Carol Ann Duffy

Categories: Carol Ann Duffy

It is important for a poet to create a convincing image of the situation being represented and a common way any poet does this is by strong visual imagery, it is the easiest sense for someone to imagine. In “Stafford Afternoons” Carol Ann Duffy describes a rather risqu image of a man in the woods! The obvious meaning of the “living, purple root in his hand” is his penis and this is rather an intense image for a young girl just trying to be a little bit adventurous.

 Another strong created by Duffy is in “The captain of the 1964 Top of the Form Team” when she describes the characters lips after a very long kiss, “like Mick, my lips numb as a two-hour snog”, ‘Mick’ is Mick Jagger the famous rock star and his infamous lips! This is a very clear picture for anyone who know what Mick looks like and so again the reader can understand the situation.

Duffy also looks at history repeating itself, in “Prayer” Duffy uses a very general terminology for describing the timing, “Some days” gives the impression that the sad times have happened before but things got better and they will get better again, this gives faith to the reader.

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 This could also be seen in “Brothers” when Duffy describes her brothers’ “who share an older face” I thing this gives a warmer feel to the poem as it reflects a loving, family feel.

Shakespeare once described life as a play and Duffy does this in a couple of her poems; “Brothers” and “Litany”.

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In “Brothers” Duffy describes a play that she and her siblings were in and a line that was said by one of them. This could be seen a literal play and an actual line or the ‘play of life’ and maybe a line her mother said. My second example isn’t a play but “The soundtrack” the literal meaning is the litany’s read in church and how much they were repeated but again it could be seen as the soundtrack to life.

On a more morbid note, Carol Ann Duffy also looks at death and endings. In “Brothers” Duffy refers to “a box” and her brothers will “shoulder it” we can make the assumption that the box is actually a coffin and maybe even her mothers. This reference to death s important because as kids, children don’t believe death will ever happen to them and they may not even comprehend the full meaning of it and this poem sees Duffy come to terms with the end of life, an important step in growing up.

The second reference is to the end of the world, in “Prayer” she writes four of the shipping forecast areas, this has a soporific effect but she chooses a very important area and this contrasts against the happy sleepy mood; “Finisterre” means the end of the world and this is actually quite a strange end to the poem. In conclusion Duffy uses various ways to get through her life but the most important one is the actual writing of her poems, they allow her to convey her feelings through imagery and emotive language.

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Carol Ann Duffy. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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