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Carol Ann Duffy: Mean Time

5. Stafford Afternoons

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About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the fourth poem in the collection, 'Stafford Afternoons', focusing in particular on: (i) the movement from the general reflections on memory in the previous poem ('Nostalgia') to the memory of a very specific set of memories in this one; (ii) the contrast between silence and sound; (iii) the contrast between the innocent encounter with the horse ("I let a horse in the noisy field sponge at my palm") and the encounter with "long-haired man"; and (iv) the cultural resonances of woods and forests in literature, and the other hints of danger throughout the poem ("a strange boy through a stone", "I knew it was dangerous").


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Carol Ann Duffy’s 1993 collection, ‘Mean Time'. After an introductory module in which we think about the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy in general and the collection as a whole – and especially the implications of its title – the course continues with a reading and analysis of each of the thirty-nine poems in the collection, one by one.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2021, March 01). Carol Ann Duffy: Mean Time - Stafford Afternoons [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Carol Ann Duffy: Mean Time – Stafford Afternoons." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 01 Mar 2021,

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