AQA · For Pupils · poetry · Revision

Y11 Poetry revision posters

Hi year 11

For the last revision session, I asked you to make links between these poems:Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 16.42.11

With some of them, as you guessed, I tried purposely to challenge you to make links between poems that you wouldn’t normally connect. Here are the posters you produced:



What to do with these?

  1. Write your own question using this stem:

How do the poets present ……………. in (poem 1) and (poem 2)?

The missing phrase might be, for example:

  • the power of …
  • conflict between ….
  • ideas about … (memory, lack of power)
  • powerful feelings of ….
  • ideas about isolation; society;

2. Plan an answer. Choose three quotations from each poem that best fit what you want to say about the poem. Quotations should be language rich – you should be able to say two to three things about each quotation. Identify techniques; comment on poet’s message/poem’s theme; wider implication of the poem – how does it link to real world ideas? AO3?

3. Form – what makes the poem what it is: iambics, caesura, enjambment; sonnet, epic poem (Prelude), dramatic monologue, free verse, rhythm, rhyme scheme

4. Structure – movement between stanzas; how the poem fits together (and of course aspects of form might be relevant here such as rhyme scheme); shifts in focus; shifts in narrative voice; shifts in perspective; contrasts or connections between and even within lines; first line/last line comparisons; voltas (good old voltas); time shifts (flashbacks, flashforwards); ‘at this point in the poem…’

Remember, empty comments on form and structure are irrelevant. I’ve seen this recently:

‘The poet uses enjambment which makes the poem flow; it adds a breathless quality to the poem and fits with the theme of a lack of control’. 

Well, this could pretty much relate to any poem that has enjambment. Others might differ, but you know how I like to link structure to language (See here). ONE way to structure your paragraph:

  1. What point are you making about the IDEAS/MESSAGE/THEME or POET’S INTENTIONS in the poem?
  2. What is the best quotation you can use to show this (and is it a language rich one?)
  3. Explore two or three words from the quotation; is there a technique? Identify this and write about its effect.
  4. Is there anything you can say about the use of form/structure in this quotation? Does it use a caesura? Does it occupy a key place in the poem?
  5. Conclude your critical paragraph by linking the whole point you’re making back to the writer’s message/intentions. Is there some AO3 you can include?

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