Rapture and Reprisal: Sex, text, intertext

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper examines Duffy’s deft and delicate reprising of some canonical amatory poems in her own sequential contribution to that ancient tradition, Rapture, received with delighted acclaim when it appeared in 2005, and winner of that year’s T S Eliot prize. Although, as the poet explained in an interview,” I could not feel more deeply than I have in these poems” (The Times, September 2005), there was always more to the volume than its acutely personal-seeming subject matter. In a response addressed to the judges of T S Eliot Prize, Duffy confirms “I was also interested in the love poem itself – in how much distance, if any, there is between the experience of love and the expression of it in poetic language” (PBS Bulletin 2005). In the light of her revealing comment, illustrated by close readings of some key poems, ‘Rapture and Reprisal’ views the intertextual resonances of a sophisticated collection from a variety of historical, literary, critical and theoretical perspectives. The paper does so chiefly to test the suspicion that this ambiguously-titled volume can seem at times more mischievously performative – and provocative – than readers have appreciated.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventCarol Ann Duffy: The Legacy of the Laureateship - British Academy, Carlton Terrace, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sept 20196 Sept 2019


ConferenceCarol Ann Duffy
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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