The City Planners and the Planners

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Below is some additional information on the two poems written by Margaret Atwood and Kim Boey Cheng respectively, found on the internet:

“The City Planners” by Margaret Atwood and “The Planners” by Boey Kim Cheng

Many poets lament humanity’s soulless march toward technology and industrialization. Both “TCP” and “TP” reflect this sentiment. The poems are similar in ideas and tone, although Atwood’s is considerably more skilled and Cheng’s themes are more specific to his particular homeland.

“TCP” – themes of modernity pushing aside nature; loss of human/nature relationship; identity Structure/Poetic Devices/Analysis
(Have students find devices for homework, but for analysis purposes the poetic devices worth noting consist mainly of just imagery, simile and metaphor although it is good to note that the free structure keeps the focus on the images and ideas. Atwood’s ironic/sarcastic/humourous tone is also an effective device for conveying her ideas)

- Atwood’s poem is rich with irony (humour) and linguistic inventiveness/ fun with words. It is written in her trademark free verse style, with little structure or formality. - Her “us” is not a strong blank narrator because her situations are specific experiences and not general enough for all people to relate to. The poem also reflects her personal views, which are also too specific (“HS” and “TC” are stronger blank narrators because they are based in reaction and common crises, not specific experiences and opinions). - She grabs our attention with her unusual manner of description, her irony and her claim of being offended by normal life (the all-too-normal suburbanites) - “The houses in pedantic rows, the planted/sanitary trees” Atwood sees suburbia as dull and pedantic. She paints it not as the comfortable, safe existence that ‘normal people’ think it is, but like a boring, colourless situation. What other images clearly show her distain for...
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