Make a list of all the wars you can think of prior to 2000. Now a list of all the wars and conflicts you can think of that exist today. Many people have strong feelings and opinions about war. Why is this? What are yours?
F 1. Focus on the form of the poem , looking at the structure, punctuation, line lengths and the arrangement of the poem’s stanzas. How do these features add interest and meaning to the poem? Also examine the arrangements of the words, phrases andL sentences in the poem. 2. Examine the language used in the poem, looking at the meaningI of words and whether they have negative or positive connotations. 3. Look at the techniques, imagery and poetic language that hasR been used? How do these techniques bring out the main themes and ideas in the poem? 4. How does the poet make use of rhyme, repetition and rhythm?T Why does he do this? 5. What are the poet’s main ideas that he brings out in the poem and how does he do this? Explain the feelings that the poetY conveys throughout the poem. Describe the poet’s attitude to his subject. Does this change as the poem progresses? Carefully examine the tone throughout the poem and find vocabulary to back up your discussion. 6. How do you react to this poem? Does it bring any particular thoughts to mind? Which poems would you compare this one with?
BIOGRAPHYPoet and critic James Fenton was born in Lincoln in 1949, and was brought up inYorkshire and Staffordshire. He was educated at a musical preparatory schoolattached to Durham Cathedral, where he was a chorister, progressing from thereto Repton public school in Derbyshire. He then studied for three years at MagdalenCollege, Oxford.In 1968 he won the Newdigate Prize for best poem by an Oxford undergraduate ona set subject, later published in pamphlet form as Our Western Furniture(1968). After graduation he became a freelance journalist before joining the staff ofNew Statesman.His first full poetry collection was Terminal Moraine (1972), after which he won anEric Gregory Award, using the money to travel to South East Asia as a freelancereporter. He returned to become New Statesmans political correspondent atWestminster, and over the next few years worked for various newspapers asjournalist, critic and reviewer.His poetry collection, The Memory of War: Poems 1968-1982 (1982), based on hisexperiences in South East Asia, brought him to public attention, and was followedby Children in Exile in 1983. His most recent poetry collection is Out of Danger(1993).
James Fenton has also written several books of non-fiction, including Leonardos Nephew: Essays on Art and Artists (1998), A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seeds (2001) and The Strength of Poetry (2001). He became Professor of Poetry at Oxford University in 1994, and in 2002 wrote An Introduction to English Poetry (2002). He has also translated two operas: Rigoletto (1982) and Simon Boccanegra (1985) for the English National Opera. His libretto from Salman Rushdies Haroun and the Sea of Stories was performed by New York City Opera in 2003, and in 2004, his translation of Tirso de Molinas Tamars Revenge was performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. His most recent book, School of Genius (2006), is an illustrated history of the Academy from its foundation to the present day. A Selected Poems was also published in 2006. James Fenton has edited The New Faber Book of Love Poems (2006) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (2006). In 2007, James Fenton was awarded the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry.
One man shall smile one day and say goodbye.Two shall be left, two shall be left to die.One man shall give his best advice.Three man shall pay the price.One man shall live, live to regret.Four men shall meet the debt.One man shall wake from the terror to his bed.Five men shall be dead.One man to five. A million men to one.And still they die. And still the war goes on.
“ James Fenton, the poet of Cambodia spent several years in Asia, touring countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam and Indochina and became distressed and exceedingly more and more incensed by the atrocious war crimes being committed by those in authority. He wrote most of his poems upon his return to America, but Cambodia was written while he was visiting Southern Asia. Cambodia was a country devastated by war, and over 2 million civilians died in the various conflicts. The conflict he is referring to here is when American troops conducted illegal bombing raids under the guise of killing Viet- Cong they thought were fleeing into Cambodia. These bombing raids cost 750,000 innocent civilians their lives. ”
Lyric poem full of emotion about what has happened to the Cambodian journalists who were left behind by the other European journalists. A five stanza poem with each stanza consisting of a rhyming couplet. Each line of the poem seems to be written in a sentence. The mood of each stanza is similar – it is depressing and the poet is angry that his own people are killing more Cambodians as the Americans are entering Cambodian airspace on the pretext that they are chasing the escaping Vietcong soldiers.
1. Describe the main ideas in each stanza.2. Look at the poem’s literal meaning and then look at the different images in the poem – see if you can find the following imagery:- -Visual imagery - something seen in the minds eye Auditory imagery - represents a sound Olfactory imagery - a smell Gustatory imagery - a taste Tactile imagery - touch, for example hardness, softness, wetness, heat, cold Organic imagery - internal sensation: hunger, thirst, fatigue, fear Kinesthetic imagery - movement or tension Explain the imagery you have found, give an example and then explain the effect of the imagery.
The poet is the man who smiled and left. “One man shall smile one day and say goodbye.” “One” could be universal for the many Americans and foreigners who were able to leave. The second line of this stanza refers to the Cambodian journalists and officials who worked for the Americans and were unable to escape.“Two shall be left, two shall be left to die.”-Explain the mood and vocabulary in this stanza.Sibilance is used “ shall smile one day” Explain the rhythm of this sibilance and give its effect.Assonance is used with “day and say” Explain this sound device and its effect.Repetition “ Two shall be left, two shall be left to die.” What is the effect of this repetition and what meaning does it add to the poem?Vocabulary- “to die” Explain the connotations of the word die. How does this contrast with the vocabulary used in line 1?Rhyme – What is the rhyme and rhythm used in the first rhyming couplet? Explain the effect ?Look at the vocabulary – explain the positive and negative words and why they have been chosen by the poet and for what effect?
1. Explain the mood and tone in each stanza. What feelings do you recognise and how can you tell.2. Describe what happens in each line and then say how the first and second lines contrast with each other. For what effect has the poet done this deliberately in each stanza?3. Look at the vocabulary used and state whether it is negative or positive and what the connotations are of the important words.4. Discuss the various language devices in the stanzas and explain their effects in detail.5. Explain the use of the punctuation in each stanza. Look at full stops and caesuras and explain why the poet has used them.6. What are the implications the poet is trying to point out in in the last stanza with the words “One man to five. A million men to one.”
7. Explain the idea contained in the last line “And still they die. And still the war goes on.”What is the effect of this line and does it bring out a main theme of the poem?
1. Discuss the use of numbers used in each stanza by looking at the use of “one man shall…” in the first five stanzas and then it is contrasted with increasing numbers in each further stanza.2. What is the effect of this?3. Look at the first line of the last stanza. Why does Fenton change the numbers to “One man to five. A million men to one”? Explain what idea is sending the readers of the poem and who are the “million”? Explain this effect?
Ingroups discuss the main themes, find quotations to back up what you say and them explain the effects of each theme. Report your findings back to your class.
This poem would go well with The Attack by Siegfried Sassoon.http://www.jamesfenton.com/