Comparison

You can discover a lot about a poem by comparing it to one by another author that deals with a similar subject. You could compare features such as theme, form, structure, rhythm, language and figures of speech.

The key thing to do when comparing poems is to note the points where they are similar and the points where they differ. You could make a list noting similarities and differences between the two poems.

Comparison of 'Kamikaze' by Beatrice Garland and 'The Émigrée' by Carol Rumens

Similarities

  • Both are about outcasts - a shunned father in Kamikaze and an exile in The Émigrée.
  • Both present details of relationships - one between a person and their homeland, and the other between a father and his family.
  • Both use unrhymed stanzas.
  • Neither has a strong rhythmic pattern.
  • Both use an everyday, conversational style of speech.
  • Both mention powerful sense impressions of colour: light and dark, ‘green-blue translucent’ and ‘dark shoals’ (Garland); ‘sunlight-clear’, ‘every coloured molecule’, ‘my shadow falls as evidence’ (Rumens). Both poems mention taste, ‘salt-sodden’ (Garland), ‘tastes of sunlight (Rumens).
  • Although Rumens makes greater use of simile and metaphor in her poem, both poets use figurative language to help the reader picture the scenes being described.

Differences

  • Kamikaze is told using third-person narrative, The Émigrée uses the first person (although the speaker may be fictional and not Rumens herself.)
  • Although it’s not clearly regular, Rumens does use an irregular pattern of around 5 stresses in each line.
  • Garland makes sparing use of metaphor and simile (‘like bunting’ and ‘tuna, the dark prince’). Rumens makes much greater use of metaphor (‘the bright filled paperweight’, ‘[a city] sick with tyrants’, ‘branded … by sunlight’, ‘time rolls its tanks’. Rumens makes use of simile too, ‘the frontiers rise between us, close like waves’, ‘like a hollow doll’, ‘docile as paper’.

Explore the study guide for 'Kamikaze'.