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Carol Ann Duffy: Mean Time

36. The Windows

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In this module, we read through the thirty-fifth poem in the collection, 'The Windows', focusing in particular on: (i) the evocation in the title of Philip Larkin's 1974 collection, 'High Windows'; (ii) the sheer number of windows in the collection, e.g. "your name brings me here to the window" (First Love), "Imagine a girl turning to see love stand by a window" (Crush), "Years stand outside on the street looking up to an open window" (Close); (iii) the question of whether this is a single house or several different houses; (iv) the perspective of the speaker in this poem – is she envious? critical?; (v) the use (once again) of all the senses ("What you hear … What you touch … What you see what you smell what you taste"); and (vi) the balanced structure of the poem, which starts and ends with flowers.


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.

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APA style

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

MLA style

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

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