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Carol Ann Duffy and Feminine Gospels

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Matthew Cookson

on 8 October 2016

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Transcript of Carol Ann Duffy and Feminine Gospels

Carol Ann Duffy
and Feminine Gospels


Title of the collection
A gospel is an account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Feminine relating to women. So religious connotations. Christians claim gospels are historically accurate but some claim more metaphorical than literal truth.
Many different visions of female identity contained in the collection.
Takes ideas from myth, stereotypes, history, popular culture etc to create modern tales about womanhood often in an allegorical (work containing an underlying message) or personal way.
All of the poems have
female voices.
Collection could be seen to
have two halves
In first half Duffy takes historical figures, or creates modern or mythical characters to illustrate aspects of women's struggle for identity in the past and now. Mostly told by a narrator, not the character.
In second half, from 'The Laughter of Stafford Girls' High' (which can be seen as bridge between two halves), Duffy writes much more personally and autobiographically about her own experiences of life and love.
Some themes:
Connection between women
Power
Freedom of voice
Redressing wrongs of history
Difference between public perception and private life
Self-determination and liberation (sexually, independence)
Transformation and expectation of society or media
Love
Writer's methods:
Duffy uses poetic, matter of fact style, which makes her poetry accessible. She has been accused of using unpoetic language, but there is a lyricism to her work.
Shocks and surprises reader with language, imagery and transformations of characters.
Inventive use of form and structure to tell her stories (sonnet, narrative poem), give a different feel to each poem.
Carol Ann Duffy was born in Glasgow in 1955. Family moved to Stafford in 1962. Was prodigious writer from early age.
When she was 16, she moved to Liverpool to be with the poet Adrian Henri, who was 25 years her senior.
Some of her most famous collections include The World's Wife (1999), Rapture (2005) and Love Poems (2009). She became Poet Laureate in 2009, the first woman, Scot and openly LGBT person to hold the position.
We are studying Feminine Gospels, her 2002 collection as our Modern Times set poetry text.
A Level English Literature
While you can answer a question exclusively on Feminine Gospels in the Paper 2 exam, I want you to instead tackle the question in which you compare the collection with The Color Purple based on a given theme.
To answer any question on Feminine Gospels we will have to fully explore Duffy's use of poetic techniques, such as rhyme, rhythm, narrative voice, use of stanza structure etc, as well as considering the context in which she was writing and her objectives.
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