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 'Cozy Apologia' by Rita Dove and 'Dusting the Phone' by Jackie Kay


  • Both poems are written in first person and deal with love.
  • They avoid entirely regular metre, matching their conversational tone.
  • Both poems have a conversational style, with digressions and sentences that finish abruptly part of the way through a line.
  • The poems use metaphor, and personification. In Cozy Apologia '[Hurricane] Floyd's cussing up a storm' and in Dusting the Phone, 'The future is a long gloved hand'.


  • Cozy Apologia is about a happy relationship. Dusting the Phone is about a relationship on the rocks.
  • Cozy Apologia is dedicated to 'Fred' whilst in Dusting the Phone, the person is not named.
  • Dove uses occasional rhyme. Kay does not use rhyme at all.
  • Dove's loose, easy rhyme scheme, long leisurely stanzas and unforced rhythms suggest a speaker at peace with herself. Kay's short, unrhymed stanzas suggest the speaker of that poem is unsettled and anxious. For the reader, Dove's poem depicts happy daydreaming, while Kay's vividly describes restless, miserable confusion.

Explore the study guide for 'Dusting the Phone'.