Poems Are a Powerful Medium That Speak as a Voice for the Oppressed

“Poems are a powerful medium that speak as a voice for the oppressed”

‘Still I rise’- Maya Angelou
‘Half caste’-John Agard

Poems have proved their definite success in being a voice and opinion for our society through its words. Throughout history, poems have continually delivered the thoughts and messages of not only renowned writers but also the oppressed to the world-wide audience. Two major poems that successfully influence and deliver their strong values and beliefs would be Maya Angelou’s compelling poem ‘Still I rise’ and John Agard’s humorous ‘Half-caste’. Maya Angelou, through the use of poetic techniques such as repetition and the use of different words, effectively state her perspective on the discrimination faced by the African-Americans. However on the other hand, John Agard uses humour such as satire and different language styles to convey his attitude towards the audience who had discriminated against people like him, the mixed race. John Agard also explores the meaning of “half” and “whole” in the poem, stating his view while delivering a strong message to its readers to reconsider their past and present mistakes. Poems are definitely a powerful medium that gives a voice to the oppressed, to state their views and deliver their message.

In Maya Angelou’s renowned poem ‘Still I rise”, she uses several poetic techniques such as repetition, rhetorical questions, anaphora and simile to deliver a strong message across to its audience. A repetition is when a phrase, word or sound is repeated throughout the poem. A major example in ‘Still I rise’ would be ironically “I rise” and “still I rise” which is repeated more towards the end of the poem. Angelou repeats the phrase “I rise” and “Still I rise” to re-inforce and emphasis the idea that she would never give up and continue to rise regardless of how she is treated. The poet uses rhetorical questions to build on her point. She asks rhetorical questions such as “Does my sassiness upset you?” and...