An analysis of
‘You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly’
(Click here for the text of the poem)
A little bit about the author…
Ursula Aksham Fanthorpe was born in Kent. Having studied at Oxford she went on to train as a teacher becoming the Head of the Department at Cheltenham Ladies College (1962-1970) who dropped out after training as a councillor to become a clerk in a hospital for neuropsychiatry disorders. Her poems since then started reflecting experiences of the patients. Her first collection of poems were published when she was 49.
Her poems seem to question authority and show compassion to people at the same time. Her most successful poems have been in monologue while others have a great deal of humour and dialogue in them unlike the usual structure of poetry we are used to. Most of her poems are of two voices. Other dominant themes in her writings are war and it’s effects on children, the nature of Englishness and the British character and history.
It was in 1989 that she became a full-time writer who gives readings of her work mostly in the UK and at times abroad. She became the first woman to be nominated for the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry and has been awarded many fellowships. In 2003 she was awarded the 2003 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.
The underlying theme used to analyse the text is the concept of ‘modern’ or rather the factors that complete or contribute to a modern lifestyle. This particular theme has especially been chosen because personally I have been very fascinated with the word ‘modern’ as it has been something that quite frankly has not found an universally appeal. Ask a layman what it means to be ‘modern’ the answer can vary enough to drive a human being mad (unless that is what modernity intends to do), in a general sense perhaps one can classify being modern in terms of a time-span or choose to take another harder stance and explore. And it is in this intention that I hope to explore the text.
Keeping that in mind, we will first look at the poem and try to summarize in relation to the world today with the underlying presumption that we are all evolved human beings living in a modern world. The summary will also lay the foundation to help better understand the different concepts and theories to be discussed.
Having once given a common understanding of the text, it becomes necessary to find different means of being able to engage with the text and this is precisely what we shall be doing in different modes of reading. Of course, the different means provided here are not given as ultimatums rather hope to reveal scope for further models of interpreting the piece. With three different modes of reading established, our focus moves onto the dominant themes that revolve around the poem which will help appreciate the text in various forms.
One of the major revelations of poetry-reading can be achieved by evaluating the title given to it from a generic sense, therefore we shall try and decipher what You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly refers to with emphasis on the word ‘shortly’ as it seems to stick to the original codes of understanding concepts of being modern in terms of time-relevance. It becomes inevitable but to look at the structuring of the text to find hidden meanings (atleast conceivable hidden meanings) once analysed focussing on the word ‘shortly’.
Our concluding part of the analysis throws light on the different layers that exist within the piece aiming to break the traditional moulds of analysing a text. It seeks to prove that a particular...