Módulo de lectura

El presente módulo (ficha) contiene muchos datos, características y algunos aspectos que sirven para el análisis y comentario de cualquier texto, en un principio, por lo tanto, también para poesia. Si el modelo adjunto no te sirve o crees que es mejorable no dudes en modificarlo.

Reading Module

Autor, título de la obra, subtítulo, editorial, año de publicación, lugar de publicación.
(ficha bibliográfica mínima)

Writing about poetry for GCSE English and English literature

(from: http://www.universalteacher.org.uk/anthology/aqaanthology.htm#section2 )

This part of the guidance will help you write about poetry generally.

You may find these basic questions helpful:

Poems do not write themselves: be aware of the poet.

If the poem is about a person, decide if this person is meant to be:

Avoid writing pronouns like “he” or “her” as these are confusing - the reader may not know whom you mean. Instead write “the man in the poem” or “the poet's friend” or whoever.

You should also understand about grammatical person. This refers to pronouns:

A text may be written in the first person if the author writes “I” and “me”. In this case, decide if the “I” is really the poet or some other person. If the words “I” or “me” are within speech marks, the whole poem may not be in the first person, just the speech which is quoted.

A text may be written in the second person. This may seem odd, but many poets do this when writing as if speaking to someone. Love poems and religious poems (and prayers) often speak to the beloved (the one who gets the love) or to God in the words “you” or “thou”. 

A text may be written in the third person if the author refers to someone by a name or description or a third-person pronoun such as “she” or “them”. This is quite common. Sometimes, though it may seem odd, a writer will write about himself or herself in the third person - usually this has a distancing effect.

When you write about your chosen poems you are quite likely to find that the poet's use of first, second or third person is important in creating a particular effect. Thinking about this may also help you not to confuse the poet with the people he or she writes about.

When you name the poet, you may use the full name, but this may be a lot to write. It is quite acceptable (and saves you time) to use the surname only (in some cultures this is the first name). Do not use a given name (like Simon or Grace) on its own, unless you are a personal friend of the poet.

You may have pretty good ideas of your own about these things, and have gone way beyond these questions. You will find some more advanced and sophisticated guidance below, on how to explore and reflect on poetry. Here are some ideas suggested by experienced readers.

Write about:

For each poem, make sure that you comment on the particular features that the readers ask for (such as the poet's attitude to love, or to time and change). Start by stating what the poem is about both obviously or on the surface and at a deeper level:

“This poem (Stealing) seems on the surface to be about a man who has stolen a snowman. Carol Ann Duffy explores the difference between law-abiding ordinary people like herself (and her readers) and the anti-social criminal depicted in the poem...”

Make sure you refer to interesting or relevant points of detail - very general answers are unlikely to attract the reader´s interest. It is not enough to point things out and “translate” them - make sure you explain how they work.

Where possible, make comparisons within and between poems. For example, show how the end contrasts with what goes before it, or show how a similar theme receives different treatment in two poems. Do not waste time on pointing out the very obvious (such as that poems are different because one is spoken by a woman who came to England from Pakistan while the other is a funny version of a news broadcast in a Glaswegian accent .

On the other hand, you could usefully compare   two poems by stating that they each explore different  ideas . And you could contrast them by showing how one poet looks at ways in which people want to be more like the English while the other challenges the idea that Englishness is right or normal.

Always end with a brief statement about whether you like each poem and why. Often (but not always) the reader will invite you to do this anyway. A clear personal response earns respect for you.

Quote briefly - use a single word or phrase - to support your comments. You may refer to a whole stanza or longer section but should not copy this out: there are no marks for copying the text in the Anthology . Show you are quoting by using inverted commas (speech marks or quotation marks - you may call them “quotes”). If you quote a whole line or more (if you really must) you should start on a new line, and indent. Whenever you quote, always explain in your own words what the quotation means (unless it is really self-evident) and comment on its effect. Merely repeating the poet's words is no use, as you have not shown the examiner that you have understood.

A good pattern or model to use (in this case based on Tatamkhulu Afrika's Nothing's Changed) might be as follows:

Putting the poems together

As you study the poems, you will see how they have certain things in common - perhaps the same subject, or theme, or maybe something less obvious like their interesting use of language and some features of form or structure . It is important to see as many such connections as possible, so that you can choose suitable poems on which to write in an exam. The readers may ask you to write about poems with a quite specific link (such as poems about parents and children) or something much more general (such as poems which show strong feelings). This guide lists some connections, but the number is potentially vast. You cannot guess in advance all the things the reader might ask about. Prepare a range of poems, then pick the question that lets you write on those you know best.

Aspects to be covered by any analysis (most important aspects):

Write a short description (one sentence) of what each poem is about.

What are the main ideas in the poems?

Is each poem straightforward or ambiguous in meaning? What do you think it means?

What is the viewpoint?

Tone and mood
Comment on each poem’s tone and mood. Does either poem make any use of humour or irony?

Interesting details
Comment on any details which you find interesting in the poems

Structure and form
Describe the structure and form of the poems – look at such things as rhyme, metre/rhythm, stanza form

Key images
Look for the key images in each poem. In each case say
∑ what the image is
∑ what it means
∑ how it works in the poem

Other technical features
Are there any other technical features, such as sound FX, contrast, colloquialism or wordplay?

Personal response
Give your own response to the poems, with reasons based on the poem you are analysing.

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© Copyright 1995-2005  by Dr. Vicente Forés
Valencia, 06/10/2005