POETRY IN THE FIFTIES: WRITING AGAISNT THE GRAIN. Historical circumstances that favoured The Movement: The return of a Labour government to power in 1945 with enormous popular support since the British wanted change. The Second World War aftermath brought an air of optimist and people thought that Britain would be a better place to live, however Britain had to build itself up again and the country seemed to loose status in the world, which gave way to a post-war mood full of disillusionment. The Movement was seen as the representation of the feeling and thoughts of men and women in post-war England, there were some poets that represented this new movement very accurately, among them Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin or Elizabeth Jennings. Anything that implied Modernism was treated disrespectfully, especially the three Ps: Pound, Picasso and (Charlie Parker) PHILIP LARKIN (1922-1985) Characteristics: Traditionalism and Englishness. Poetry: metaphorical use of language mode, in the same way that Yeats did. abundant lyrical imagery. Poetry volumes: The less Deceived, The Whitsun Wedding, High Window (This Be The Verse) and Aubade. Subject matter: varied, but always death directed. Innocence, the sadness of the past, fear for the future and the futility of death.Despite his grim outlook on life, his poetry is full of jokes and puns, and sometimes it can even be celebratory (e.g. Annus Mirabilis) Above all his work exposes hypocrisy and guise, his people and places lack sentimentality and glamour. The persona in the poem “Church Going” by Philip Larkin, is contemplating the use and purpose of going to church and the social and psychological functions of the practice. setting of the poem, a traditional, somewhat old church; probably a small church. he tries to imagine what may happen when churches fall completely out of use and who will be the last person to visit it? he answers his own questions; the more he analyzes and searches for the use of the building called church the more meaningful the church actually seems to him. The Whitsun Wedding (Whit Sunday 7th Sunday after Easter right into spring a season in which many wedding are celebrated): The title poem is a masterful depiction of the sights from a train when the protagonist looks out the window. Voice: self-disapproval, cynical. Tone: meditative, helps him present his pessimistic message. JOHN BETJEMAN (1906-1984)follows the Movement’s belief in being faithful to the “real” and to “the ordinary” death is one of his biggest obsessions, one of his most important themes. Poetry: A Few Late Chrysanthemums 1954 Unique use of Victorian rhyme and metre?consolidation as a poet. Imitates the rhyme and metrical patterns of Victorian poets like Tennyson. Satirical and comic verses are recurrent features of his later poetry. Melancholic and ironic pathos through his verse and according to Geoffrey Harvey he provides reader with a fundamentally moral, emotionally varied and truthful account of reality. Often he is recalled a Poet of Nostalgia, he ascribed to an aesthetic conservatism which can be seen in many of his poems, he distrusted progress and longed for the past. Summoned by Bells: Full of “rapid changes of mood and subject.” Dramatic urgency. Blank verse (instead of the stanza-forms and rhyme.-patterns of his shorter pices) Makes clear the poet’s life, it is an autobiographical account of his childhood and his days at Oxford. Words in Poem: walking from school, Archibald, Swains Lane, grey brick. A subaltern’s Love-Song: words: love-thirty, Joan Hunter, blazer and short, Hunter Dunn, woodland, Hillman, Rovers and Austin. In A Subaltern's Love Song, the poet is fascinated by Miss J Hunter Dunn while playing tennis against her. STEVIE (Florence) SMITH (1902-1971)Themes: Recurrent theme of death like many of her contemporaries.SuicidePainful human issuesLoneliness. DespairAlienation and the state of the modern worldTone: serious, satiric and pessimisticMain characteristics:Overlapping of prose and verse, this technique of genre-blending is what makes her work unclassifiable.Her poem The Best Beast of the Fat-Stock Show at Earls Court is written entirely in monosyllables, use of with and humour that contrast with many of her dark themes.Embellished her works with her own sketches of people and animals which tend to comment on the poems themselves.Stylistic features of her work: economy of words, simple language, light verse, mixture of archaic forms with modern colloquialism, presence of gothic and fairy-tale devices, use of prosody reminiscent of humorous or popular verse to convey profoundly serious themes. Not Waving but Drowning (1957) Tone: sing-song voice that seems to be reciting a nursery rhyme.Powerful image in the title recurring images of water and deaththe dead can speak by Smiths’s adoption of three separate personae:the drowned manthe witness/writer the bystandersVoice: sudden switch from the third person to the first person in the first stanza which established a conversation between the dead and the live. The two different points of view presented in the 2nd and 3rd stanzas leave a chance for speculation. In stanza 3 the man is given a chance to respond to the supposition made by the bystanders who say he died of a heart attack. He says the water was “too cold always”. Metaphorically the man is “swimming alone” isolated from others and “always much too far out”. If we take into account both, the poet’s own feeling about death and the final words of the protagonist, the vision of suicide cannot be rejected. In the end, it seems the swimmer abandons himself to the ocean instead of fighting for his life.“The Reason”: Death by suicide is addressed directly: I’ll wait awhile. And then I’ll go. Why wait at all? “Our Bog Is Dood”. About Smith’s difficulties with Christianity. Although many of the poems of this category take the form of long verse arguments about the debate of the Christian faith; Our Bog Is Dood is a short, five-stanza, conversation like piece. The poem mocks the children’s belief in something that they cannot define and their willingness to defend their stance with violence, first towards the speaker and then amongst themselves. Childhood is not desirable and Smith’s children aren’t innocent but ignorant. In the final stanza the speaker walks along the shore, proclaiming, triumphantly, her freedom from the entire subject, and she leaves the children to figure out the question of Christianity on their own, “oh sweet it was to leave them then, And sweeter not to see... Many of her writing were accompanied by doodles (type of sketch made while a person’s attention is occupied, e.g. when talking through the telephone). We must bear in mind that there isn’t always a correspondence between the text and the doodles, this can be seen as a device she uses to challenge traditional beliefs and ideologies.