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English Literature

The Clown Punk

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Context

For some background on Simon Armitage look at the Context section of Homecoming.

Subject

The poem describes an encounter with the eponymous Clown Punk, a tattooed, slightly tragic character who presses his face against the windscreen of the narrator's car when it stops at traffic lights, frightening the children sitting in the back seat.

Armitage told a BBC website interviewer in 2006 that this poem is based on a real person he used to see around town, and follows "a tradition in English Literature of writing such poems, where one type of person stands eyeball to eyeball with another type, and something passes between them". What do you think is passing between the narrator and the punk?

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