It is key, when focusing on how to achieve top marks, that you are able to look at poetry and express to the examiner what this means to you. The exam may specify a focus such as loss or identity but again they are asking what you think about the poems. Posted below are some of the questions that we've asked ourselves this week to try and develop not just surface level analysis but peeling back the layers: it is not just ogres or onions that have layers, it is all literature.
These questions, which I will post again below for your own revision purposes, are the things you must internally consider before you begin to write about the poems.
Your question will always focus on the word Present which just means what techniques has the writer used (making sure you cover language, form and purpose) and to gain higher than a D grade you must avoid trainspotting (the identifying of devices with no personal response or consideration of why).
When tackling a question you should consider what is key about the poem - all poems weave language through simple and complex uses of words and devices and it is your job to pick out what you think is important. Once you've done this - you then focus on these questions:
1) Why has the language / structure or form been used?
2) Is it used for the same purpose / effect throughout the poem and if not how is it used in other places?
3) What evidence do you have for the first two answers? This could be a quotation or an overall impression of tone you get throughout the poem.
4) Could the language / structure or form be seen in a different way through someone else's eyes? Can you come up with an alternative interpretation?
5) Which of these interpretations has a stronger impact on the audience? (what is the effect?)
6) Is my answer relevant to the question (what am I being asked, what do I need to show in my answer)?
The more confident you are in covering these questions in your head - the stronger your answers will become.
Below are the pictures from this week's lessons. Reflect on these for next week. Are these answers fully developed?