We recently welcomed sixteen year old Lauryn to The Reader on work experience. She’s kindly provided a Recommended Read – suggesting a poem by Carol Ann Duffy, Foreign.
Foreign by Carol Ann Duffy, a Scottish writer and actress, is about the struggles an immigrant worker has to face on a day to day basis.
Duffy asks the reader at the beginning of the poem to ‘imagine living in a strange dark city’, this straight away hooks you to the poem because you do find yourself picturing the ‘strange dark’ city you are asked to. The first stanza of the poem sets the scene for the reader and begins to show how the immigrant is different from the rest of society.
The poem goes on to talk about the immigrant feeling homesick which I think makes the poem relatable because everyone has been somewhere that is unfamiliar with unfamiliar people and all you want is to be in the comforts of your own home with your family. The next verse tells you about the harsh treatments of the immigrants in society, how they are not welcomed and instead are made to be outcasts.
The final bit of the poem explains how it is hard to communicate, it finishes how the first started with the word ‘imagine’. It leaves you thinking about what you have read which an indication of the success of the poem is.
I would recommend this poem to anyone over the age of around 12 as the main theme is quite a mature, younger audiences probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much. However for those older than 12 I think it is a really good poem to read, it has a strong message behind it about the immigrants and their point of view. It lets you put yourselves in their shoes and gives the reader an opportunity to relate to what goes on because the majority of the time we are given very biased opinions about it.
You can read Foreign in full here.