Poetry is Dangerous
That’s right. A simple poem has been slashed out of the AQA Anthology. Why I hear you ask, well simply because it was too violent. That’s right a poem being violent. I have decided to put this issue on my hit list and resolve it once and for all.
Mrs Schofield who is an invigilator at Lutterworth Grammar school in Leicestershire, Sparked this mammoth of an argument, she decided to complain to the AQA exam board. The AQA exam board drastically removed the poem from all anthologies across England. The exam board were advising schools to destroy the books so they are not read by students.
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This issue is extremely important and it has still not been solved, there are still many forums on the internet discussing these issues. The main audience I believe is teachers and student’s because it directly affects them, as they are studying or teaching this kind of material day in and day out.
The poem is about a mentally disturbed person who kills their animals, calls up a radio show claiming that he could have been a “star.” The person seems to be generally unstable and the poem ends with the feeling that you are about to be stabbed “I touch your arm” It feels like someone is behind you and you are not anticipating them, to me it feels rather scary if you are walking along and someone a stranger maybe, comes behind you touches your arm. Mrs Schofield describes the poem as an absolutely horrendous piece of work.
Knife crime has spectacularly increased since 1999. According to conservative party statistics there are five brutal knife crime attacks every week! I find that fact deeply disturbing, don’t you? That means that there could be an attack on all 5 school days or maybe even two on one school day!
Knife crime in the current climate is at an all time high, the media are raising the awareness of knife crime daily, in newspapers and on the television. Everyone fears knife crime and are completely aware of it. Many youths are involved with post code gangs and purchase weapons and even in some cases use them. 42% of 14-15 year olds claim that they had been directly affected by knife crime. That result is staggering it shows that nearly half a group of thirty two students have been affected by knife crime!
On the internet there are many passionate teachers and students who are extremely annoyed, angry and quite fed up. They strongly feel that it was not right to ban an excellent poem. They feel that it does not make anyone want to go out and kill someone!
Francis Gilbert is a head of English at his school; finds it deeply disturbing that the exam board should withdraw such an amazing poem. This poem did not carry a message to kill and it should not have been banned, it was a good poem which students could relate to as they understood the horrors of knife crime. A lot of teenagers will know that their friends, may carry knives or weapons and they may use them in a confrontation.
We should not be banning poems about knife crime instead we should face the reality that knife crime does exist and we should try to stop it. I strongly believe banning this poem will have no effect on knife crime, it was irrelevant. Would you honestly be influenced to stab someone after reading a poem?
William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is incredibly violent with detailed steps to how murders are carried out using daggers. Education for leisure is no were near as violent as Macbeth yet Education for Leisure has been banned and Macbeth has not.
On the other hand how would you feel if someone who you directly know was stabbed? Would this poem offend you in any way or form?
What was the honest point of writing about knife crime when the matter is in every ones minds, maybe Carol Ann Duffy is in the wrong, and her use of language is very strong and may not be suitable for teenagers or children. “Today I am going to kill something.” This quote shows some kind of anger or maybe even someone who maybe confused.
Also towards the end it creates the effect that this person could kill anyone for no valid reason and in real life this is not necessarily always the case. Usually stabbings occur after arguments or fights. Throughout the poem it does not really show any kind of reason why this person wants to kill. Maybe this is Carol Ann Duffy’s way of trying to preach to knife crime. She may be trying to explain and show that teenagers may just be confused and ignored or abused, and suppress there feelings and release them on someone or something.
In conclusion I believe that Carol Ann Duffy’s poem education for leisure is not convincing or even brainwashing people to go out and commit knife crime. I think that it is a very sophisticated and detailed poem. It has a deep message about someone who is confused or just misunderstood.
I also believe that her poem is merely as violent as some of William Shakespeare’s tragedies such as Macbeth, so why are they not banned? Furthermore this poem if you read deep enough does not persuade you to commit knife crime I believe it is the complete opposite.
This poem was great it was a truly deep and emotional poem; I believe that it may have a slight link to knife crime but no way does this poem influence knife crime. It was an excellent poem which was banned and destroyed by AQA.