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Mean Time

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  549 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Paperback. Pub Date :2013-05-23 Pages: 64 Language: English Publisher: Pan Macmillan In her prize-winning fourth collection. Mean Time. Carol Ann Duffy dramatizes scenes from childhood. adolescence and adulthood. finding moments of grace or consolation in memory. love and language amid the complexities of life. These are powerful poems of loss. betrayal and desire.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published May 23rd 2013 by Picador (first published 1993)
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3.84  · 
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 ·  549 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is my favorite of the three Duffy collections I’ve read thus far. I’d encountered “Valentine” before. Like “Stuffed,” about a sadistic taxidermist, it’s gently creepy; an offbeat love poem turns into something almost disturbing, with vocabulary like “blind,” “fierce,” “Lethal” and “knife.” There’s a subtle chronological progression in the collection: nostalgia for childhood leads into faltering relationships, with a late hint of happy grown-up life in “The Windows.” I especially liked “Caul ...more
georgia ☽
"It seems we live in those staggering years
Only to haunt them"

i'm currently studying this for school- and duffy just has such a wonderful way with words. i think taking each poem apart and highlighting key themes and ideas has only served to make me appreciate it even more.

"The way the shy stars go stuttering on".

i don't absolutely love every poem in this collection- but the ones i do love more than make up for the not-so-great ones.

a few of my favourites: adultery, the grammar of light, confess
J.S. Watts
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carol ann Duffy's 1993 fourth collection is classic Duffy. These poems are mini tales of memory and the complexities of life from childhood to adulthood. Tightly coiled images and precision wording make for some excellent poetry
Jun 02, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I find Duffy bleak and depressing. Her poetry is dull and bland.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually really liked these poems, especially after we discussed them in class so they made more sense.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Faves: "Nostalgia," "Away and See," "Small Female Skull," "Valentine," "Havisham," "Disgrace," and "Mean Time"
Andy Luke
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Too removed, too misjudging in assumption, poetryist trappings of self-reference, form and succinct-as-garble, it said little to me about my life. There's cruelty abounding, in 'The Grammar of Light', 'Havisham', 'Never Go Back', 'Adultery'. Yes, many pieces have a choice phrases like 'dustjacket smile', but this was lacking familiarity, intimacy, humour and relevance. Yes there are stellar poems: the hopefully whispering 'Prayer'; the easy yet intimate 'Beachcomber'; the beautiful 'Oslo' and 'M ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
On a few occasions towards the end of Mean Time ("Close", "Havisham", "The Suicide"), I found myself uncomfortably reminded of some poems I tried to write in my teens, and which are mercifully lost to posterity. Of course, you don't get to be Poet Laureate by writing like me, and there are plenty of poems in this collection that I appreciated ("enjoyed" would not be the right word) while reading them, but few that stayed with me once they were done. I found Duffy's language to be strangely inert ...more
Moushumi Ghosh
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another brilliant collection from Duffy. Some poems stay with you long after you have closed the book. Personal favourites include 'Valentine' and 'Away and See'. These are timeless poems. Duffy is a national treasure.
Beth Kennedy
Duffy has been one of my favourite poets since I was a teenager. I received The World's Wife as a gift from my feminist English teacher and it remains one of my favourite collections.

So today I decided to read Mean Time. I'm giving this a 3.5 star review as I found it personally to be a bit hit and miss.

However, some of the stand-out poems in my opinion include Before You Were Mine, Valentine, Steam, Havisham, Sleeping, The Grammar of Light, First Love, Small Female Skull and The Good Teachers.
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carol Ann Duffy has never been one of my 'go to' poets in the way that Larkin, Hardy, Auden or Simon Armitage are, but I came across a recommendation for Mean Time, Duffy's fourth collection, first published in 1993 in a review of another book. I found it something of a mixed bag - not in terms of quality and inventiveness - but in the way in which some poems engaged my attention in a much more direct way than others. With underlying themes of time and mutability, it's a fairly downbeat collecti ...more
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful collection of poems, though I must admit the other two collections I read by Carol Ann Duffy spoke to me more. Nonetheless, Carol Ann Duffy has become one of my favourite poets and I very much doubt she can write anything awful
Poocy Mills
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Valentine is a heartfelt and beautiful poem, I had to read more of her work and found a lot more heart
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: schoolio
it was alrite, i liked the one about sleep i forget what its called
Aug 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
This volume didn't speak to me at all.
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wrote my Extended Essay on Carol Ann Duffy's poems. It was actually a poem from this specific collection, but I never actually read any of the others. After reading the whole collection, I still thing Valentine is my favorite. But maybe that's only because I analyzed this poem in depth and therefore have a much greater understanding of this poem than of the rest. I adore how Duffy rejects the conventional idea of love by introducing an object such as an onion as a representation of love.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some poems really shine upon re-reading.
Lea Dokter
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely adore Duffy and this collection only added to my infatuation. "Valentine" is my personal favourite.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The poems were good and very readable.
Read for class
C.E. G
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I love Carol Ann Duffy! So dark and clever. Favorite poems in the collection: Valentine, Adultery, Drunk.

Look at the smarts:

"On the motorway bridge, I waved at windscreens,

oddly hurt by the blurred waves back, the speed.

So I let a horse in the noisy field sponge at my palm

and invented, in colour, a vivid lie for us both."

-Stafford Afternoons

"Wear dark glasses in the rain.
Regard what was unhurt
as though through a bruise.
Guilt. A sick, green tint.

New gloves, money tucked in the palms,
the hands
Oct 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, poetry
I didn't like this collection as much as I did Rapture, but I think it's a pretty good one all the same. I loved "Adultery", "Closer", "Mean Time" and "Prayer". I'm sure others will jump out at me in future. There are some absolutely stellar parts that just undo me, like these:

"I tell myself where I live now,
but you move in close till I shake, homeless,
further than that."

"Then, selfish autobiographical sleep

in a marital bed, the tarnished spoon of your body
stirring betrayal, your heart ov
Derek Emerson
I bought this book after reading the final poem, "Prayer," somewhere else. I was not familiar with Duffy's work, but there is clearly no shortage of praise for her. Perhaps that poem and the praise set me up for disappointment, but I found the poems to be uneven as a whole, and sometimes even within themselves. She does create some intriguing views on life, but they do not seem to hold. I gave it two stars because "it was okay." I can see why people like her work, but it didn't connect for me. S ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
CAROL ANN DUFFY, you are brilliant! This is why you are a poet laureate. Carol has a way of making feel all the feels. The ideologies and themes that she writes about are varied but all trace back to identity and belonging. CAN YOU TELL THAT I LOVE HER POETRY, YET!!!!Just sit down for an hour and read this collection of poems. Here are some of my favourites:
- The Good Teachers
- Drunk
- First Love
- Valentine
- Sleeping
Dec 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, poetry
The whole collection was just... unexpected - her use of metaphors, punctuation, similes, images, specific detail (especially names of people and places) even subject matter. Two that stood out were "Drunk" and "Valentine" (really? an onion instead of flowers?).

Somehow, though, I feel as if I'm missing some massive point she's trying to make.
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, favorites
Distraught in autumn, kneeling under the chestnut trees,
seeing childhood in the conkers through my tears.
Bonkers. And me so butch in my boots down the macho

-Carol Ann Duffy
The Cliche Kid

Do you hear that? That's the sound of my heart breaking.

Excuse me while I go find some tissues and pick it up.
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, poetry
The only poet who has ever got to me, really, is Carol Ann Duffy. Ever since fourth year and Before You Were Mine & Valentine; and then Words, Wide Night & Havisham, and now I just -

- well, I mean, you don't get to be Poet Laureate for no reason, do you?
Jan 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Not a bad set of poems, some dark and well structured poems. Although some are a lot better than others
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent collection from the Poet Laureate. Poignant poetry. Must be read (let alone read aloud).
Matt Hunt
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, poetry
brothers and captain of the form team.
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Dame Carol Ann Duffy, DBE, FRSL is a Scottish poet and playwright. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Britain's Poet Laureate in May 2009.

She is the first woman, the first Scot, and the first openly LGBT person to hold the position.

Her collections include Standing Female Nude (1985), winner of a Scottish Arts Council Award; Selling Manh
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