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Jo Shapcott’s Mad Cow

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  1. Abstract.
  2. Introduction.
  3. Critical Perspective.
  4. Interpretations of the Mad Cow.
  5. Analysis of Selected Poems.
    1. The Mad Cow in Love.
    2. The Mad Cow Talks Back.
    3. The Mad Cow Tries to Write the Good Poem.
  6. Overview of the Selected Poems.
  7. Conclusion.

Jo Shapcott is considered to be a contemporary British poet with traits of a Desperado poet. I explore the literal and figurative meaning of the cow in some of her Mad Cow poems as well as the issues that have influenced the usage of this persona. The essay begins with a quote from the Sunday Times, which praises Shapcott's work: ?Shapcott is gifted and original, and it is in the work such as hers that the future health of poetry needs to be sought.? The essay goes on to discuss critic's interpretation of Shapcott's writing; it examines three pieces of work with the subject matter being the mad cow; it talks about the techniques, perspectives and style the author uses to make the persona effective; it is 12 pages long and has 13 end notes.

[...] This line also ties into the paradoxical title, Mad Cow in because the cow has raw instincts and yet has the ability to be an angel. Mad Cow Talks Back? As opposed to the previous poem, Mad Cow Talks Back? is unique in that it is written from the cow's point of view. The first couple lines, ?I'm not mad. It just seems that way/because I stagger and get a bit irritable? are appropriate, because the cow is explaining that it does not have BSE. [...]


[...] The Mad Cow Talks Back I'm not mad. It just seems that way because I stagger and get a bit irritable. There are wonderful holes in my brain through which ideas from outside can travel at top speed and through which voices, sometimes whole people, speak to me about the universe. Most brains are too compressed. You need this spongy generosity to let the others in. I love the staggers. Suddenly the surface of the world is ice and I'm a magnificent skater turning and spinning across whole hard Pacifics and Atlantics. [...]


[...] Mad Cow Tries to Write the Good Poem? Again Shapcott puts the reader into the moment with the opening lines of her mad cow poems, and Shapcott ?turns her [the mad cow] into a fearless artist prepared to risk looking foolish for the sake of the creative rush? (Mslexia n. pag.). This poem begins right when the action is taking place, police came when I was doing my death dance/to the amazing circular music which had entered a gap/near my cortex and acted as powerfully/as a screwdriver on my soul.? It is possible that the cow is describing what it felt like to have BSE, because the term ?death dance? is used as well as reference to the which is apart of the brain and would be affected by the disease. [...]

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