S-Cool Revision Summary

S-Cool Revision Summary

Cultural and Social Context
Does the diction give you clues as to when the poem was written?
Does the language seem traditional, modern, formal, colloquial?
Has the poet used slang? Why? What would be lost if this slang was replaced with formal language?
What does the use of language tell you about when the poem was written? Does the poet uses phrases which are not used in modern times?
Are there words that are specific to a certain culture, age group or gender? Why have these words been used? Is the poem focusing specifically on a particular social group?
Dialect
Is the entire poem written in dialect?
What effect does the dialect create and what would be lost if the poem didn't use dialect?
Are only certain words written in dialect? If so, why? Are memories attached with the words?
Does the slang or dialect date the poem?
Is the dialect vital in conveying the cultural context of the poem?
Has the poet only used dialect in speech and only for certain characters?
Use of language-tense
Which tenses does the poet use?
If the poem is written entirely in the past tense then is the poet simply reflecting on what has happened? Or does the poet finish in the present tense, thus suggesting that what has happened in the past relates to the present?
If so, is the poet creating an environment for the reader/listener to imagine? How successful is this?
Has the poet use the conditional tense? Is the poet exploring possibilities, or imagining? Is there a sense of persuasion in the poem?
General Questions
What images has the poet used?
Why has the poet used these images?
What effect do the images have on the reader?
Mood of the Imagery
How do the images link with the mood, tone and ideas of the poem?
What mood do the images create? Does this contrast with the rest of the poem?
Does the poet focus on movement, feeling, sound, taste or appearance in the images?
Which senses is the image trying to appeal to?
Number of Images and Extended Metaphors
Has the poet focused on only one image or used a range of images? What effect does this create?
Has the poet taken one image taken one image and developed it through the poem?
Cultural importance of the image
What does the poets choice of image tell you about his/her cultural/ historical background?
Do the images have a religious background?
Symbolism
Are the images meant to symbolise or represent something else?
Is there a theme linking the images used in the poem?
Does this add to your understanding of the poem?
Is the poet trying to appeal to the taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing of the reader? Perhaps the poet focuses on just one of the senses? What sensation does this create?
Form
Ballad: The ballad is a traditional form of poetry, which now takes many forms. The ballad develops a dramatic story.
Elegy: The elegy is a poem written to mourn the death of a person.
Lyric: A lyric or lyrical poem is a short poem which explores or expresses a state of feeling rather than narrate an event.
Narrative: Narrative poetry is a poem where the poet describes an event or series of events.
Ode: The ode is like the lyrical poem but more detailed and more complex. It explores an idea, political, philosophical, intellectual or personal in detail.
Rap: A modern style of poetry, often associated with heavy use of rhyme, word play and a strong rhythm.
Shape Poem: A poem written in the shape of a particular object.
Sonnet: There are two forms of sonnet; Petrarchan and Shakespearian.
Use of stanzas
If a poem consists of a series of quatrains but finishes with a couplet you should question why? What effect does the short couplet have set against the quatrains?
If the number of lines in each stanza varies what does that tell you about the content of each stanzas? Are short stanzas less important or more focused?
Why has the poet divided the poem into different stanzas? What is contained in each stanza?
What occurs between stanzas? Does the poet's ideas seem to jump?
Are the stanzas arranged chronologically?
Is an image developed in each stanza?
Line Length and Pace
Are all the lines of equal length?
If not, then which lines stand out, either as being long or short?
Does the poet draw attention to certain words because of the layout of the lines?
What effect does the line length have on the way you read the poem? If the poem is entirely made of short lines then do you read the poem quickly?
Has the poet put a single word or phrase on a separate line? Why? What does this suggest to the reader?
Rhyme-Key Questions
Does the poet use rhyme? Why? Why not?
What effect does this use/absence of rhyme have?
Types of Rhyme

Alliteration is the repetition of first letters/ sounds in words in order to create an effect, for example: "slow soft touch of spring".

  • Is alliteration used in place of or in addition to rhyme?

  • What effect does this have to the way the poem sounds?

  • Which words are used in alliteration?

Assonance is the repetition of a particular vowel sounds in words close to each other.

Consonance is the repetition of a particular consonant sound in words close to each other.

For poems containing alliteration, assonance or consonance, consider the following:

  • Whether the sounds are hard or soft, long or short.

  • How does this link with the meaning of the words or mood of the poem?

  • Does the poet emphasise particular sounds to create a certain effect?

Half Rhyme is when part of two or more words rhyme. For example meter and weather or cash and Kosh.

Full Rhyme is when all of the word rhymes. For example meter and heater or cash and flash.

Rhyme Scheme

Is rhyme used simply to attract the attention of the listener or does the poet want to draw attention to specific words?

Which words rhyme?
Has the poet chosen key words to rhyme thus drawing attention to the words? Or does he/she put rhyme in the middle of a sentence so that its purpose is to make the poem flow?
Are there lines which rhyme alongside those which don't? Why? Is there an irregular rhyme scheme?
How does the rhyme scheme influence the way the poem is read?

Make sure that you do this whenever writing about rhyme: NEVER just say what the rhyme scheme is - ALWAYS explain how it works and its effect.

Blank Verse

The Blank Verse form of poetry is most famously associated with the writing of Shakespeare. It uses an iambic pentameter but does not use rhyme.

Syllabic Verse

Lines in syllabic verse follow a strict syllable pattern. When you read a poem, count the number of syllables in each line. Do you notice a pattern? What effect does this create?

Free Verse

Free Verse is a modern form of poetry where there are no rules regarding the structure or syllable count of the poems.

Rhyming Couplets

A couplet is a pair of lines. A rhyming couplet is a pair of lines which rhyme.
Sometimes poets use a couplet to conclude a poem or to stand out from the rest of the poem.
Often rhyming couplets will be lines of equal length to add to the sense of rhythm.

Irregularities in line length

Has the poet used a longer or shorter line and break in the rhythm in order to draw attention to that line?

Use of repetition
Why is that phrase being repeated?
How does it relate to the overall theme of the poem?
Is the phrase changed in anyway?
Is the phrase a question or memory?
Does the repetition contribute to the rhythm?
Line Length and Pace
Are all the lines of equal length?
If not, then which lines stand out, either as being long or short?
Does the poet draw attention to certain words because of the layout of the lines?
What effect does the line length have on the way you read the poem? If the poem is entirely made of short lines then do you read the poem quickly?
Has the poet put a single word or phrase on a separate line? Why? What does this suggest to the reader?
General Questions
How is rhythm used to create a sense of energy, loss, pain, calm?
How does the rhythm of the poem reflect the mood or ideas of the poem?
Are specific sounds used, onomatopoeia?
Useful Questions
Does a theme develop during the poem?
Does the poet present alternative viewpoints?
Does the poet's attitude appear to change during the poem?
Has a specific event or series of experiences influenced the attitudes of the poet or the character in the poem?
Is there a distinction between the viewpoint expressed by one character and that of the poet?
Is more than one theme expressed in the poem?
Is the poem reflective, aggressive, persuasive or descriptive?
What words and techniques are used to create the mood?
Does the mood of the poem appear to change?
How is the reader left feeling at the end of the poem?
Does the poem appear to answer its own question or does it leave the reader uncertain?