The Power and Conflict anthology is by far the most popular of the two that can be chosen by schools. It’s made up of 15 poems drawing on various experiences of wars/conflicts and the power of humans and nature on our world.  The poems are a mix of modern and historical, from the UK.  The poems need to be known well enough to be able to discuss and analyse.  One of them will be presented to the student in written form and then they will be asked to discuss this, matching the theme with another poem from the anthology.

So what’s

Firstly, DON’T PANIC!!

The first thing I suggest is to head to Youtube and find a reading of the poem.  Finding a good reading with useful visuals is even better.  These are the ones I use: 

These readings/animations should help the written version of the poem make more sense.  If the animation doesn’t have the words, it’s a good idea to have it open next to the clip.

After you have watched the poem, you will see a few videos with analysis of that particular poem.  Mr Bruff has a video for all, if not most of them.  He also talks to the authors in some of them too for a little bit more context and insight into their inspiration for the poem.  All handy extra marks stuff.

* Another place to head to is BBC Bitesize.  They have some of the poems in their site and provide analysis and quizzes.  I’ve asterisked these in the list.

Getting a revision guide is also something I would recommend.  The CGP guide has a handy grid in the front, matching the poems to themes, so you can easily see which ones to reference in the exam question.  They also have annotations and notes on each of the poems if your class annotations are not enough/too much.

Once you have a pretty good grasp of the poems, the reasons they were written and some of the poetic devices that are used in them, the next level is to be able to get this across in your essay writing.

One way of doing this is to work with a PETERC or PETAL paragraph structure. These both prompt you to highlight a technique used in the poem and also write something about the context as well as quoting the poem and explaining your ideas.  All of these things are extra point analysis, so make sure you get them in.

Here’s a YouTube video to summarise the common poetry techniques;

When you write, make sure that each paragraph references both poems and how they present your point.  So you will definitely be using language like ‘similarly’, ‘in the same way’ to present agreed points or ‘on the other hand’, ‘conversely’ if the poems present the point differently.

Here is a visual and discussed comparison of two poems:

Your three to five points/paragraphs will be about form and structure, language and poetic techniques, overarching themes and feelings/tone. You should write an introduction setting out your clear response to the question and a conclusion tying up your points in a summary.

Ok, you are ready.  Try not to overthink the poems.  You can’t learn all your annotations and just regurgitate them.  So get a good idea about what the poems are about, the themes that they cover and some structure and form points about each one. 

Then relax and let all the good ideas come knowing that you have done your best!


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