This essay will compare two poems, which both have some similar aspects however there are also many differences. The two poems, which will be compared, are “The Whistle” by Yusef Komunyakaa and “Game After Supper” by Margaret Atwood. Yusef Komunyakaa was born on the 29th April 1947 in Bogalusa, Louisiana. He has won a number of awards for his poetry including the highly prestigious Pulitzer Prize. In 1999, he was elected a chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. He now lives in New York City. Margaret Atwood is a Canadian writer who was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1939.
She has written several novels, which have been considered for the highly prestigious Booker prize. She has recently won the Booker prize for her novel ‘Alias Grace’ and is the author of more than fifteen books of poetry. Atwood’s work has been translated into many languages and published in more than 25 countries. In 1986 Ms Magazine named her Woman of the Year. Margaret Atwood now lives in Toronto. Both of these poems have some similar aspects for example, they are both written in free verse and are both examples of modern poetry.
There are no rhyming schemes throughout both poems what so ever. To my understanding, I believe that the poets have written their poems in a nostalgic way and those are reconstructions of their childhood experiences; alternatively, they could also be fiction. Another similarity is that both poets write about equality and equal rights. Margaret Atwood is a feminist writer and writes about rights and equality for women whereas Yusef Komunyakaa writes about equal and civil rights for black people.
The Whistle was written around the 1960’s. During this decade, racism was a huge factor of equal rights. An example of this is the bus boycott. The bus boycott was when white people had a priority in getting a seat on the bus. The front part of the bus was known for white people to use and the black people where only allowed to be seated in the backside of the bus. If there were no longer seats at the front of the bus for white people then the black people had no choice and were forced to get up without any questions asked.
This particular poem is about racism and how black people are fighting back to get the equal rights they deserve however, this is all foreshadowed throughout the poem. The poem is also about workers whose lives evolve around work. Yusef Komunyakaa’s poem “The Whistle” opens with a very brief however, a detailed description of the start of the morning and “The seven O’clock whistle”, which I believe could be a wake up, call for the workers.
The poet has set the scene as early morning when the sun is just beginning to rise, “Made the morning air fulvous with a metallic syncopation”. This sentence tells us about the atmosphere of the early morning. We know that the sun is just rising because it describes the air as being fulvous and this gives us the impression of a yellowy colour. To my understanding, I believe that the “metallic syncopation” is the whistle waking all the workers with a rhythmic sound.