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Can anyone recommend a poem about alienation/being a stranger?

Discussion in 'English' started by suem75, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. suem75

    suem75 Occasional commenter

    I'm teaching a class at A-level equivalent level and have freedom to pick texts. Our theme is 'strangers in a strange land' and the texts we've used so far - Small Island and Atonement - fit with interpreting the theme in terms of 'alienation'. We'll also study A Streetcar Named Desire. In terms of poetry to date, I've used some Norman MacCaig (sp?) poetry linked by the theme of alienation but the students love Keats and Byron. I would like to take advantage of there only being two in the class by using poetry from poets they already know and like. Sadly, my knowledge of these poets' work is lost in the mists of time and I no longer have a shelf full of poetry anthologies at home (as an international teacher, I couldn't keep paying to ship books around the globe).
    Can anyone suggest something by Byron that might fit? I've thought about 'Childe Harolde's Pilgrimage' but it's too long to cover in full and I wouldn't know which 'bit' to pick if we studied an extract. Anything he wrote in (and about) mainland Europe could fit because of the point of view being that of a 'stranger'. They're very able students so it could be a challenging poem.

    Thank you in anticipation.
  2. maltesefalcon

    maltesefalcon New commenter

    Sorry I don't know anything relevant by Byron or Keats but Beginning in a City is a really good poem by James Berry about starting his life in London he was part of the Windrush generatation of Carribean immigrants to Britain so would fit in with Small Island.
  3. You could argue that alienation runs through many poems by Keats. Perhaps not the straightforward "strangers in a strange land", but the feeling of being an outsider is often there. For example, in Ode to a Nightingale - "Perhaps the self-same song that found a path/ Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, /She stood in tears amid the alien corn;" ... alienation from the spiritual/physical

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