The Poetry of Tony Harrison

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The Poetry of Tony Harrison

Tony Harrison is almost certainly one of the most famous poets alive. Born in Leeds in 1937 he grew up in a working-class family. Harrison is a modern poet but chooses to use the traditional sonnet form as he considers the rigid structure and strict rhythm and rhyming rules which others find restricting, a challenge to him. He also sees it as a controlled technique of expressing his feelings. Francesco Petrach began using the sonnet at the beginning of Renaissance with his unusual rhyming pattern and stanzas of an octave and a sestet. Harrison's sonnets fit more into the structure of the later Shakespearean sonnet, with the ABABCDCD rhyming scheme and rhyming
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These connotations come across well and it is striking for the reader, meaning they always have the thought of speech in their minds.

The first section of the poem is mainly dialogue between his teacher and Harrison. He remembers a school production: 'I played the drunken porter in Macbeth'. Harrison's teacher tells him 'Poetry's the speech of kings. You're one of those Shakespeare gives the comic bits to'. She makes him feel minor simply because of the way he speaks, and suggest he cannot speak gracefully enough for other parts. He refers to his own experiences that he clearly remembers distinctly which attract the readers' attention and the reader becomes more sympathetic towards him.

Harrison again shows his strong feelings on how society acts towards people's speech differences in the quote 'your speech is in the hands of the Receivers.' He is saying that their language has no value. He refers to speech in a context that is related with people who are bankrupt and have nothing left. This emphasises just how worthless the speech is, and how little value the way they pronounce it is.

The second sonnet begins with colloquial speech and uses the language of the working class. He is showing that he does not care what
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