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Ursula Askham Fanthorpe

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Neil Chambers U.A FANTHORPE COURSEWORK Ursula Askham Fanthorpe is a modern poet; she was born in 1929 in London. Many of U.A Fanthorpe's poems are based on school life as this is the area where she had experienced most of her life being a university graduate and an English teacher, this would make it easier for her to use this topic to write about. She was not impressed by the British school system, and found the job too demanding so she resigned and went on to write poems about things she had picked up from schools. She expresses her disgust for the British school system in three of her poems that I have studied, Half Past Two, Reports and Dear Mr Lee. In these poems she criticises the teachers of Britain. The first of U.A Fanthorpe's poems that I studied was Half Past Two. This poem is based in a primary school with the main characters being a young female teacher and a young boy aged at five or six. The little boy has done something wrong which we are not told and he is not quite sure either and he seems too scared to ask. ...read more.


The young teacher is also instructed not to put anything too special on the reports, "has made a fair beginning" and "satisfactory" will do. I think the older teacher in this poem is very strict and is trying to mould the new teacher into someone like her. This yet again is U.A Fanthorpe showing another flaw in the schools. However this works in favour of the older teacher as the new teacher wants to avoid criticism from pupils or parents. The last of U.A Fanthorpe's poems I studied is one where she expresses her admiration for a fellow writer called Laurie Lee. The poem is formatted like a letter entitled, Dear Mr Lee. A young schoolgirl who loved Laurie Lee's book writes a letter to him about her English lessons and her English teacher. The girl goes on to write about how Mr Lee's book was better than any Shakespeare. She explains how his book was the only thing that kept her going through her English lessons and that she hated the way they had to study the book. ...read more.


U.A Fanthorpe writes in a very informal almost chatty tone, so not to put herself above the reader, and so to keep with that motive she uses everyday language so not to confuse the reader either, and her use of italics is to show different voices such as in Half Past Two the voice of the teacher, in Reports what is written on the reports, and in Dear Mr Lee it's the words of the examiner on her work. In Half Past Two and Reports the words are organised into verses. This is to show what happens at different times in Half Past Two, and in Reports it's to show the different stages in the first five verses, when in the sixth verse its put together as a metaphor for life, and then in the seventh verse it eventually comes to death with "rest in peace". In Dear Mr Lee, the poem is like a letter with no paragraphs as the girl rushes to get in all of what she wants to say. In conclusion U.A Fanthorpe is a modern poet and this is shown in both the style and subjects of her poems. U.A Fanthorpe's attitude to the education system is somewhat rebellious and she expresses it well in her poems. ...read more.

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