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Modern Poetry: Violence in the Twentieth Century.

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Introduction

Modern Poetry: Violence in the Twentieth Century In this essay I am going to be writing about the poems Belfast Confetti (Ciaran Carson), Tiananmen (James Fenton), No more Hiroshimas (James Kirkup). I am going to be looking for the imagery, style, sound effects and the overall effect that the poet uses to create different feels in their poems. I will be contrasting and comparing the poems. The three poets and their poems are written in different styles to one another. Starting with the poem Belfast Confetti, this is describing the troubles in Northern Ireland. This is probably the poem that stands out the most with its use of imagery and the references to the punctuation marks. This poem starts of in an urgent fashion; "Suddenly" it is covered with the "riot squad" and they have to face with the exploding vehicle. Carson even details the missiles that rain on the troops: "Nuts, bolts, mails, car-keys". He uses the signs of exclamation and punctuation marks to create two possible effects; the effect of him typing on the typewriter creating the sound effects of "rapid fire", or by actually using the imagery of the punctuation to indicate the missiles with the exclamation mark (!) ...read more.

Middle

This is a subtle poem where the irony of the situation builds up and then the point of the poem is made more powerful with the monosyllable rhythm of the poem. In contrast to Belfast Confetti this poem has many repetitions such as the word "Tiananmen" which stresses the importance of the occasion. Lines that need emphasis are also repeated such as: "Thrown on the pile, Thrown on the pile." "Keep it dark, Keep it dark." The first of these two is the vivid imagery used in the poem telling us of the bodies being thrown on to the funeral pyres. The second, "Keep it dark" is warning us to keep the events of Tiananmen Square all hush as there was the following denial of the events. The sound effect and the rhythm of the whole poem resembles a child like chant or a marching tune. But again, there is an ambiguity of whether it is the students marching again or the army marching back to silence the students. This poem has no special vocabulary like Belfast Confetti that uses specialist terms. ...read more.

Conclusion

All the lines begin with the word "The" emphasising the importance of these items and playing with the sound of the lines. However out of the whole poem, the two lines that strike me the most and that are the most different from the other poems are the last two lines, "Remember only these. They are the memorials we need." These lines show how, unlike the other poems, Kirkup plays with the emotions of the reader, telling the reader to remember the items of clothing, and the signs of the recovering city. This poem has an emotional effect casting the readers mind back to the pictures of the blast and making us empathise with the people of Hiroshima. Kirkup, throughout the poem stresses on the point that the town stills remains affected by the blast, till today by repeating the line about the river twice in stanza 2, "The river remains unchanged, sad, refusing rehabilitation." Overall the poem that I feel has the strongest impact on me, the reader is Tiananmen. Fenton uses the powers of sound to make a mark on the reader and to stress the dictatorship rule of the Xiaoping regime at the time. ...read more.

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