Analysis of the poem "Eat Me"

Click here the read the poem itself: Eat me


Patience Agbabi, a poet highly recognized for her ability to interweave performance and literature, portrays a macabre relationship in her poem "Eat Me". Just by reading the title, it can be deduced that there is an imperative element to this poem, since the title itself is a command.

Being a next generation poet, Agbabi sticks to her conventional style of writing thus adapting the style of dub poetry. The poem follows a reggae-like rhythm throughout with a very conversational tone while the prime motive being to overtly convey a political and social message.  However, Agbabi has slightly manipulated this form since she starts the poem by giving the reader the wrong idea. We are lead to believe that the voice of the poem is happy and content with what she has since her birthday is being celebrated. This shows that she in the company of people who care for her. However, this idea gradually develops and changes - perhaps depicting the naivety of the voice: her realizations for the true intents of her lover unfold as the reader progresses throughout the poem.

Agbabi has used symbolism to a certain extent to portray the horrid nature of the antagonist. "a candle for each stone in weight" - a candle on a birthday cake typically represents the age of the person but this man believes that the worth of her weight is much greater than how old she is. It is also worth noting that the sentences of the poems are very constrained this showing that her movement and thoughts are very limited and puts the reader in a claustrophobic state. This sin't just a representation of physical claustrophobia, but also stresses on the mental and physiological constraint stress, self-affiliation, and insecurity.

Vivid imagery is used throughout the poem by making use of adjectives and verbs. Her physique and movement are described by words such as "wobble" and "judder" - words that are much for befitting to inanimate objects such as jelly. It could be argued that her humanity is stolen from her simply because of her size. Also, Agbabi constantly used repetition. It could be argued that this is to enhance the effect of the general dub poem so it can sound better when sung (or performed) but on the other hand, repetition of phrases such as "too fat" also imply the excess of something. Again, a hint towards the physical size of the voice. Alliteration is also used to enhance this effect. The phrase "called chubby cuddly" creates a "ch ch ch" effect which is onomatopoetic to the sound of water sloshing in a large jug and water is fluid, it cannot escape like gasses, thus showing how trapped she is albeit being able to move.

There seems to be a shift in dynamics in stanza 9. Throughout the poem, the purported antagonist had an imperative voice but at this point she says "...he whispered" perhaps showing fake control. Men in control tend not to whisper their commands and when this man was quite literally drowned in his lust and dazed by how surreal the present is, he revealed his true self. There is a sinister end: "nothing else left in the house to eat". the man hooked her on the habit of eating and now despite anything she tries, she will have to eat. And the only thing in sight is his body. Agbabi tries to show the reader that we pay for the damage we leave behind even long after our deaths.



Annas Ghafoor: Is an occasional columnist and contributor at a variety of websites, including WeSaidGoTravel, InTravelMag, and Huffington post. Personally, he is an academic of comparative religion, en route to becoming Hafiz al-Quran, and a prospective medical student hoping to achieve his MD in upcoming years. He enjoys swimming, football, traveling, and being in great company of friends and family.

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Analysis of the poem "Eat Me" Analysis of the poem "Eat Me" Reviewed by Big Bause on 03:14:00 Rating: 5

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