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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > November 2016 > Poetry workshop: Skeletons in the cupboard

Poetry workshop: Skeletons in the cupboard

Alison Chisholm explores two poems – one classic and one sent by a reader – to illustrate the power of the dramatic monologue

Dramatic monologues allow the poet to assume the character of another person, creature or even an inanimate object, and to examine some situation or event through that viewpoint. From Browning’s Porphyria’s Lover to Carol Ann Duffy’s collection The World’s Wife, we are shown dramatic scenes unfolding before our eyes, and drawn into the centre of the action.

Another favourite from Browning is the more subtly described but no less chilling account of My Last Duchess, and these extracts are taken from the 56-line poem. In this, readers are drawn into the event with the direct address of the proud owner showing off his collection.


That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,

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