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War Photographer Summary & Analysis
by Carol Ann Duffy

"War Photographer" is a poem by Scottish writer Carol Ann Duffy, the United Kingdom's poet laureate from 2009 to 2019. Originally published in 1985, "War Photographer" depicts the experiences of a photographer who returns home to England to develop the hundreds of photos he has taken in an unspecified war zone. The photographer wrestles with the trauma of what he has seen and his bitterness that the people who view his images are unable to empathize fully with the victims of catastrophic violence abroad. The poem references a number of major historical air strikes and clearly draws imagery from Nick Ut's famous Vietnam War photograph of children fleeing the devastation of a napalm bomb.

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