Skip to content

Carol Ann Duffy: Rapture

September 8, 2010


Right, I’m not going to beat around the bush. Poetry can be really dry and really stuffy written down. It’s probably something rooted in the way we were clobbered over the head with it at school. However, having seen Inua Ellams perform at Book Slam and young spoken word artistes such as Alex Gwyther and Aisling Fahey from a Writer’s Block event earlier this year (where I first saw them) have reopened mine previously closed heart.

Rapture is a stunning, slim book of love poetry written by a lover to a lover in grief, in love, in fear and in hope. Winner of the 2005 T.S Eliot prize, it is a complete submission into the dark chambers and the lightest lofts of this great emotion we all seek desperately for – romantic or otherwise. This insatiable need to be accepted for who we are or to have a self newly discovered as you newly discover another is seamlessly explored by Duffy through beautiful turns of phrase.

The transformative joy of love, of lust are explored in Text:

I tend the mobile now/like an injured bird…

I re-read your first/your second, your third,/look for the small xx,/feeling absurd

and Name:

I hear your name/rhyming, rhyming,/rhyming with everything.

Whilst the darker, more self-consuming sides are explored in Elegy and the mysterious Presents.

Nature is used as a recurrent theme throughout Duffy’s poems. The rivers, the leaves off the tree, the birds and the moon are motifs which are continually returned to (so much so I found it a little tiring actually.)

River, Give and Row are the three I found most moving, the first almost a prayer of thanks, an open embrance of love after a torturous past; the second the fear of giving and having it taken away from you and of an enchanted lover becoming cold and distant and eventually going away; the last,, the immediate change in atmosphere between two in a fight:

But when we rowed,/the room swayed and sank down on its knees,/the air hurt and purpled like a bruise,/the sun banged the gate in the sky and fled…

But when we rowed,/our mouths knew no kiss, no kiss, no kiss…

It’s getting colder. Warm yourself up and Amazon this book.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anne permalink
    September 9, 2010 6:07 am

    So so moving. The way to exprsses all the emotions of love so perfectly is a gift. Everyone can relate to at least if not all of the poems in Rapture. Beautiful.

  2. bookfreeq permalink*
    September 9, 2010 7:50 am

    I would like to add – as beautiful as I found the ones I highlighted, some of it was a little emo titwanky – like when she says ‘this is love’ – I don’t have the book in front of me, I’ll find the poem I mean and will post again. So I shouldn’t really have written this at all and just waited until I could properly back up my point. But I’ll post this anyway. And I’ll stop ‘talking’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: