Submitted by greta on 11 April 2012
Michael Woods' insightful comments on Carol Ann Duffy's poems help my students understand and revise her poetry. His interpretation of "Small Female Skull", however, fails to convince me. Drunkenness can of course be a theme for poetry just like everything else in the world, but what are we to take away from it? Love yourself even in an apalling and disgraceful state? Why the references to a newborn baby? A miscarriage? After all, it seems devoid of breath. What about the poem's hint of domestic violence? Falling down treacherous stairs sounds like the victim's unconvincing explanation for wounds inflicted by the partner in an abusive relationship. Why the company below?
Somehow I cannot find a coherent interpretation, one that combines all its elements into a meaningful whole.