Kevin Halligan-The Cockroach-Notes

Kevin Halligan — ‘The Cockroach’

Kevin Halligan was born in Toronto,Canada in 1964 He regards himself as an Anglophile and has spent long periods living in England, but has also travelled in Asia, where this poem was written. His collection Blossom Street is based on his travels and he often observes alien counties with detailed fascination. In this poem he apparently focuses an intense concentration on an insect, but in a powerful twist of focus the whole poem flips back to reveal that the poet himself is actually the subject.

Halligan hones his poems obsessively. He is able to use a variety of forms with great control, and deceptive ease. This seems at first quite a simple poem but it is tightly constructed with great skill.

Some points for classroom discussion

Consider the tone of voice of the narrator and what effect this produces on the reader.

Suggested comparison

Judith Wright ‘Hunting Snake’.

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