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A-Level – Poetry

Lots more poetry resources can be found in our Seminars section.

Texts in Time Test your knowledge of poetry through the ages with this poetry game.

  • This resource is a close reading exercise looking at 5 poems written by women between the 17th and the 20th centuries.
  • It can be paired with the next exercise with 5 poems written by men.
  • Students are asked to look closely at each poem and use the language, themes and imagery to put them in chronological order.
  • Short notes are included with every poem to encourage the students to think more deeply about each poem.
  • The resource aims to introduce students to poetry which will be new for them, as well as developing their practical criticism skills.
  • The resource could be used with groups of students at the beginning of their AS course, to start them thinking about poetry in new ways.
  • The resource could also be used by able A2 students individually on a computer.
  • Students with visual impairments can right-click on the resource to view an enlarged version.
  • For more suggestions on using this resource in the classroom, please see our teacher’s handbook.
  • for AS and A2 studentsan interactive, multimedia resourcegreat for whiteboards
    Texts in Time Test your knowledge of poetry through the ages with this poetry game.

  • This resource is a close reading exercise looking at 5 poems written by men between the 17th and the 20th centuries.
  • It can be paired with the previous exercise with 5 poems written by wommen.
  • Students are asked to look closely at each poem and use the language, themes and imagery to put them in chronological order.
  • Short notes are included with every poem to encourage the students to think more deeply about each poem.
  • The resource aims to introduce students to poetry which will be new for them, as well as developing their practical criticism skills.
  • The resource could be used with groups of students at the beginning of their AS course, to start them thinking about poetry in new ways.
  • The resource could also be used by able A2 students individually on a computer.
  • Students with visual impairments can right-click on the resource to view an enlarged version.
  • For more suggestions on using this resource in the classroom, please see our teacher’s handbook.
  • for AS and A2 studentsan interactive, multimedia resourcegreat for whiteboards
    Interactive practical criticism - Wyatt Try out this multimedia exploration of ‘They Flee from Me’, a 16th century poem, and get some tips on how to improve your poetry reading skills.

  • This resource is a close reading exercise on Thomas Wyatt’s poem ‘They Flee from Me’.
  • No prior knowledge of the poem is expected.
  • Students listen to it being read aloud, and then work through it in detail, looking at the language, themes and imagery.
  • Students then read a sample essay on the poem, and think about how they might have written it differently.
  • The resource also includes a dictionary of unfamiliar words.
  • This resource was designed to support gifted and talented students, particularly those who might be interested in applying to study English at University.
  • The resource could be used by individual students on a computer, or could be used on the interactive whiteboard for whole group teaching.
  • Students with visual impairments can right-click on the resource to view an enlarged version.
  • For more suggestions on using this resource in the classroom, please see our teacher’s handbook.
  • for AS and A2 studentsan interactive, multimedia resourcegreat for whiteboards
    Practical Criticism - Daniel Improve your close reading skills with this in-depth multimedia exploration of a poem.

  • This resource looks at a poem by 17th century writer Samuel Daniel.
  • The activity is designed to help students deal with poetry they find difficult, by encouraging them to recognise which words and phrases they find difficult and why.
  • The activity uses the metaphor of zooming into the poem to remind students that close reading really is about looking at the poetry in detail.
  • As the students move their mice over the screen, a magnifying glass will appear. If students click on this, they will zoom into the poem.
  • The resource concentrates on asking questions about the poem, and in provoking the students to ask their own questions.
  • Students with visual impairments can right-click on the resource to view an enlarged version.
  • For more suggestions on using this resource in the classroom, please see our teacher’s handbook.
  • for AS and A2 studentsan interactive, multimedia resource
    How to read a poem See how a Cambridge student reads a poem and plans an essay about it.

  • This resource aims to give A-level students a strategy and example for reading a poem.
  • We asked a Cambridge student to read a poem as though they were going to write an essay on it, and
    to write down their thoughts as they went through it. The student then wrote an essay plan.
  • The poem being studied is by Tennyson, ‘Now sleeps the crimson petal’.
  • The resource ends with tips on how to read a poem, and on essay writing.
  • It could be used either by individual students or in groups, with students writing their own commentary on the same poem.
  • for AS and A2 studentssuitable for printing out
    Lucy Terry The first black woman poet? What Lucy Terry’s ballad can tell us about 18th century poetry.

  • This article looks at a ballad, ‘Bars Fight’ by 18th century African-American writer Lucy Terry.
  • It considers the literary qualities of a ballad, and its historical role in society.
  • It then goes on to consider why a Black slave might want to compose a ballad.
  • The article aims to encourage students to think about the different roles which poetry has played throughout history.
  • Extracts from this article can usefully be used to initiate a classroom discussion.
  • Student can also seek to use the opinions in the essay to justify their own ideas in discussion.
  • Printed copies of the article can be cut up and re-ordered to work on essay planning skills.
  • The article could also be given to students without an opening and a closing paragraph, and students asked to write their own.
  • For more suggestions on using this resource in the classroom, please see our teacher’s handbook.
  • for AS and A2 studentssuitable for printing out
    An Introduction to Practical Criticism Why do we read poetry and prose in such close detail? Find out about the history of practical criticism (also known as close reading) and consider whether it’s still relevant.

  • In this article, Dr Colin Burrow considers practical criticism, and how we judge the quality of poetry. Dr Burrow considers tendencies in criticism over the last hundred years, from New Criticism to today.
  • The article ends with various questions for class discussion.
  • Extracts from this article can usefully be used to initiate a classroom discussion.
  • Student can also seek to use the opinions in the essay to justify their own ideas in discussion.
  • Printed copies of the article can be cut up and re-ordered to work on essay planning skills.
  • The article could also be given to students without an opening and a closing paragraph, and students asked to write their own.
  • For more suggestions on using this resource in the classroom, please see our teacher’s handbook.
  • for AS and A2 studentssuitable for printing out
    The Scrapbook The poetry scrapbook – meet a new poem today.

  • The scrapbook is designed to encourage students to read poetry which is new to them. All the poems in the scrapbook have been nominated by A-level students,
    together with some notes about why they like it.
  • for AS and A2 studentssuitable for printing out
    William Blake's London William Blake’s London – an interactive resource by Mrs McAnulty

  • An interactive resource encouraging students to read Blake’s poem ‘London’ in depth.
  • Students read notes on the first stanzas modelled by Mrs McAnulty, and then annotate the final stanzas themselves.
  • for AS and A2 studentsgreat for whiteboards