…Explain how poetry
pursues the human like the smitten moon
above the weeping, laughing earth; how we
make prayers of it…

Interesting spat going on at the moment – an exam board took one of Carol Ann Duffy’s poems off the syllabus because it might encourage violence. The quote above comes from the poem she wrote in response.

I’ve always enjoyed her work hugely, and I love this particular phrase, which says so much about what poetry is, and can be!


6 responses to “Poetry

  1. Well, I consider that an excellent thing. It is nice to know that some people still believe that poetry can inspire something other than more poetry.

  2. Instead of deleting it from the curriculum, they could have used it to open a conversation about emotion and feelings of angst and, yes, at times violence. What a great outlet that could have been for young people, knowing they could write it out instead of act it out.

  3. Hmmm… I’m not sure that Duffy’s response works for me. I don’t think one action can be justified by the “but it’s been done before” line. ybonesy, I reckon you are spot on. I suspect the career I desire in teaching might have gone out the window recently, however.

  4. I agree that “it’s been done before” isn’t a sufficient justification – I think what Duffy’s saying is that just mentioning violence isn’t in itself a problem, it’s the way in which it’s done and the message that’s sent.

    I think her original poem definitely doesn’t glamourise violence – instead it brings out the listlessness and banality that can lead to tragedy.

  5. Is there anywhere we can read the original poem which sparked off al the controversy?

  6. There’s a link to the poem in one of the articles… it’s here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/sep/04/gcses.english

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