much longer than we do so much much much longer that it seems to last forever. Yet we know it is flowing away as flowers are, and we are, only slower. The wonderful slow flowing of the sapphire! All flows, and every flow is related to every other flow. Flowers and sapphires and us, diversely streaming. In the old days, when sapphires were breathed upon and brought forth during the wild orgasms of chaos time was much slower, when the rocks came forth.
The latter, which occurs in eight of the headlines, is a particularly noticeable feature of this type of register, given that in most cases it is used in place of the present perfective to refer to past events see Quirk et al.
Another characteristic feature of headlines which is reflected in the poem is the fact that they tend to assume a considerable amount of knowledge and information, which is either likely to be already available to readers e. This brings me to a consideration of the range of topics and subject-matter that are suggested by the headlines. While the references to current affairs, politics, and scandals can be taken as typical of newspapers generally, the particular selection of topics and the vocabulary used in reference to them is clearly reminiscent of the British tabloid press.
More 8 specifically, Duffy seems to rely on some of the most stereotypical characteristics of the British tabloids, including a negative attitude towards foreigners, a right-wing orientation, the focus on sexual scandals, and the inclusion of photographs of partially nude women. Some of the headlines appear to be concerned with political issues and general current affairs lines 24 and Interestingly, there are no references to international affairs or foreign news.
The poems collected in The Other Country, in particular, contain a range of voices providing different perspectives on racial and ethnic conflicts in Britain in the s Kinnahan Most of the headlines are concerned with sexual scandals, whether in politics, show-business or the media lines 5, 11, 12, 17, 18, 28and make use of colloquial and rather crude sexual vocabulary e.
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Interestingly, the two people involved are referred to by means of expressions which suggest greater closeness to Parkinson who is referred to by means of his first name than to Keays who is referred to by means of her last name. Apart from the colloquial and rather explicit sexual vocabulary mentioned above, the headlines in the poem contain several examples of colloquial lexis e.
Overall, therefore, Duffy exploits the stereotypical image of the tabloids as xenophobic, sexist, and predominantly right-wing newspapers, with a preference for sensational reports of sexual scandals. The last two lines of the poem As I mentioned earlier, on my first reading of the poem I attributed the last two lines to the main speaker in the poem. On the other hand, a closer analysis 9 reveals some important differences between these lines and the earlier stretches of text attributed to the headline writer, which cast some doubts on my initial reading.
Structurally, the last stanza does not fit the pattern of the previous stanzas, which all end with two capitalised lines representing newspaper headlines. As a consequence, the last two lines are foregrounded, in that they have no parallel in the first four stanzas of the poem. They are also different in terms of grammar and interpersonal features. The non-italicised parts of these two lines contain no verbs or clauses, but consist entirely of two noun phrases with parallel structures: It was used to announce the first sinking of an Argentine ship, the Belgrano, on the part of the British, and it can be seen as the epitome of the narrowly nationalistic and insensitive attitude to other countries which is often associated with the tabloids.
Finally, the last line uses sexual innuendoes, as opposed to the more openly sexual vocabulary which occurs in the rest of the poem. The poetic frame The non-literary registers described in the previous sections are cast by Duffy into a typically poetic form.
The poem is divided into five six-line stanzas, and each stanza has an ABABAB pattern of alternate rhymes, where the B lines have feminine endings. In addition, the poem is written in a broadly pentameter meter. Most lines are end-stopped e. A high foregrounding effect is therefore likely to be associated with the few instances of strong enjambement see Fowler A different foregrounding effect occurs at the boundary between lines 21 and 22, which separates the grammatical subject the Titanic from the main verb.
The alternate rhyming pattern is sustained throughout the poem with only relatively minor instances of irregularity e.
On the other hand, the contrast in the topics dealt with by the main speaker and by the capitalised headlines sometimes results in humorous, irreverent rhymes. The syllable count is usually compatible with a pentameter rhythm: More importantly, there is often a marked tension between the prosodic stressing of the lines and the pentameter beat e. The last two lines, however, appear to be foregrounded against the rest of the text also from a metrical point of view: This reinforces my earlier suggestion that these two lines may belong to a different voice, which is presented as more compatible with the metrical pattern in the poem.
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Overall, the attempt to fit prototypically non-poetic language into prototypically poetic patterns can have a twofold effect. On the one hand, it highlights a tension between everyday language and poetic regularity, and therefore potentially emphasizes the distance between the language used by the main speaker and what is traditionally regarded as poetry.
On the other hand, it shows how the boundary between literary and non-literary language is indeed fuzzy, considering that it is possible to give a fairly authentic rendition of two non-literary registers while at the same time sustaining a regular rhyme scheme and a fairly regular metrical pattern.
In this section, I will aim to provide such an account, particularly in order to explain some of the potential effects of the poem. On the one hand, the use of typically non-literary varieties in a poem is likely to be perceived by many readers as not, in itself, especially innovative, due to the linguistic freedom that has come to be associated with contemporary poetry.
In order to explain such contrasts, I will briefly outline the framework for the study of registers and contexts of use proposed by Halliday in Halliday and Hasan see also Leech Halliday describes contexts of situation in terms of three main features: This includes the channel of communication e. In particular, Short points out that literature is prototypically written language, but writers often create special effects by writing in ways which borrow characteristics associated with speech.
This is partly because it is expected to be serious, and so a fairly formal tenor is appropriate. But poetry particularly short lyric poetry is also characteristically a written form which does not attempt to evoke characters and this fact about medium also pushes poetry towards formality.
This does not mean, of course, that all 12 poems, or all parts of poems, will exhibit only writing characteristics.
I will distinguish between the context of communication of which the poem itself is part, and the context s of communication set up by the language of the poem. Tenor Female poet addressing Male journalist readers; no shared physical addressing drinking context; formal companion s in a pub; relationship; part of poetic shared physical context; tradition.
However, the most relevant contrasts here relate to tenor and mode. On the one hand, as I have repeatedly mentioned, contemporary poetic communication, as a tenor, does not impose strong or clear constraints on the variety of language used.
This affects what could be regarded as the default associations of the contextual configuration of the poetic mode of communication, i. As far as the tenor is concerned, there are contrasts between the two speakers and contexts in terms of gender female vs.
As far as mode is concerned, there is a contrast between speech and writing, and between the self-centred persuasive objectives of the headline writer on the one hand, and the broader, less easily identifiable literary and rhetorical aims of the poet. These contrasts are reflected linguistically in the juxtaposition and the tensions between the poetic features of the text which relate directly to the primary context of utteranceand the colloquial register described in section 3 which relates to the main secondary context of utterance.
Further contrasts are created by the inclusion of the capitalised headlines, which evoke the contextual configuration of press language. The tenor involves journalists addressing the general public, particularly, as far as the headlines are concerned, in order to attract their attention and entice them to buy the newspaper.
The mode involves the written channel, and a rhetorical slant that can be characterised as informative, persuasive, and, to some extent, entertaining. Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle's compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved. Donne weaves sensual and spiritual love together from the point of view of an awakening lover, while also making use of Biblical references. It contains the beautiful lines: Were we not weaned till then? But sucked on country pleasures, childishly? And now good-morrow to our waking souls, Which watch not one another out of fear; For love, all love of other sights controls, And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone, Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown, Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one. My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears, And true plain hearts do in the faces rest; Where can we find two better hemispheres, Without sharp north, without declining west?