Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan. Learning Objectives: Note context Consider key images and themes Annotate the poem. Slide 6 contains a link to BBC Bitesize video NB: This presentation does not contain a copy of the text. Islamic Country. Temperatures can reach up to 45 °C. Pakistan.
Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan
Consider key images and themes
Annotate the poem
Slide 6 contains a link to BBC Bitesize video
NB: This presentation does not contain a copy of the text
Temperatures can reach up to 45°C
Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore in Pakistan, the daughter of a Pakistani father and an English mother. She moved to Hatfield in England when she was a few months old. She didn't revisit Pakistan until after the publication of her first book of poems - 'The Country over my Shoulder' - from which this poem comes.
The poet says:"Presents from My Aunts... was one of the first poems I wrote. When I wrote this poem, I hadn't actually been back to Pakistan. The girl in the poem would be me at about 13. The clothes seem to stick to her in an uncomfortable way, a bit like a kind of false skin, and she thinks things aren't straightforward for her.
Look at the way the lines are arranged on the page. How does this force the reader into reading it?
Listen to the difference, for example, between:
'I longed for denim and corduroy'
'I longedfor denim and corduroy'
'A salwar kameez peacock-blue'
'Glistening like an orange split open'
'The presents were radiant in my wardrobe'
Add to the lists and think about the words that the poet has chosen
Much of the meaning of a poem is conveyed by the attitude it expresses toward its subject matter. 'Attitude' can be thought of as a combination of the poet's tone of voice, and the ideas he or she is trying to get across to the reader.
How do you think this poem should be read?
In a confused voice, as if the girl cannot decide whether she is more Pakistani or English?
Wistfully, as if she regrets having lost her original culture?
Gratefully, as she thinks about the beautiful, exotic gifts?
Select a short quotation to justify each choice.