Revise ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning

Robert Browning (1812 – 1889) was an English poet and playwright. Browning began his career as a playwright but soon realised that his expertise lay in writing long, dramatic poems.

He developed the form of poetry known as the dramatic monologue for a Victorian audience and became one of the most loved Victorian poets. Continue reading Revise ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning

Revise ‘War Photographer’ by Carol Anne Duffy

Download the War Photographer lesson pack here. Context Carol Ann Duffy made history in 2009 when she became the first woman to hold the post of Poet Laureate. War Photographer is a poem about war and its effects on civilians. The poem discusses the lasting effects of war trauma on those photographers who take pictures of famine and battle. It also deals with the broader ethical issue of whether observing and photographing war rather than helping is the right thing to do. It makes us question, along with the photographer, the worth of risking life to document conflict around the … Continue reading Revise ‘War Photographer’ by Carol Anne Duffy

Revise ‘London’ by William Blake

‘London’ by William Blake I wander thro’ each charter’d street Near where the charter’d Thames does flow, And mark in every face I meet Marks of weakness, marks of woe. In every cry of every Man, In every Infant’s cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forg’d manacles I hear: How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry Every black’ning Church appalls, And the hapless Soldier’s sigh Runs in blood down Palace walls; But most thro’ midnight streets I hear How the youthful Harlot’s curse Blasts the new-born Infant’s tear, And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse. Listen to an audio … Continue reading Revise ‘London’ by William Blake

Revise ‘Tissue’ by Imtiaz Dharker

Download the Tissue lesson pack here. Context Imtiaz Dharker Imtiaz Dharker, born in 1954, is a contemporary poet who was born in Pakistan and moved to Glasgow before the age of one. In addition to her poetry, Dharker is also a documentary maker and artist. She identifies herself as a ‘Scottish Muslim Calvinist’, showing her mixed cultural experiences and beliefs. Her multi-cultural background has informed much of her work and she explores themes such as identity, home and searching for meaning. The poem This poem explores both the strength and fragility of human life through the extended metaphor of tissue … Continue reading Revise ‘Tissue’ by Imtiaz Dharker

Revise ‘Poppies’ by Jane Weir

Download the Poppies lesson pack here. Context ‘Poppies’ is a 21st century poem by the Anglo-Italian poet Jane Weir. Weir was born in Italy in 1963 and grew up in Italy and Manchester. She moved to Northern Ireland during ‘the Troubles’ in the 1980s and so has experienced conflict in a close and personal way. ‘Poppies’ was her response to a commission for war poems by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. This, and nine other poems, appeared in The Guardian newspaper in 2009. Her poem was a response to the losses already suffered during the wars in Iraq and … Continue reading Revise ‘Poppies’ by Jane Weir

Revise ‘Remains’ by Simon Armitage

Download the Remains lesson pack here. Context Armitage was born in West Yorkshire in 1963. He graduated from Portsmouth with a degree in geography, and later completed an MA at Manchester University, where he wrote his dissertation about the effects of television violence on young offenders. He had several jobs before becoming a freelance writer, including: shelf stacker, disc jockey and lathe operator. Armitage has published several poetry collections, such as: ‘Zoom’ (1989), ‘Kid’ (1992), ‘Book of Matches’ (1993), ‘The Dead Sea Poems’ (1995), and ‘Moon Country’ (1996). Armitage has also written for TV, stage and radio. ‘Remains’ is from a collection of poems called ‘The Not Dead’, … Continue reading Revise ‘Remains’ by Simon Armitage

Revise ‘Bayonet Charge’ by Ted Hughes

Download the Bayonet Charge lesson pack here. Context Bayonet Charge was written and published in 1957 but concentrates on the battles of First World War. Ted Hughes (1930 – 1998) is known as one of the most important English poets of the 20th century. He became Poet Laureate in 1984. Hughes had spent time in the military as a mechanic before going to university but his father had served in and survived the First World War. The Title The poem is called Bayonet Charge and centres on the feelings of one soldier as he goes ‘over the top’ to charge … Continue reading Revise ‘Bayonet Charge’ by Ted Hughes

Revise ‘The Prelude’ by William Wordsworth

Listen to an audio version of the poem here. Download the Prelude lesson pack here. A Prelude A prelude is an opening of some kind, whether it be a piece of action or a piece of music. It suggests that something larger or more dramatic is about to happen. Meet the Author William Wordsworth was born in the Lake District in 1770. As a young man he went to Cambridge University. In 1791, he left Cambridge and went on a walking tour of Europe. In France, the Revolution was beginning to stir. Wordsworth was inspired by its cause of the … Continue reading Revise ‘The Prelude’ by William Wordsworth

Revise ‘Exposure’ by Wilfred Owen

Listen to an audio version of the poem here. Download the Exposure lesson pack here. Context First World War The First World War (1914-1918) was a watershed moment in military warfare. Modern technology meant that the damage opposing soldiers could inflict on each other was greater than ever before. The relatively new invention of the camera also meant that the horrors of war could be accurately recorded and exposed to the public for the first time. The War Poets The common soldier did not possess a camera. What they did possess, however, were pens and paper. It is from letters … Continue reading Revise ‘Exposure’ by Wilfred Owen

Revise ‘Checking Out Me History’ by John Agard

Download the Checking Out Me History lesson pack here. Context ‘Checking Out Me History’ is a modern poem by the Guyanese poet, John Agard. Agard was born in Guyana (then British Guiana) in 1949 and spent his childhood in the South American country. In 1977, he and his partner Grace Nichols moved to Britain to pursue dreams of being professional writers. John Agard received the Queen’s Medal for Poetry in 2012 and his poetry frequently appears on the GCSE curriculum. He chooses to discuss issues of cultural identity, issues of race and power in his poetry. The Title The title … Continue reading Revise ‘Checking Out Me History’ by John Agard