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Poetry and Universal Poem

By amyfannu134 Jan 12, 2012 730 Words
Compare and Contrast ‘First Ice’ and ‘Manwatching’

The two poems I am going to compare and contrast are ‘First Ice’ by Andrei Vosnesky and ‘Manwatching’ by Georgia Garrett. The first obvious difference between the poems is that ‘First Ice’ is written by a man and ‘Manwatching’ is written by a woman. However, both poets seem to adopt a female persona. ‘First Ice’ is about “a girl” who has broken up with someone for the “first time” by phone call. The girl was planning to go out to a party with her boyfriend and phoned him to ask him where he was. That’s when he broke up with her. It is a universal poem so it could happen to anyone. The poem was originally written in Russian but translated into English. We know the girl is going out somewhere nice because “she hides a face…..tears and lipstick” and she “wears earrings”. She is dressed up which suggests she cares enough to make a good impression.

The poem ‘Manwatching’ is about a man and woman at a party. This is a similarity between the poems, they both seem to be about parties, the difference is one is at a party and one is going to one. The woman in ‘Manwatching’ is watching her boyfriend from across the room. The woman has ‘come to recognise the code’ and is paranoid, she might have a reason to be paranoid because the man might have been flirting with people before. I however believe she is just paranoid for no reason. At the end of the poem the man says he is “bored” and they leave.

The similarities in the subject of the poem are both females have been hurt by a man. The difference is that in ‘First Ice’ it is “the first ice of human hurt” but in ‘Manwatching’ she “knows the scene so well” so it must have happened before and she is used to the hurt, even id she is only imagining what she sees.

The tone of both poems is serious and cold. ‘Manwatching’ has lack of trust and in ‘First Ice’ she has lost trust in someone. In ‘First Ice’ it’s very mysterious because the poet doesn’t completely let us know what’s going on. The tone of ‘First Ice’ is sad because “tears glitter on cheeks”. “Manwatching” is more of a paranoid feel to it.

‘First Ice’ uses repetition of cold words like “ice” and “alone” to emphasise the loneliness and hurt the girl is feeling. The poet uses pathetic fallacy, the coldness of the weather reflects on her feelings. Her heart is cold, like ice, with hurt. In ‘Manwatching’ there is a lot of mystery surrounding the “pretty stranger”. There is no proof that the man has done anything yet the woman is very jealous and paranoid of the pretty girl.

‘First Ice’ has no rhyme scheme and is a free verse poem and so is ‘Manwatching

The vocabulary of the poems isn’t too dissimilar. They are both negative lexical sets. They both are set in the present tense. In ‘First Ice’ “ice” is repeated a lot to emphasise the coldness of the girls feelings and also the weather. It is in first person narrative. The poet uses sibilance, “icy”, freezes” and “phrases”. This creates a cold feeling. In Manwatching a lot of metaphor is used such as “eyes burn” which gives a harsher and hot atmosphere, except at the end when the woman spoke “frostily” which makes it similar to ‘First Ice’. The poet uses modifiers when describing the looks the girl gives the man, she has a “possessive stare” and “accusing eyes”. It also repeating the word “watch” like in the title.

When I read ‘First Ice’ I felt I could sympathise with the girl because it felt like she could be my age and it could have happened to me or any of my friends. I also felt sorry for the man in ‘Manwatching’ because I thought his girlfriend was being too paranoid and he had to put up with her jealousy. I was annoyed at the woman because she was being so paranoid and possessive and she spoke “frostily”

‘First Ice’ is a left aligned poem and has been divided into 5 stanzas. ‘Manwatching’ is a continuous prose with some short lines and some enjambment lines.

By Amy Spiller

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