You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Carol Ann Duffy: Mean Time

25. The Grammar of Light

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the twenty-fourth poem in the collection, 'The Grammar of Light', focusing in particular on: (i) what the poem is about; (ii) the image (once again) of someone in the window at night ("The way a curtain opened at night lets in neon"); (ii) the synesthetic combination of senses, e.g. the image (sound?) of the "stuttering" of stars' light; (iii) the image of the midnight candle, which "flatters" (where we might have expected "flickers" or "flutters"); and (iv) the echo in the last line ("The flare of another match. The way everything dies") of Dylan Thomas' 'Do not go gentle into that good night'.


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Carol Ann Duffy’s 1993 collection, ‘Mean Time'. After an introductory module in which we think about the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy in general and the collection as a whole – and especially the implications of its title – the course continues with a reading and analysis of each of the thirty-nine poems in the collection, one by one.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2021, March 01). Carol Ann Duffy: Mean Time - The Grammar of Light [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Carol Ann Duffy: Mean Time – The Grammar of Light." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 01 Mar 2021,