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Speaking to YouContemporary Poetry and Public Address$
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Natalie Pollard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657001

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657001.001.0001

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Read Me if You Dare: Address and Misbehaviour

Read Me if You Dare: Address and Misbehaviour

(p.86) 3 Read Me if You Dare: Address and Misbehaviour
Speaking to You

W. S. Graham

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Graham's unsettlingly direct addresses (reminiscent of Movement writings) seem to hail readers combatively: ‘I speak to you’, ‘Don’t fool me’. Like Larkin, Graham attacks middle-class sociability, and the contemporary patter in which expected platitudes are exchanged. But unlike Larkin, he does not reject the Modernist inheritance, nor word-play and experimentation. Nor is Graham reluctant to be read in a high literary vein, or to be associated with the authority of venerated writers

Keywords:   direct, class, Larkin, W. S. Graham, modernist, movement

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