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Provide a sample of poetry from a range of authors each of whom portray the theme of 'loss' in some way.

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Laura Summers 0512970 Week 5 Anthology Introduction The object of this collection is to provide a sample of poetry from a range of authors each of whom portray the theme of 'loss' in some way. 'Loss' has been a recurring theme in literature for centuries, from early poets such as William Shakespeare who portrays loss in many of his tragedies including the loss of sanity in 'King Lear' and the loss of reputation in 'Othello', through to Keats's 'Odes' and into the twentieth and twenty-first century. Loss is an important aspect of life and many modern poets find it to be an interesting theme to deal with in their work. The poems chosen for the anthology show a range of responses to different types of loss, from death to material possessions, and each deals with the theme in their own definitive way. The first poem in the anthology is 'We are Seven' by William Wordsworth. Although his work dates over 150 years earlier than the other poems in the anthology, he was, and still is a pivotal part of the development of poetry and his voice can still be clearly heard today in the twenty-first century. His poems from 'Lyrical Ballads', in his own words, feature 'incidents and situations from common life'. This indisputably incorporates the theme of loss in many of his poems, such as 'Old Man Travelling' and 'The Thorn'. ...read more.


The second poem 'Book Ends' by Tony Harrison is example of different responses towards death, which is visibly interpreted as loss by Harrison. 'Book Ends' is an autobiographical poem about the death of his mother and how it affected himself and his father. Part I depicts the relationship Harrison had with his father. As with many of his poems there is a tension between the two classes Harrison feels he represents; the working class he was born into represented by the character of his father, and the middle class he feels he was educated into represented by himself. Harrison notes that it was the education that put a greater distance between him and his father 'what's still between's / not the thirty years or so, but books, book, books'. Yet there is an interesting inversion of the ideas about the working class and the middle class in Part II. The second part describes Harrison and his father thinking of an epitaph for the gravestone. Whilst it would be expected that Harrison, the educated one, would be the one to write the words, he finds himself feeling unexplainably tongue-tied through his feelings of loss. However, his uneducated father is the one who is able to express his feelings of love towards his deceased wife, 'I've got the envelope that he'd been scrawling, / mis-spelt, mawkish, stylistically appalling / but I can't squeeze more love into their stone'. ...read more.


On the other hand, the loss of her virginity could be said to be the transitional point at which the narrator becomes a woman and gains sexual experience. Like the other poems, the interpretations of loss are difficult to outline definitely, but some of the clues for the poem 'Monkeys' can be found in the language Hill uses. The narrator identifies the sexual experience as the point where she 'became a woman', indicating that the she does not see losing her virginity as a loss, but as a gain. However, the way in which she describes the sexual experience does put to question the manner in which she lost her virginity. The depiction of the man, her 'grandmother's scaly-fingered gardener', does not sound like the sort of man a young girl would willingly give herself to. Moreover the description of his actions gives the incident a sinister mood; he 'half-marches, half creeps' into her bedroom with an 'excited reluctance'. Such descriptions could then be said to be alluding to images of rape, not consented sexual activity. This is further emphasised by the girl's attitude towards her virginity, referring to the man as having 'mended it'. This is a very detached view of something that is often seen as being fundamental to a girl and does not give the impression of the loving relationship between two people usually associated with the loss of virginity. ...read more.

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