Carol Ann Duffy (1955 - )
he current Poet Laureate, Duffy is a Glasgow born poet and playwright. She is the first woman and also first Scot to hold the post. She is the Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester University. She is known for using accessible language in her poetry, making her popular in schools. She covers themes such as oppression, gender and violence and is often thought of as a feminist poet.
Anne Hathaway from The World’s Wife (1999)
"Item I gyve unto my wife my second best bed."
(from Shakespeare's will)
The bed we loved in was a spinning world
of forests, castles, torchlight, clifftops, seas
where he would dive for pearls. My lover's words
were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses on these lips;
my body now a softer rhyme to his, now echo, now assonance; his touch
a verb dancing in the centre of a noun.
Some nights, I dreamed he'd written me, the bed
a page beneath his writer's hands. Romance
and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.
In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
dribbling their prose. My living laughing love -
I hold him in the casket of my widow's head
as he held me upon that next best bed
Queer Theory – 1980’s – present – seeks to show that traditional gender roles and sexual identity are socially constructs rather than fact.
Post-modernism – 1945- present
Magical Realism – 1935 - present Post- Colonialism – 1950’s - present
Jeanette Winterson (1959-)
Jeanette Winterson is an English novelist and journalist. She began writing in 1985 after leaving home at the age of 16 and financing herself through a degree at Oxford University. She is known for challenging gender stereotypes and sexual identities within her writing which often deals with the subjects of love and relationships. She is perhaps best known for her novel ‘Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit’.
Written on the Body (1992)
Love demands expression. It will not stay still, stay silent, be good, be modest, be seen and not heard, no. It will break out in tongues of praise, the high note that smashes the glass and spills the liquid. It is no conservationist love. It is a big game hunter and you are the game. A curse on this game. How can you stick at a game when the rules keep changing? I shall call myself Alice and play croquet with the flamingos. In Wonderland everyone cheats and love is Wonderland isn’t it? Love makes the world go round. Love is blind. All you need is love. Nobody ever died of a broken heart. You’ll get over it. It’ll be different when we’re married. Think of the children. Time’s a great healer. Still waiting for Mr Right? Miss Right? And maybe all the little Rights?
Magical Realism combines realism with dream-like fantasy to create situations that are imagined but have their base in reality. Authors such as Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson are known for this.
It’s the clichés that cause all the trouble. A precise emotion seeks a precise expression. If what I feel is not precise then should I call it love? It is so tarrying, love, that all I can do is shove it under a dump bin of pink cuddly toys and send myself a greetings card saying ‘Congratulations on your Engagement’. But I am not engaged I am deeply distracted. I am desperately looking the other way so that love won’t see me. I want the diluted version, the sloppy language, the insignificant gestures. The saggy armchair clichés. It’s all right, millions of bottoms have sat here before me. The springs are well worn, the fabric smelly and familiar. I don’t have to be frightened, look, my grandma and granddad did it, he in a stiff collar and club tie, she in white muslin straining a little at the life beneath. They did it, my parents did it, now I will do it won’t I, arms outstretched, not to hold you, just to keep my balance, sleepwalking to that armchair. How happy we will be. How happy everyone will be. And they all lived happily ever after.