Friday, 8 April 2011

...It's An Accessible Art

"People can't put on an opera, but they can write a poem.  It's an accessible art."

This quotation from Simon Armitage is illustrative of his belief that poetry is for everyone.  As we have seen through our classroom studies Armitage's work deals with universal human themes; we have all been able to find a relation between Armitage's work and our own experiences.

It shouldn't be difficult for you to respond intelligently to the Armitage poems on the exam.

Remember the importance of close analysis though and of reponding to the poems on a word level.  Remember also the importance of using embedded quotation.

Embedded Quotation


The central image in the poem 'Mother any distance greater than a single span...' is that of the tape measure that the poet employs with his mother in the measurement of the dimensions of aspects of his new accommodation.  The metaphor of the tape measure represents the connection between mother and son.  As they take the measurements the physical distance between the poet and his mother becomes greater until he holds onto the 'last one hundredth of an inch' of tape and until the mother's fingertips 'pinch' at the end of the tape.  The poet, through this metaphor, is illustrating how the poet and the mother feel about the changes that are occurring in their relationship with one another.  The words 'last one hundredth of an inch' suggest that the son's gaining of his independance is timely; that perhaps he has delayed making this move; whilst the word 'pinch' suggests a reluctance in the mother to release the connection.  It is my opinion that the relationship between mother and son changes, rather than weakens, with incresed independence.

Try embedding these words and phrases from the poem into your own paragraphs about the poem.

"reporting...back to base."
"hatch that opens on an endless sky"
"to fall or fly"

Have a go at it in some postings!


  1. There is a strong religious undertone to the poem 'Mother any distance' by Simon Armitage. Some may argue that the narrator's relation with his mother is somewhat similar to that of a person and his hypothetical guardian angel. Just as the angel may find himself 'reporting... back to base", the ongoings of the human he looks after; we can depict - from the aliteration 'back to base' - that the angel is only the to observe and allow the human to grow and mature simingly alone. The human many venture and even cross a "hatch that opens on an endless sky" of endless opportunities and still the angel shall observe, anxious to know whether or not the human will 'fall or fly' through life. That is in effect the very climax of the poem.

    Universaly, we may consider our mothers to be our very own angels that observe from afar and more times than needed - unlike angels - they will forcefully intervein on our behalves. Personaly, I found this a very cleverly thought out poem that did push me to wonder and at times even relapse through time to the countless times I've seen my mother act as a guardian angel. Armitage has written a universal account of the 'model of a model of a mother'.

  2. Hey yo, is the blog dead or...