PERIPETEIA


                                                        A site for students studying English at 'A' Level/University. Discussion Forums and unique 
                                                  Online Seminars to build confidence, creativity, and individual analytical style.

Forums

Post Reply
Forum Home > Poetry > Tackling the Unseen

Oliver Tearle
Member
Posts: 76

That's a good point, Hope - modern poets often seek out the unpoetic and seek to find the poetry in them. How is the chainsaw presented?

February 24, 2016 at 2:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 920

The chainsaw seems pretty aggressive and as if it has a mind of its own...

February 24, 2016 at 2:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Hope
Member
Posts: 55

The chainsaw to me seems very male- I think in contrast to some of the elements of the grass that are presented in quite a feminine way.

February 24, 2016 at 2:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Oliver Tearle
Member
Posts: 76

Yes, with 'hung' having to wait - or hang on, if you like - for about eight lines. The lines set a-swinging, but the rhyme - like the chainsaw and the other items in the shed - is left hanging...

February 24, 2016 at 2:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 920

Hope at February 24, 2016 at 2:43 PM

The chainsaw to me seems very male- I think in contrast to some of the elements of the grass that are presented in quite a feminine way.

How do you figure the chainsaw's male? Your reasoning please...

February 24, 2016 at 2:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Oliver Tearle
Member
Posts: 76

I agree about the masculine/feminine divide between the chainsaw and the pampas grass. And this also goes back to your point about the unpoetic nature of the chainsaw, Hope - the poem pits the unpoetic against something from the natural world (the grass) which is more at home in traditional poetry.

February 24, 2016 at 2:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Oliver Tearle
Member
Posts: 76

I think here it's useful to find several suggestive pieces of evidence. What qualities mark out the chainsaw as male or masculine?

I'm also intrigued by the idea of the 'match' in that opening line. What do you think Armitage means here? Is this all some sort of game?

February 24, 2016 at 2:49 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 920

It's like a sports match, football or boxing. But also might be used in a film poster - Batman vs. Superman. He does like his pop cultural references. 

February 24, 2016 at 2:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Hope
Member
Posts: 55

Neil Bowen at February 24, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Hope at February 24, 2016 at 2:43 PM

The chainsaw to me seems very male- I think in contrast to some of the elements of the grass that are presented in quite a feminine way.

How do figure the chainsaw's male? Your reasoning please...

I think it's something about the impulsiveness of the chainsaw- 'instant rage'- and its lustfullness- 'bloody desire'- that make it seem male. Stereotypically male, but male nonetheless. 

February 24, 2016 at 2:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Oliver Tearle
Member
Posts: 76

'Match' is one of those wonderfully polyvalent words - suggesting not only a game but also two things which are well-suited (e.g. a lovers' match, or two people being well-matched). And then, of course, there's that match later on which the speaker uses to set fire to the grass's roots...

February 24, 2016 at 2:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Oliver Tearle
Member
Posts: 76

Hope at February 24, 2016 at 2:52 PM

Neil Bowen at February 24, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Hope at February 24, 2016 at 2:43 PM

The chainsaw to me seems very male- I think in contrast to some of the elements of the grass that are presented in quite a feminine way.

How do figure the chainsaw's male? Your reasoning please...

I think it's something about the impulsiveness of the chainsaw- 'instant rage'- and its lustfullness- 'bloody desire'- that make it seem male. Stereotypically male, but male nonetheless. 

Yes, I think stereotypically male but I know what you mean - the same goes for the image of the chainsaw swigging back the engine oil, as if it's engaging in excessive drinking. These are assumptions we make, of course, but Armitage's poem seems to invite them. What about the gun reference, too?

February 24, 2016 at 2:54 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 920

Nice point about meanings of match. But these two are not much like lovers, though. It's more a fight to the death kind of thing.

February 24, 2016 at 2:54 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 920

Hope at February 24, 2016 at 2:52 PM

Neil Bowen at February 24, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Hope at February 24, 2016 at 2:43 PM

The chainsaw to me seems very male- I think in contrast to some of the elements of the grass that are presented in quite a feminine way.

How do figure the chainsaw's male? Your reasoning please...

I think it's something about the impulsiveness of the chainsaw- 'instant rage'- and its lustfullness- 'bloody desire'- that make it seem male. Stereotypically male, but male nonetheless. 

Fair enough. And the pampas grass is female because it is weak, fragile, passive, a victim?

February 24, 2016 at 2:55 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Oliver Tearle
Member
Posts: 76

Exactly - it's definitely more a death-bout, and I think 'versus' sets us up for that meaning of 'match' rather than the alternative. But it's almost ironic - 'overkill' as the poet's speaker says - since the grass really is no match for the chainsaw, which cuts it down with little difficulty. And yet ... the grass grows back...

February 24, 2016 at 2:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 920

Male hubris?

February 24, 2016 at 2:57 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Oliver Tearle
Member
Posts: 76

I think so. The grass symbolises rebirth, growth, new life. No matter how much man (I use the word advisedly) may destroy the earth, life will go on. Nature, not man, has the last laugh...

February 24, 2016 at 2:58 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Hope
Member
Posts: 55

And it seems like all the macho, impulsive energy at the beginning of the poem is suddenly rendered pointless 

February 24, 2016 at 2:58 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Oliver Tearle
Member
Posts: 76

I agree - and do you think the form of the poem towards the end reflects this? How does it change towards the end?

February 24, 2016 at 2:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 920

So is Armitage's poem a comic take on an eco-parable?

February 24, 2016 at 3:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Oliver Tearle
Member
Posts: 76

That's an intriguing idea. How so comic?

February 24, 2016 at 3:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.