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Many of the poems in the Anthology are concerned with origins. The poets explore and consider these cultural identities in their poems. Write about their point of view - Blessing - Presents from my aunt in Pakistan - Ogun - Hurricane hits England.

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Introduction

Poems from other cultures and traditions (identity) Many of the poems in the Anthology are concerned with origins. The poets explore and consider these cultural identities in their poems. Write about their point of view. 1. Blessing 2. Presents from my aunt in Pakistan 3. Ogun 4. Hurricane hits England These four poems are all concerned about the identity process and how people look to their past heritage for identity and for their sense of being. Blessing Imtiaz Dharker lives in India, in the city of Bombay. During the dry season, the temperature can reach 40 degrees. The poem is set in a vast area of temporary accommodation called Dharavi, on the outskirts of Bombay, where millions of migrants have gathered from other parts of India. Because it is not an official living area, there is always a shortage of water. The poem starts with a simple statement, there is never enough water, and shows what it is like to be without water. When the poet imagines water, it is so special it is compared to a god. When a water pipe bursts, we are shown how the community responds: they collect as much water as possible. The children enjoy the water and play in it. The poem is structured in four stanzas of different lengths. The poet starts new paragraphs at lines 3, 7 and 18. It is significant that short stanzas (with short, abrupt sentences) express what it is like to be without water, and longer stanzas (with flowing sentences) ...read more.

Middle

However, she is of no fixed nationality. This sounds a slightly threatening phrase (there's a similar one - 'of no fixed abode' - which is used in law courts when the defendant is homeless). The speaker imagines herself staring through fretwork at the beautiful Shalimar Gardens. In a confused voice, as if the girl cannot decide whether she is more Pakistani or English, wistfully, as if she regrets having lost her original culture Gratefully, as she thinks about the beautiful, exotic gifts. Ogun Brathwaite was born in Barbados in the Caribbean. After attending Cambridge University, he taught for seven years in West Africa, where the 18th-century slave-traders had operated, and where the ancestors of so many modern-day West Indians originated, before returning to Barbados. A sense of African culture as part of West Indian identity has remained important to Brathwaite, as to many West Indians. He adopted the African name 'Kamau' in place of the English name 'Edward' with which he had been baptised. Ogun is based on the poet's personal memories of his great uncle, Robert O'Neill, a carpenter and wood-carver. The poem describes the workshop and daily life of a highly skilled West Indian carpenter (lines 1-20). His livelihood is threatened by imported steel and formica furniture (lines 21-26). On Sundays, the carpenter becomes a sculptor; carving out of his imagination wooden figures which resemble the effigies of old African gods (lines 27-47). He is reminded of Africa and feels anger. The poem is arranged in couplets (pairs of lines), but there isn't a regular pattern to these couplets. ...read more.

Conclusion

How can something be both fearful and reassuring? The speaker asks the gods she imagines in the hurricane a series of questions (line 13-27), but doesn't answer them directly. She asks: Why does the hurricane visit the English coast? Why do old tongues - the winds of the hurricane she remembers from her childhood - appear in new places? Why is there blinding illumination (lightning) when simultaneously the hurricane causes darkness by blowing down power lines? Is there anything that is also illuminated in herself? Why does the hurricane cause trees to be uprooted? Is there anything in her own life that becomes 'uprooted' as a result of the hurricane? In each of these four questions, she is trying to make sense of what is happening. The last question, which has a line to itself, appears to be the question to which the others lead up: O why is my heart unchained? The poem is full of natural imagery, mainly because it's about the effect of wind on landscape. For example, trees / Falling heavy as whales (line 23-24) is effective because the huge trees become like whales when the torrential rain that accompanies a hurricane makes the land become almost like a sea. The poem can be read in the following ways: In an excited way, to show how thrilled the woman is by the hurricane and the effect it has on her? In a mournful way, to emphasise how much she misses the place of her birth? In a grateful way, because the storm has reminded her of where she came from and helps her to realise that the same forces are at work in England? Martin Albazi ...read more.

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