Compare and contrast the presentation of place and identity in City Planners and Continuum

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Compare and contrast the presentation of place and identity in City Planners and Continuum

“The City Planners” by Margaret Atwood is a poem about her distaste for the obsessive regularity and perfection of the city. Atwood opens the poem with vivid exposition of time and place as she “cruis[es] these residential Sunday streets in dry August. This effectively creates a sense of place and set the tone of the poem. Atwood uses the verb “cruising” which juxtaposes strongly with the obsessively clean and fake suburbia landscape that she is driving through. The constant use of juxtaposition is very effective as it creates a stark contrast between the ordered and suppressing city and the disordered and creative driver in the car.

“The City Planners” is written with no set stanza length and no set rhyme, which usually represents disorder and chaos. This could represent how on the surface, suburbia seems that it is perfect, but under the surface, it is unnatural and obsessive. This is case with “Continuum” by Allen Curnow. This poem has no rhyme, but in comparison to “The City Planners”, it has a weirdly regular form as it is written in syllabic tercets. This obsessive precision and order seems to replicate the apparent perfection in suburbia.
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“Continuum” is a poem about the process of writing a poem and the constant duel between two identities, one that is writing poetically and one that is precise and ordered. From the outset of the poem, he makes it clear that the narrator cannot be trusted as he contradicts himself in a suspension of disbelief, “the moon rolls over the roof and falls behind my house, and the moon does neither of these things”. He begins with a metaphor, which he then rejects. The author then reveals that he has can’t get to sleep and one assumes that ...

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