Introduction fascination with nature first witnessed in


The genesis of English poetry can be traced back to the 7th century. From this period to the present day, English poets have managed to create one of the most lasting poems in the history of all Western countries. On top of this, the language that the poets have used in writing the poetry has spread around the world. In the olden days, all poetry was passed down from one generation to another in an oral manner. With time, these versions have disappeared making it impossible to date ancient English poetry. However, this has changed over time and today all poetry is well documented. Although most poets lived in the past, there has risen a new breed of poets whose contribution has influenced the literary world in a positive manner.

One poet who has made a major contribution to the literary world in the 21st century is Jacob Polley. Born in Carlisle in 1975, Jacob Polley is seen as one of the poets who have shaped the nature of English poetry in the 21st century. In 2003, Polley published his first poetry book titled The Brink. Immediately after it was published, the book was nominated for the T.S.

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Eliot award for its classy poems and their articulation of the world affairs. In the same year it was published, the book also won Poetry Book Society Choice. The manner in which the poems were written could only be compared to the legend works of Auden.

Polley followed the success of this book by publishing another book titled Little Gods in 2006. Like his first book, Little Gods also become an instant success. However, unlike his first book that centered on the modern life, Little Gods was based more on traditional lyric inspiration. In 2009, Jacob Polley published his debut novel titled Talk of the Town. Just as his other two poetry books, Talk of the Town proved to be equally famous. In all his poems, Jacob Polley uses the same style calculated, melodic and unfussy writing. In al his poems, the writer probes into the fundamental, the supernatural and unstable elements of life.

Whether he is talking of a sad or a happy event, all his writing asserts a unique susceptibility at work. In proving his Northern upbringing, the poet presents a visible boundary in all his poems. These borderlines appear in the way in which he differentiates maritime and land, life and death, living and dying, home and journeying or even the way he depicts the urban and rural life. The author’s works follow the fascination with nature first witnessed in his predecessor Ted Hughes. An example of this is where Polley uses phrases like “old yellow eye/ lost in the fall, lost in the mind” to refer to a simple leaf. Another example is where he describes snow as “surviving in quiet places / like a rare species”. Despite this apparent fascination with nature, the writer’s focus remains with the human race.

Nearly all of Polley’s poems examine the borderlands and haziness between people and the innate world. This one thing has made Jacob Polley to be one of the most influential poets of this century. One poem that catapulted Polley in to the international limelight was a poem titled The Owls, which was published in the 2006 edition of Little Gods. The poem talks about how children have grown apart from their children in the modern society. The poem relies heavily on metaphors to bring out the real meaning. In the poem, Polley talks about “Owls calling in the dark yews / behind the house.” With metaphors, these owls are altered to represent missing children. Although the children in this poem are missing, it is not their voice that calls in the dark.

This is derived from the point where Polley claims that the children in this case have lost their power to speak besides their “fingers and human faces.” This means that the owls that Polley is talking about must be the children’s mothers calling their children. The poem continues to say that “No one calls into the trees” showing that parents sometimes come to a point where they give up on their children.

However, the owl children are still hopeful that they will be “called again”. According to the poet, this transformation comes from the names that the children used to have when they were still human. The children claim that the mothers have “forsaken us/ as we have them!” By the time the poem ends, the children are presented as “forsaken” and “glorified.” This clearly presents today’s nature of families where parents forsake their children only to begin yearning for them later on in life.

This poem is therefore a clear representation of the metamorphosis of life. (Sampson)


English poetry has gone through numerous transformations. The whole of England is filled with famous poets who made positive contributions toward poetry. Even today, there is a new breed of poets whose poetry is influencing the society in a positive way.

A good example of a 21st century poet who has made a positive impact is Jacob Polley. Within a span of less than ten years, Polley has managed to come up with quality poems addressing the woes bedeviling the society. This has earned him a special place in the hearts of poem lovers and the general population.

Work Cited

Sampson, Fiona. Little Gods by Jacob Polly, 2007. Web. Nov 3. 2010.


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