Rapture Hardcover – 1 Jan 2005
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'One of the most important, and rightly loved, poets of our time.' -- Independent
A passionate and beautiful new book-length love affair in verse.. -- Ruth Padel, Independent
The first collection to date from Britain's best-loved poet -- on love.See all Product description
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Anyway, as I said, I was falling in love and I stayed up all night, reading aloud to myself and crying. It was pure bliss!
Of course, at bookclub I drove them all mad, waxing lyrical about the book, reading whole poems aloud...
They indulged me, of course, partly because I was a woman in the first throes of love but mainly because they all loved Rapture too.
Three years later, I still read and sometimes weep, to River:
'Down by the river, under the trees, love waits for me
to walk from the journeying years of my time and arrive...'
'...and I feel love come to my arms and cover my mouth, feel
my soul swoop and ease itself into my skin, like a bird
threading a river. Then I can look love full in the face, see
who you are I have come this far to find, the love of my life.'
Make it Happy: A short guide to long term relationships
Most of the poems are delivered by a first person narrator speaking to a second person, "you". Although it is not always clear who the second person is, nonetheless this approach gives the poems a personal and intimate feel. The intensity of feelings conveyed are even further heighten by, in some instances, setting them against the background of a river, a forest, rain, etc. In the poem River, the intensity of feelings is made real by the fact that the poet personifies the river leaving the reader with a clear image of just how tender love can be.
Almost as if harking back to the romantic era, in the poem Haworth Miss Duffy continues to draw on natural phonomena as a backdrop to her theme of love. Haworth presents a powerful way of recalling a love vanquished by death. The natural surroundings are full of reminders of lost love. But this is not just a lament for a lover passed on it is also a love song for and to nature.
One of the things these poems reminds us of is that although the person whom one has loved is no longer present, love continues. The reminders of what was once in place with all its impact is to be seen everywhere, for example, in places (Haworth), in time (Hour), in nature (Rain), and in the everyday things we take for granted (Swing). Love never really dies.
What I found particularly interesting about Rapture is that for the contemporary reader hell bent on materialism it shows that love is not about money or the over extensive use of material gifts but instead the idea of being together, doing and sharing the everyday things of life. Take for example the poem Tea, the first verse with its ordinary activity states: "I like pouring your tea,/ lifting the heavy pot, and tipping it up,/ so the fragrant liquid steams in your China cup". How much more down to earth can you get than this?
These are poems in which the narrator's reminiscences are triggered by places and events. This method gave scope to Miss Duffy to undertake an exercise in craftmanshift and technical accomplishment. So in The Lovers there is a contrast between two sets of lovers one with a home and one without or notice the way Miss Duffy manages to maintain a perfect rhyming scheme in the triplet stanzas of Haworth. I was dazzled by Miss Duffy's display of control over the form in which she presents her subject. But sometimes the brevity of the poems made the subject fleeting in terms of the significance it was meant to convey.
The poetic devices Miss Duffy uses renders her language afresh. Her poems are littered with internal rhymes sometimes quickening the rhythm and pace of the language - see for example the poem Quickdraw. Miss Duffy's use of poetic devices also had the effect of making me look at the familiar in a fresh light. Take the poem New Year, how refreshing it is to ring in the new year with these thoughts: "I drop the dying year behind me like a shawl/ and let it fall. The urgent fireworks fling themselves/ against the night, flowers of desire, love's fervency." Then in the poem Art, Miss Duffy does an almost comprehensive display of poetic devies: there is a sustained rhyming scheme, there is alliteration and there is even onamatopoeia - brilliant or a little too much?
Rapture is a delightful collection of love poems. It was refreshing to see how Miss Duffy managed to sustain a comparison between love and ordinary everyday things and activities. I was also beguiled by Miss Duffy's use of language and poetic devices.
Starting with one of my all-time favourite poems, "You", Duffy writes "the thought of you stayed too late in my head/so I went to bed, dreaming you hard". The collection moves with quiet ease, showcasing Duffy's natural inclination to form and rhyme, through to the final line "a gift, the blush of memory".
The poems in this book are all love poems, although love is written about in all its various colours, from intense longing and the grief of separation, to love as a great redeeming power.
Duffy is so important as a figure in contemporary poetry, one of the few living poets who actually manages to sell books. Her poetry is very accessible for any reader, not just those interested in poetry, echoing her own belief that poetry should be able to speak for everybody.
This book makes a wonderful gift. The hardback is beautiful, it has a fairytale cover in silver and red, and even a red ribbon to use as a marker.
Rapture isn't just a book of poems, it's an experience.
It's not that Duffy is a bad poet; certainly her collection 'The World's Wife' puts that line of argument to bed. It's just that...it takes an incredibly fine poet to truly distill the rapture of love adequately. Anything less doesn't ring true enough and seems like a hollow parody of something so overwhelming and chaotic as the feeling of being in love.
I was really excited to read this book having enjoyed Duffy's other work. I was hoping to find poems that I could come back to time and again which really captured the feeling of love. Unfortunately, I didn't find them. Having said that, a couple of the poems spoke to me, particularly the last. The final line 'a gift, the blush of memory' has stayed with me.
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