Question 7 Choose a poet whose work you enjoy. Referring closely to one or more of his poems, explain how the techniques he uses make his poems enjoyable. The poet I’ve chosen is Norman MacCaig. The poem “Brooklyn Cop” written by Norman MacCaig, I found extremely interesting as Norman MacCaig used very descriptive language such as “Built like a gorilla but less timid”. This simile in the opening contributes a joking manner and gives a light-hearted opening, along with a description of the cop. It’s not a very flattering image as it compares the man to a gorilla.
The phrase “less timid” shows that he’s stronger than a gorilla. This is an interesting phrase as we don’t normally associate a gorilla being more timid than a man. This also makes us use our imagination to picture the cop. Also the phrase “thick fleshed” is a play on the clichï¿½ “thick skinned”. I found that this added enjoyment to the poem as it made me think about what he was saying. “Thick fleshed” made me think of strength.
Later in the poem, “This morning he said ‘See you babe’ to his wife” made the reader see the cop’s domestic side. I liked this dialogue as it showed a more vulnerable side to the cop. This added to the enjoyment of the poem as it made me feel sympathetic towards the cop. In the phrase “He hoped it, he truly hoped it” the repetition reinforces the fact that he has a domestic side and also evokes sympathy again. I liked the fact that MacCaig was making the cop out to be a human being with feelings instead of a gorilla as this helped me as a reader relate to the cop.
“Should tissue tear” and “What clubbings” describe what the cop has to deal with on a day to day basis. I enjoyed this part of the poem because it got the point across to me that anything could happen on the sidewalk of New York where he patrols and the fact that every day could be his last. There was sympathy emphasized again in this part of the poem. References to “Phoebe’s whamburger” and “Louise’s place” suggest violence and a very common New York eating place.
The reference to eating places added to my enjoyment of the poem as it’s a reference to a New York fast food joint which is well known. This allows the reader to relate to the poem. Although there is a lot of sympathy implied throughout the poem the last stanza does not imply a great amount of sympathy. “And who would be who have to be his victims” implies that the cop can also be a creator of violence as he has to be in order to stay alive. The phrase “victim” is a strange word to use. However, it did add to my enjoyment of the poem as it made me reflect on the 20th Century. I feel that the phrase “victim” is implying that we are all victims of the 20th Century.
Overall, I found the poem of “Brooklyn Cop” extremely enjoyable as it was something I felt I could relate to and I also liked it for the fact it provoked sympathy in me. I really enjoyed the poem as I like a poem which can make me feel some emotion for the person in the poem. I also liked the fact that the poem “Brooklyn Cop” made me reflect on the 20th Century and the dangers the police have to face everyday.