Speech On Poetry And Power

Decent Essays

Good afternoon and welcome to the State Library Series of lectures on poetry and power where we celebrate the contribution of poets to our cultural heritage. My name is Sammy Whitting and today I will focus on a poet who addresses the typically Victorian concern being morality and to more depth, the oppression of children and slavery, among other social injustices through Christian themes. I am speaking of course about one half of the Browning power poet couple, the 19th Century poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning and in particular her poems ‘The Cry of the Children’ and ‘The Runaway Slave at Pilgrims Point’ that both explicitly and directly confront the political issues of slavery and industrialism. Elizabeth Browning’s’ independence and courage towards expressing her views, was held in a much higher critical esteem and was more admired than any other female poet in the 19th Century. As a women, and an invalid, Elizabeth had comparatively little power so it is interesting that she speaks out for those she perceives to be powerless. Because of this, Elizabeth's poetry demonstrates that whilst this may have been true, the poetic voice itself has the power to advocate for and promote social change.
Born in Durham, England, Elizabeth had the privilege of being raised in extremely fortunate circumstances given her family background and environment. From a young age, Elizabeth always delved herself in a world of books and poetry, and even wrote her first book at the age of 12. Her

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