S-Cool Revision Summary

S-Cool Revision Summary

Print out these notes and use them to remind you of what you have revised in this topic. In particular, memorising some of these questions should help you trigger ideas when in your exam.

Reading Individual Poems
It is important that you are familiar with the contents of the anthology.
Study a poem closely. Think about the following issues Poetic Voice Diction, Use of imagery, Structure and Form of Poem, Rhyme, Rhythm, Themes and Moods in the Poem.
Write key information on the poem. Consult your teacher to find out how much annotation is allowed.
Making Links Between the Poems.
Can you see similarities between certain poets?
Do the different poets have particular styles or ideas that distinguish them from each other?
Are there certain themes that keep cropping up?
Which poems interest you the most and why?
Are there any you find difficult to understand?
Write down a list of categories that crop up in your comparisons.
Ask fellow students and teachers to see which themes and issues they think are important.
Types of Anthology
Anthologies by one poet.
Anthologies of a particular period.
Anthologies based on a certain theme.
These all share common approaches but have specific issues which you need to consider.
Anthologies by a Single Poet
Do you notice a common theme running throughout the poet's work?
Does there seem to be different and perhaps conflicting ideas?
Does it include poetry from a particular episode in the poet's life?
Does it include poetry from across a number of years?
If the poetry spans the poet's life, do you notice any similarities or differences between poems of different stages in his life?
How have the poems been arranged in the book?
Does this bear any relation to your own groupings of the poem?
Can you link up poems according to their themes, form and use of language?
Anthologies of a Particular Period
Study the poetry of more than one poet so that you establish an understanding of the range of styles
Choose at least two poets who have similarities and two who have differences so that you have both elements covered.
Consider enough poems by each author to be able to avoid making sweeping statements about a poet's work based on a single poem.
Are there differences in style and approach for poems about the same theme as well as differences in ideas?
Do you notice any common links between the collection of poets?
Are there any features distinctive of the period such as a form-ballad or figurative technique-conceit?
Have you an understanding of the social and historical context of the poetry?
Remember that your research is meant to enhance your appreciation of the literature.
Anthologies Based on a Certain Theme
Some collections of poetry are based around a particular theme.
Break down the theme into categories.
How do the poets present a particular theme?
How do they show their differences in opinion?
What techniques do they use?
How does their choice of approach reflect their ideas?
Background reading
It is helpful to use background texts and literary critics to stimulate your own ideas.
Always question why they have reached certain opinions.
Learning the odd short quotation from a critic will be rewarded if you are then able to comment on the quotations in your own words
Find out when the critisicm was published, does this reflect different attitudes?
Which poems should I prepare?
If you notice poems that can be compared for a range of aspects then it makes sense to focus on them.
Try to consider a variety of poems.
Don't restrict yourself to only one poet, one theme or one group of poems.
In your exam it is most likely that you will be asked to focus on two or three poems in detail, so it is important that you prepare your notes carefully.
Practice Questions
The best way to prepare for the exam is to try practice questions.
Simply writing comparative essays of different poems is useful.
In the exam you are likely to have to focus on just a certain aspect.
Writing essay plans is a good idea. It takes less time and helps you focus your reading.
Use the S-cool! past exam questions to help you.
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?