The language in both poems is easy to understand neither have many difficult words and only Soyinka’s poem uses metaphors and similes. The poems use questions for emphasis as well as for humour. In Fanthorpe’s poem the interviewer is very rude using questions, “Were you educated? We mean, of course, Where were you educated?” but in the former poem questions are used for sarcasm “You mean like plain or milk chocolate?”. These examples show how rude, funny or serious the poets are trying to be. However rudeness can be shown in different ways like by using Caesuras as is shown in these examples from both either poems, “And how-
Much of a handicap is that to you?”
Or by using hyphens “Foolishly, madam -
By sitting down, friction has turned
My bottom raven black – ”
The poets build up tension by using run on lines,
“You should see
The rest of me”
This is an example from the “Telephone Conservation”.
Neither poem uses rhyme or rhythm; by the poets not using them the poems seem more natural and more like conversations. Humour and mockery is used throughout the poems in Soyinka’s poem the man uses mockery to describe his skin colour “Raven Black” whereas in Fanthorpe’s poem ridicule is used to show the interviewers disgust for the interviewee, “The usual dubious
Desire to perpetuate what had better
Not have happened at all.”
The interviewer is saying that the candidate is to ugly to have been allowed to have children, this is extremely rude yet because the candidate seems to have no voice he can’t fight back.
Repetition is used in the Telephone conversation but not in the other poem. The word red is repeated to show the mans anger “Red booth. Red pillar box. Red double-tiered.” In You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly alliteration is used to discriminate the persons address
“We do not
Ask what domestic disasters shimmer
Behind that vaguely unsuitable address”
My conclusion is I prefer the Telephone Conversation because the man at the other end of the phone gets to voice his disagreement where as in You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly doesn’t. Also YWBHFUS is an extremely ironic title, as the person will definitely not be hearing them from the interviewer. The former poem seems to be based in the sixties at the earliest because of the red double Decker bus and the red telephone box. Overall they are both of racist views though at least in one the person has a chance.