Compare and contrast the cultures of two poems - Unrelated Incidents, by Tom Leonard and Half-Caste, by John Agard

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Caroline Wood, 10W

This essay will be based on comparing and contrasting the cultures of two poems. The two poems I will be talking about are “Unrelated Incidents”, by Tom Leonard and “Half-Caste”, by John Agard. The poems are based on different cultures, and whether or not it matters what culture you have.

        Both of the poems are structured in interesting ways. “Unrelated Incidents” is set out in a long column with 38 lines and no more than four words per line. It seems to be set out like an auto-cue TV presenters use instead of scripts. There are no sections or verses in it, whereas “Half-Caste” has four verses which is (in my opinion) split into two sections – the first two verses consists of John Agard asking questions and using the word “half-caste” to describe things where colours are mixed, like artwork and piano keys, and in the second pair of verses he is using “half-caste” to describe parts of his body and states of mind. “Half-Caste” has 53 lines and no full stops. It has what (at a first glance) seem to be random forward slashes, but I have now realised that it seems to welcome a pause after each forward slash. In “Unrelated Incidents” there aren’t any capital letters except for “BBC” which is something I didn’t pick up on at first.

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        The poems are both performance poems and the tone or mood of them are similar – there is some humour in both poems and they look as though they should be spoken in an angry sort of way. After watching a video of Tom Leonard and John Agard themselves reading their poems my assumption that the poems should be read with a sort of angry humour were confirmed. In “Unrelated Incidents” I think that the poem should be spoken in an angry way the whole way through, whereas with “Half-Caste” it seems to me that it should start off in ...

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