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How does the use of non-standard English in poetry contribute to the construction of its reader's responses?

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  • Essay length: 1425 words
  • Submitted: 22/12/2003
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AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks

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How does the use of non-standard English in poetry contribute to the construction of its reader's responses? ??? ???

The use of non-standard English in poetry can be used for several effects. I shall be looking at it in conjunction with performance poetry to see how it contributes to the construction of its reader's responses. In particular, I will be looking at Afro-Caribbean-born poets and their work namely John Agard's 'Listen Mr Oxford Don', Grace Nichol's 'Thoughts drifting through the fat black woman's head while having a full bubble bath' and Jean Binta Breeze's 'Arising: for the youth of Azania'. All these poets use non-standard English in their poetry and also incorporate performance into their readings and therefore add a new dimension into the construction.

Firstly, I shall talk a little of the traditions of African oral literature. It was transported from the early 17th through to the 19th century from Africa to America and the Caribbean in the form of 'story telling, proverbs, rituals and poems' via the African slaves. Their history is underlined by the loss of their native cultures and languages whereby they then were forced to adopt the English language by their slavers.

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