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You're Beautiful

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by

Kate Conway

on 3 June 2014

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Transcript of You're Beautiful

You're Beautiful because you’re classically trained.
I’m ugly because I associate piano wire with strangulation.
You’re beautiful because you stop to read the cards in newsagents’ windows about lost cats and missing dogs.
I’m ugly because of what I did to that jellyfish with a lolly-stick and a big stone.
You’re beautiful because for you, politeness is instinctive, not a marketing campaign
I’m ugly because desperation is impossible to hide.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars.

You’re beautiful because you believe in coincidence and the power of thought.
I’m ugly because I proved God to be a mathematical impossibility.
You’re beautiful because you prefer home-made soup to the packet stuff. I’m ugly because once, at a dinner party,I defended the aristocracy and wasn’t even drunk.
You’re beautiful because you can’t work the remote control.
I’m ugly because of satellite television and twenty-four hour rolling news.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars.



You’re beautiful because you cry at weddings as well as funerals.
I’m ugly because I think of children as another species from a different world.
You’re beautiful because you look great in any colour including red.
I’m ugly because I think shopping is strictly for the acquisition of material goods.
You’re beautiful because when you were born, undiscovered planets
lined up to peep over the rim of your cradle and lay gifts of gravity and light
at your miniature feet.
I’m ugly for saying ‘love at first sight’ is another form of mistaken identity,
and that the most human of all responses is to gloat.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars.

You’re beautiful because you’ve never seen the inside of a car-wash.
I’m ugly because I always ask for a receipt.
You’re beautiful for sending a box of shoes to the third world.
I’m ugly because I remember the telephone of ex-girlfriends and the year Schubert was born.
You’re beautiful because you sponsored a parrot in a zoo.
I’m ugly because when I sigh it’s like the slow collapse of a circus tent.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars.


By Marlene and Kate
You're Beautiful
You’re beautiful because you can point at a man in a uniform and laugh.
I’m ugly because I was a police informer in a previous life.
You’re beautiful because you drink a litre of water and eat three pieces of fruit a day.
I’m ugly for taking the line that a meal without meat is a beautiful woman with one eye.
You’re beautiful because you don’t see love as a competition and you know how to lose.
I’m ugly because I kissed the FA Cup and then held it up to the crowd.

You’re beautiful because of a single buttercup in the top buttonhole of your cardigan.
I’m ugly because I said the World’s Strongest Woman was a muscleman in a dress.
You’re beautiful because you couldn’t live in a lighthouse.
I’m ugly for making hand-shadows in front of the giant bulb, so when they look up,
the captains of vessels in distress see the ears of a rabbit, or the eye of a fox, or the legs of a galloping black horse.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars.

Ugly like he is,
Beautiful like hers,
Beautiful like Venus,
Ugly like his,
Beautiful like she is,
Ugly like Mars




Analysis of Poem
She is represented as:
Idealistic
Naive
Kind
Sentimental
Socially conscious
Politically correct
Motives are suspect

He is represented as:
Cynical
Realistic
Curious
Fearless
Politically incorrect
Playful

Traditional and Mythological references
Venus and Mars
Incantation, spell (refrain)

Refrain
Allows readers thoughts to settle
Loses meaning of love and the differences between the couple
Hypnotic rhythm

Irony

Appreciation of the self and opposites

What is beautiful and what is ugly?
Reasons are suspect

6 verse stanza

Use of simile's Eg. 'Beautiful Like Venus'

Use of meter - the repetition of the refrain

Simon Armitage
Influence of historical events
Influence of society and culture
Influence of time and location on poetic form and language
Simon Armitage
Main ideas about Love
Personal Values and Beliefs apparent in Armitage's poetry
How 'You're Beautiful' was received
Our connection with 'You're Beautiful'
Bibliography
Born 1963 in Marsden, West Yorkshire

Studied geography and psychology

Wrote a thesis on the effects of television violence on young offenders

Worked as a probation officer until 1994

Taught at University of Leeds, University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop and as a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University

Writes for radio, television and film.

Author of four stage plays, including:
Mister Hercules
The Madness of Heracles (version of the Euripides play)
Jerusalem

Wrote Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster in 2011, a BBC Radio 4 play

Wrote Gig: The Life and Times of a Rock-Star Fantasist
Passion for popular music

Lead singer and lyricist of band
The Scaremongers
Differences are a part of the relationship and are essential to their love

The beauty of the woman is created by the narrator, her differences make her loveable

Detailed explanations of beauty ‘You’re Beautiful because when you were born, undiscovered planets lined up to peer over the rim of your cradle and lay gifts of gravity and light at your miniature feet’

Mystery around love, unknown ideas

Concept of Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus

Opposites attract

Love is beauty
"It's never going to be very mainstream.
One reason is that poetry requires concentration, both on the part of the writer and the reader. But it's kind of unkillable, poetry. It's our most ancient art form and I think it's more relevant today than ever, because it's one person saying what they really believe."

- Simon Armitage
At the age of 13 and 14 Armitage would roam the Saddleworth Moor

The New Generation is a group of poets who were all part of a mission to promote the values of modern British poetry.

Simon Armitage was a part of this group of 20 poets who had all published their first collections in the past 10 years.

The New Generation focused on communicating contemporary issues through their poetry.

The influence of the New Generation can be seen through Armitage’s laid back style of writing in You’re Beautiful, he is not phased by the politically incorrect statements such as ‘I’m ugly because I think of children as another species from a different world’.

You’re Beautiful emphasises the concept of Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars

Ugly like he is, Beautiful like hers, Beautiful like Venus, Ugly like his, Beautiful like she is, Ugly like Mars.
Slang, witty language in the vernacular of his native country increased relatibility

The poem was quite well received by the modern community

Allowed people to relate to it

Appealing to those in a similar relationship

However some felt the sarcasm in the poem made it difficult to interpret

Performance poetry became increasingly popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s
It involves performances such as oral story-telling, music, stand-up comedy and monologues

You’re Beautiful takes the form of a monologue and is best when listened to Simon Armitage’s own reading

Armitage likes the idea of reading his own poetry - "part of the task of the ancient task of being a poet"
However, Armitage believes he does not 'own' the way a poem is read

You’re Beautiful takes the form of a monologue and uses quite informal language

Simon Armitage’s dialect makes his poetry readings particularly fascinating
Musical background
Informal language

About Simon Armitage, 2014 The Poetry Archive, accessed 20 May 2014, <http://www.poetryarchive.org/poet/simon-armitage>.

Brown, A 2006 The Ecology of Here and Now, Faber and Faber, accessed 22 May 2014, <http://www.stridemagazine.co.uk/2006/May%202006/brown.armitage.htm>.

Biography, n.d. Simon Armitage, accessed 20 May 2014, <http://www.simonarmitage.com/biography.html>.

Coussens, C 2008 British National Identity, Topicality and Tradition in the Poetry of Simon Armitage, Academia.edu, accessed 20 May 2014, <http://www.academia.edu/853457/British_National_Identity_Topicality_and_Tradition _Poetry_of_Simon_Armitage>

Finch, P 2001 British Poetry since 1945, The Continuum Encyclopaedia of British Literature, accessed 22 May 2014, <http://www.peterfinch.co.uk/enc.htm>.

Harley, A 2001 Simon Armitage and reader author relations, Neccessary Wobbles, accessed 25 May 2014, <http://simonarmitage.typepad.com/homepage/2005/11/httpwwwsmithyla.html>.

Life on the Line, 2005 The Guardian, accessed 20 May 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/books/2004/jun/05/poetry.simonarmitage>.

Vendler, H 2009 A New Head, Powells Books, accessed 22 May 2014, <http://www.powells.com/review/2009_02_12.html>.

Simon Armitage, n.d. Poetry Foundation, accessed 22 May 2014, <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/simon-armitage#poet>

Simon Armitage interview, n.d. The Poetry Archive, accessed 22 May 2014, <http://www.poetryarchive.org/interview/simon-armitage-interview>

Simon Armitage (1963–), n.d. AQA, accessed 22 May 2014, <http://anthology.aqa.org.uk/armitage>

‘John Harris's national conversations podcast: Simon Armitage’ 2011, John Harris's national conversations, Podcast, The Guardian, 7 November, accessed 23 May 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/books/audio/2011/nov/07/john-harris-national-conversations-podcast-simon-armitage>.


Believes poetry is a way of inventing significance to an idea e.g. life, love

"There's a sort of literary Simon Armitage that I read about in papers, not always in glowing terms, and he makes me smile; and then there's my other life, my kind of home life which is decidedly non-literary. And I'm always playing with the persona of the literary Simon Armitage in the poems and, maybe these two characters sort of blur a little bit."

"There is something about poetry which is oppositional and it's a form of dissent even in its physical form... it wouldn't be poetry [if a mainstream art form]. Poetry has always has a complex relationship with language... it cannot be a mainstream art form."
Industrial background of Yorkshire
"I was never going to be a Bohemian because I'm from a part of the world where we make things. And I wanted to make things as well but I didn't want to make tractors and engines which a lot of kids from school wanted to do. You need a role model to show you what things to make."

Armitage's poetry was influenced by Ted Hughes, W.H. Auden, and Philip Larkin

Assaults on the citadel of centralist tradition created to some extent a 'poetry boom'
Have not experienced a similar relationship

However have experienced some friendships which are similar

Can recognise the reality/truth of the implied concepts
Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus
Opposites attract


Class Discussion
Poetry is a very compact language, so you can think about whether there is another meaning to some of the words; it can be like looking into a pond – will something else come into focus? One thing you shouldn’t do is assume there’s some kind of key that will ‘turn’ this poem, or that there’s some code that you’ve got to press.
How do you think love is conveyed throughout this poem?

Do you feel that by listening to the reading by Simon Armitage, your experience of the poem is enhanced? How?

How do you perceive the characters represented in
You're Beautiful
?
Do they differ from our interpretation?

How do you think the mythological and traditional references relate to the characters and their relationship?

Tone?
Bitter, sincere, suspect?

What are your interpretations of ugly and beautiful?

Additional comments/questions?
Full transcript