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John Montague - Impact Of Montague's Poetry

The Impact of John Montague's Poetry. Write a speech to be delivered to your classmates on the impact that John Montague’s poetry had on you. Your answer should focus on both themes and the use of imagery/language. Support your points with the aid of suitable reference to the poems on your course. (2007)

John Montague’s poetry had a very strong impact on me as a reader. The themes he explores through language and imagery portray his life and inner self. Being able to read someone elses thoughts and feelings through poetry opened my eyes to the importance and impact it can hold. The particular themes I found most rewarding to analyse where that of pagan Ireland, as in ‘Like Dolmens Round My Childhood, the Old People’ and also seperation and loss, as in ‘The Cage’.

Montague conducts his poems in a precise fashion, his choice of language invokes images of the exact setting he is trying to convey. In ‘Like Dolmens Round My Childhood’ he takes a realist stance in terms of story-telling and imagery. The character’s he speaks of become real in our minds, they have names, ‘Jamie MacCrystal’, ‘Maggie Owens’, ‘Mary Moore’ as well as a few more. By giving his charcaters names he allows us a sense of personalisation. Each stanza focuses on one, or a group, of characters and a short part of their life is told. The personalisation is what had the biggest effect on me, Montague gets you to know who is writing about. The poem is filled with pagan imagery and depicts a time lost, words and phrases such as ‘witch’, ‘ Red Star’, ‘rune’ and ‘Circle of Stones’ are used. This encourages a sense of Montague’s theme before it is addressed in the final stanza, ‘Ancient Ireland, indeed!’. Montague addresses this idea of pagan Ireland as a form of superstition, his last stanza confronts this personal fear, of ghosts and death, and he closes by informing his readers that ‘their shadows pass…Into that dark permanence of ancient forms’. It is a truly encapsulating poem that links the theme of paga...

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