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The piece of satirical work that I’ve chosen to analyse is a poem written by Carol Ann Duffy, a very successful female poet. The poem itself is called “Poet For Our Times”, it was written approximately ten to fifteen years ago, at the time she was working in a comprehensive school running workshops. This poem bore some personal significance to Duffy because her brother was working as the news editor for the “Daily Mirror”. The poem is written in the first person, told from the point of view of a newspaper headline writer.
The poem attempts to satirize the culture of the time and there is an underlying political and social contemporary context. The use of the headlines is satirizing the un-poetic nature of the headlines and therefore the newspapers. Duffy also uses the content of the headlines referring to the conservative government of the time in an attempt to satirize both the government’s effectiveness; and the private lives of the more significant figures in the government, such as Cecil Parkinson, “CECIL-KEAYS ROW SHOCK TELLS EYETIE WAITER.
” This headline tells of a row between the politician and his secretary Keays who he allegedly had a love child with. This is satirizing his inability to stick to his marriage vows, so in using this headline she succeeds in exposing the weakness of Cecil Parkinson for another woman, other than his wife. This headline also feature a term which wouldn’t be understood in this day, that is, “EYETIE” This is a racial slang term for Italian, which originated during the Second World War when Italy formed an alliance with Germany.
The derogatory term is satirizing the racist nature of many English men during the time the poem was written, I think that this is an attempt to satirize this feature of the late nineteen eighties English man and his folly into racial slur. The narrator thinks very highly of himself and he even goes as far as to say that he thinks he is a, “Poet for our times. ” Whereas in actual fact he isn’t and this is what Duffy is satirizing, his high opinion of himself which is unjustified, as in fact he merely writes punchy lines in order to try and sell more papers for the daily paper that he works for.
I think that another aspect of the headline writer’s life that Duffy is satirizing is the pub culture of him and of his working class friends and peers. I think this stands out due to short phrases in each stanza, which are read as ‘pub talk’, for example, “all-right-squire. ” I think that this talk could be the narrator talking to either a landlord or lady or his friends. The pub talk continues throughout the poem and I think that this implies that the man doesn’t just go to the pub for a ‘swift half’, but more like for a heavy drinking session.
I think that this is implied because the man says, “My shout” In the following stanza that implies that it is his turn to pay for a round of drinks. Then two stanzas later another drink is asked for, this is implied when he says, “make that a scotch, ta. ” This implies that he isn’t merely in the pub for a quick drink, but that he is a heavy drinker as he is changing his drink to a spirit. I think that this satirization is in order to depict the weakness of the narrator to alcohol and the unhealthy lifestyle.
I think that she is trying to make the point that working class men should spend less time in the pub, and possibly more with their family if they’re married or partaking in some kind of recreational activity, such as using a local health club or playing five a side football. In conclusion to the points I have made I think that Duffy’s poem is very successful in exposing human follies and weaknesses and trying toi change the cultural approach of working class men of the time.