Friday, January 25, 2019
There are many indications within the poetry of Tony Harrison that he considers his work within the context of the canon
Whether one thinks of the military personneldate as offensive beca affair formed at random or to serve some interests at the expense of some other(a)(a)s, or whether one supposes that the contents of enactments are providentially chosen, at that place can be no doubt that we have non fix ways of effectuateing our thoughts about the history of literature and art without safety to them. (Kermode, p. 20). In what ways do you study Tony Harrison to be affected by the canon. Use analyses of the rime to illustrate your answer. There are many indications inwardly the poesy of Tony Harrison that he considers his work within the context of the canon.The repeated referencing of other poets1 and conscious emulation of the form of other poems (v. is an adaptation of Grays Elegy on a estate Churchyard ) suggest that Harrisons work is heavily act upond by other poets, despite his plainly original style. The way that he uses his referencing is non straightforward, more(prenom inal)over it could be suggested that the more traditional references are ironic, as Harrison contrasts his brash contemporary style with the more genteel feel of the poets in the canon.The continual allusions to the opposition his rhyme has faced, and his subsequent under confidence, can have said to have guide to a need for the reassurance of the canon using the models of other poets to validate the charge of his own poetry. Alternatively, Harrison whitethorn feel that the only way to express the go he wishes to project, that of a working class northern man with license is by using the enemys weapons2, and establishing a scholastic side to his work, in order to be taken seriously by the heathence elite.It has been argued that Harrison uses other peoples dustup and forms to justify his own work that his aroma of social inferiority reveals it ego as an insecurity in his poetry3. Whereas in Grays Elegy the last stanza is a contemplation upon the career of the poet, filled wi th a sense of repose, Harrison ends his desperate poem v. still nisus to justify his choice to become a poet.By placing it as a viable occupation alongside other more manual lifestyles, such(prenominal) as the production of the beef, the beer, the bread,4 and anticipating affirmable reactions How poems can grow from (beat you to it ) micturate5, Harrison tries to protect himself from derision. Critics relate the closing stanzas of Elegy on a Country Churchyard to Grays fears about his poetic destiny. Damien Grant states The poet writes conscious of his own possible doom, to be preserved beneath deep permaverse like any other victim of evolution6, but he is considering Harrisons epitaph.By using a recognised sanctioned poet such as Gray, Harrison has a model to look for his feelings about his own destiny, investigating his own experiences regarding death taking a short cut home through the graves here/ they sustain the glory of their team/ by spraying words on tombstones, de risory on beer7, within a controlled and set form. The way that Harrison himself views the canon determines his reaction, and therefrom his poetry. The canon could be cons consecutived as an enabling, useful force, giving Harrison ideas and structures to work with8, and Harrison himself admits to the influence of classical authors, such as Milton9.Altieri notes that contemporary writers need to address particularised canonical workings and engage the same degree of emotional and keen energy that canonical works provide10, and Harrison seems to have taken up this mantle, engaging it with his desire to keep poetry relevant to his experience and therefore, to him, alive. Harrison is not trying to be one of the classical authors he is trying to react to them in a way that is variant but not needfully inferior11. Indeed, Kermode agrees that the best commentary on any verse is other verse, perhaps placed very far away from it.Harrison accepts that he writes from a different world perspective than many of the canonical authors, but to illustrate the likeities he uses similar forms and quotes them, either to show his awareness of their work or his reaction to it. close ingloriousness13, for instance, explores the theme of the difficulties of articulation, and is a direct quote from Gray. Harrison uses it to illustrate the difficulties he has open in developing his own poetic voice. Damien Grant draws comparisons between the symbolisation in v and erotic images drawn by other, more traditionally established poets.The skinheads addition of a middle slit to one daubed v14 is not an obscenity, it can be argued, but merely Harrison joining a long line of established authors invoking the erotic image to serve mankind purposes. 15 Another way of viewing the canon is that of codified by a cultural elite, with power to influence the way the country thinks crosswise a broad range of issues. 16If the canon reflects simply a cultural emphasis, then Harrison should be considered part of that canon, as he is wide taught and studied, to a high level.If, however, the canon is set by the cultural elite, then Harrisons use of some of the more standard forms and obscure classical references may be an attempt to be accepted by this elite, in order to sprinkle his own cultural emphasis and make his own stance widely known and acceptable. Harrison is provoked by the persecution of an RP English teacher to fight buns with the enemys weapons, on the enemys own ground18 So right, ye buggers, then Well overrun/ your lousy leasehold Poetry. 19 Harrison wishes for his voice to be heard, and is not fearful of using techniques supposedly alien to his class to achieve this.Harrison takes canonical influences and makes them seemingly more accessible to a wider cross section of society, introducing more modern themes such as the problems of the Thatcher era. This is in part to make poetry more relevant and acceptable to those he seeks the approval of the most t he uneducated and the cynical, such as his parents. Catherine Packham suggests that the canon may seem oppressive and intimidating to Harrison his feeling of insecurity may have led him to feel that all of the never-ending themes that he wishes to cover have been explored extensively, by people who are better(p) educated and suitable to be poets20.Harrisons poetry is full of the issue of self doubt and self worth Poetrys the speech of kings. Youre one of those/ Shakespeare gives the comic bits to prose 21 , and seems at times to want to distance his writing from the recognisable canon to show a progression of attitudes and innovation, and perhaps attempting to demonstrate that he is not competing with the established canon. This can be seen in the fact that of the many versus couplings in v. , a major one is that of Harrisons version versus Grays. The very title of another poem, On Not Being Milton, shows that Harrison is aware of the canon and embraces his differences to it, but the poem itself, with its lyricism and innovative use of language in fact recalls the heroical poetry of Milton himself this is an irony that the poet seems to enjoy. Harrison obviously appreciates the fine crafting of established authors, and wishes to learn from them, whilst staying true to his earthy subject matter.The touch of some of the word handling may hint at Miltonesque heights, but the subject matter of a man returning to his roots (my growing black passable to fit my boots22) and the foreigner becoming a hero (Tidd the Cato Street Conspirator), with his Sir, I Ham a Very Bad Hand at Righting23 indicates that Harrison believes that education is not everything this, in a poem littered with reference to historical figures and epic literature, hints at play. The theme of articulation is prevalent24 Harrison is concerned with the way things are said, and who they are said by, as he is aware of the impact that other works have had upon him.It would be impossible to ascertai n exactly what sway the canon has had upon Harrisons poetry nevertheless, if we are to judge his work within the context of the canon, then we must consider his literary intentions. We must ask whether his intentions are to be considered within the same school of those that he references and quotes so copiously, or if in fact these references were designed to show the vast differences between their worlds. I believe Harrison to be stuck in between the two worlds, but supremely in command.He is aware that to gain a recognition as a poet, certain rules must be followed and he adapts these rules to suit his own purposes. Harrison incorporates enough traditional ideas and forms not his work to stay credible, but he fills his poetry with subjects and contexts unfamiliar to the cultural elite. These are the subjects and contexts that he wishes to bring into the public body politic and make issues of, and by taking on the timeless element of the canonical works, Harrison ensures that he p ushes poetry forward into unfamiliar territory, and to unfamiliar readers.