Presentation on theme: "If words could kill… Killers in the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage."— Presentation transcript:
If words could kill… Killers in the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage
'Killing' poem shocks teachers English teachers in east Yorkshire have refused to include a poem on an exam syllabus because of its violent content. Tutors at Sydney Smith School, Anlaby, Hull, have even said they will tear the page from the book if they have to. But the work, included in a GCSE poetry anthology for schools, has been defended by an examination board as a "fictional view of an adolescent's feelings".
'Killing' poem shocks teachers (ctd.) The school's head of English Gill Gildenberg said: "I never thought I would hear myself saying this but we do have to take a responsible attitude. It really does worry me that we could be endorsing violent feelings. It is something which children would readily identify with. It is about an unemployed individual who seeks recognition by killing. It is a very powerful poem - but that is my point, we do not want blood on our hands."
The poem was written by Glaswegian-born writer and philosophy graduate Carol Ann Duffy. The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), the largest examination board in the UK, has included the book in its study list for 15 and 16-year-old students in 2004. Accompanied by a picture of a kitchen knife stuck vertically into a block of wood, it begins: "Today I am going to kill something. Anything.
'Killing' poem shocks teachers (ctd.) Ms Gildenberg has written to AQA to complain. But George Turnbull, spokesperson for AQA, said: "We are sorry for any offence. It is a poem selected by teachers and was approved by the government watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. It is a fictional view of an adolescent's feelings. Pupils can do the course without touching the work."
Today I am going to kill somethingAnything Today I am going to kill something. Anything. ignored I have had enough of being ignored and today play God I am going to play God. It is an ordinary day, boredom stirring a sort of grey with boredom stirring in the streets.
I squash a fly against the window with my thumb. school We did that at school. Shakespeare. It was in in another language another language and now the fly is in another language. talent I breathe out talent on the glass to write my name.
genius I am a genius. I could be anything at all, with half change the world the chance. But today I am going to change the world. The cat avoids me Something's world. The cat avoids me. The cat knows I am a genius, and has hidden itself.
bog I pour the goldfish down the bog. I pull the chain. I see that it is goodThe budgie is panicking I see that it is good. The budgie is panicking. Once a fortnight, I walk the two miles into town signing onThey don't appreciate my autograph for signing on. They don't appreciate my autograph.
nothing left There is nothing left to kill. I dial the radio and tell the man he's talking to a superstar. He cuts me off He cuts me off. I get our bread-knife and go out. glitterI touch your arm The pavements glitter suddenly. I touch your arm.
under Id been tired, under the weatherscreaming the weather, but the ansaphone kept screaming : One more sick-note, mister, and youre finished. Fired. I thumbed a lift to where the car was parked. A Vauxhall Astra. It was hired.
I picked him up in Leeds. following the sun to west from east He was following the sun to west from east with just a toothbrush and the good earth for a bed. The truth, blowin' in the wind he said, was blowin' in the wind, or round the next bend or round the next bend.
I let him have it once on the top road out of Harrogate - once with the head, then six times with the krooklok in the face in the face - and didn't even swerve. I dropped it into third
and leant across to let him out, and saw him in the mirror bouncing off the kerb bouncing off the kerb, then disappearing down the verge. the same age We were the same age, give or take a week. He'd said he liked the breeze
to run its fingers through his hairtwelve noon through his hair. It was twelve noon. moderate to fair The outlook for the day was moderate to fair. Stitch that Stitch that, I remember thinking, you can walk from there.
Similarities 1 st person narrator –P–Personal account: autobiography –S–Sense of immediacy Envy Revenge –A–Against society –A–Against individual Ordinary day –W–Weather –M–Matter-of-fact tone Egotism –Hitcher = has the answer –Education for Leisure = plays God
Differences Tense –Hitcher = past –Education for Leisure = present Ending –Hitcher = murder has already happened –Education… = about to strike (cliffhanger) Humour –Hitcher = –Education… = Graphic descriptions –Hitcher = –Education… = (left more to our imagination)
Final Thoughts It really does worry me that we could be endorsing violent feelings. It is something which children would readily identify with. It is a very powerful poem - but that is my point, we do not want blood on our hands. WHAT DO YOU THINK?