Friday, September 20, 2019

Benjamin Zephaniah Was Born In Birmingham English Literature Essay

Benjamin Zephaniah Was Born In Birmingham English Literature Essay Throughout his collection Zephaniah connects with young people through his use of conversational language and further, introduces a range of topics that can be easily understood by the younger generation. Topics include friends, family, heroes and animals; which arguably has the effect of making poetry fun for young children. Naturally, children tend to enjoy what can be considered as playground jingles and rhymes but despite this can often be intimidated at the idea of poetry. As Talking Turkeys is arguably fun and enjoyable, this as a result helps to stimulate a childs imagination and interest whilst at the same time builds their confidence within poetry. A rather unique feature of Zephaniahs poetry is his use of colloquial language; a good example of this is when he replaces the word there with dere. Further, made up words such as guzzards also add to the humour of the poetry. His poems tend to contain a rather heart-warming moral at the end; Heroes states I say were all heroes if we do our little bit.. This positive message would arguably have a strong impact on the younger readers and encourage them to do well. The structures of Zephaniahs poetry are not complex yet they are rather effective. In Friends the structure is very simple, using four lines to describe each animal in turn, and further using well known characteristics of that particular animal. When talking about a snake he writes I am known to slip and slide. This poem arguably provides visual stimulation and makes the ideas in the poem easily understood for children of a young age. This is reinforced by the inclusion of a wide variety of illustrations. Pictures, designs and photographs are creatively embedded within the poems. The layout of the words in the poem often supports the image. Images consist of collages, pen and ink and photographic studies which add humour and make the poems less daunting to read. In his poem entitled Drivosaurus Rex he uses an image of a T-Rex driving a car which would grab the attention of the young reader. In other poems the illustrations provide the layout of the poem in a fun and imaginative way a llowing for the text to be broken up. Some of his poems within this collection do not reinforce correct grammar and punctuation in that Jamaican Patois is often used. This is rather unconventional, and can be confusing. However, it is also quite charming and clever, and has a tendency to make you want to turn the page and continue reading. There are a range of poems within Talking Turkeys that reinforce this idea such as Little Sister, the self-titled Talking Turkeys and the anti-grammatical According to my Mood in that I have a poetic licence, I write the way I want, I drop my full stops where I like à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‚ ¦ highlighting this concept of incorrect grammar and punctuation. Talking Turkeys itself is not written nor performed in Standard English, the rhyming structure is rather simple and generally tends to stay the same throughout. In looking at Talking Turkeys being performed [], Zephaniah provides a comic element to his poem in that not only does he entertain the crowd with funny little dances but he also changes his tone of voice in order to be best suited for the poem. This reinforces the point made earlier in regards to the use of Jamaican Patois in that Zephaniah has to almost create this character within him in order to accommodate for the poem. It is clear to see as to why young children would be interested in the poem in that there is a large comedy factor and at certain points throughout his performance he seems to get somewhat distracted from his recital, but nonetheless this adds to the humour of it all. Zephaniah connects with modern issues and introduces new perspectives to a young audience. Talking Turkeysà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‚ ¦ relates to different religions and cultures so every child can feel they are a part of society and not feel left outà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‚ ¦ The book is for children but the grown-ups will be sneaking off with it. Black Literature Project The effective imagery and informal language work well together and open up a world of possibilities for classroom activities. Politics, veganism and animals are prominent themes, touched upon with varying weight and humour. Zephaniahs words provoke and invoke; he challenges the reader to question societal ideals but also encourages compassion and equality. Irreverence for the academic trappings of traditional written poetry, a loose-foot, streetwise approach to form and to content and a large-hearted humanity, permeate his poetry, and this should ensure his popularity with school children natural inconoclasts for years to come. Errol Ll oyd, quoted in Books For Keeps Talking Turkeys has been reviewed by many critics [,,9780140363302,00.html#reviews], it is said that Zephaniah is the reigning king of childrens poetry He has an unselfconscious relish for language and word-play that never strays into the patronising dee-dum-dee-dum-dee-dum territory of so much of childrens poetry: his are poems that bounce up from the page and demand to be read, rapped, sung and hip-hopped aloud. (Independent on Sunday) Further, He brings Jamaican rhythms, the patois of the streets, the perception thatà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‚ ¦ poetry can be powerful, provocative, street-wiseà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‚ ¦ He takes poetry off the page and into urban mouths, turns verse into sassy, beat-filled performance. (The Scotsman) Zephaniahs poetry can however be criticised in that some may argue his poems are too short, but nonetheless that concept is put down to the readers personal preference. Some would also argue that the incorrect use of English could be considered a negative point in that it does not promote to young readers how they should be speaking and spelling. Yet despite this, his use of improper language all adds to the overall effect of his poetry. The majority of Zephaniahs poetry is enjoyed by a wide range of people and as a result there is not much negative comments regarding what he writes, or rather, how he writes.

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