Discussing Valentine and I Wouldn't Thank You for a Valentine
For this poetry assignment I will be discussing the poems “Valentine”
by Carol Ann Duffy and “ I Wouldn’t Thank You for a Valentine” by Liz
Lochhead. The poets have similar views about relationships but express
these views in contrasting ways. In order to analyse their contrasting
styles it would be beneficial to look at their backgrounds.
Carol Ann Duffy was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1955 but was brought
up in Stafford, England. She worked as a free-lance writer in East
London, and then she moved to Manchester where she currently teaches
creative writing at the Metropolitan University. Collections include
“Standing Female Nude” and “Selling Manhattan”.
Liz Lochhead was also born in Scotland in 1947. She is a well-known
Scottish poet, dramatist and performance artist. She began as a
lecturer in fine art, but became a full time writer in the 70’s.
Collections include “Memo for spring” and “The Grimm Sisters”. Both
these poets’ backgrounds and upbringings are represented as Liz
Lochhead uses Scottish dialectal words and phrases while Carol Duffy
does not. Lochhead uses words such as “auld” and “canny”. This is not
reflected in Carol Ann Duffy’s poem. This is possibly because she was
brought up in England so had forgotten the Scottish dialect.
The structure of “Valentine” by Carol Ann Duffy is not that of a
regular poem. It is written in free verse and there is no obvious
rhyme scheme or rhythm. The lines and stanzas are all completely
different and there seems to be no pattern. This gives the poem a more
personal touch and possibly shows that the poem was heartfelt and
these thoughts were written down as the poet thought them. The lines
are more natural and spontaneous. Despite this, some of the sounds are
carefully arranged, like when she writes:
“Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips.”
This is an example of sibilance. The repetition of ‘s’ sounds are very
harsh and stress the ferocity.
Also, love and relationships have no pattern and this is also
reflected by the way this poem is set out. Some lines such as,
“ I am trying to be truthful”
are on their own and seem at a first glance to be out of place. Carol
Ann Duffy had deliberately left lines such as this to be left alone
for emphasis and it really makes you think about what the writer is
trying to say and how they are feeling. Single isolated lines are also
used to show the deep rejection of the conventional Valentines.
“Not a red rose or a satin heart…not a cute card or a kissogram”
Having these lines sitting on their own makes the reader think more
deeply about why she is rejecting these items. Surely on Valentines
Day a bunch of roses would make any female smile? Carol Ann Duffy is
stressing that these gifts have lost their original meaning and end up
meaning very little.
The style of “I wouldn’t thank you for a Valentine “ by Liz Lochhead
is more structured...