Saturday, 23 February 2013

11aEn1 - 'Valentine' homework

After studying the poem, answer one of the following questions, leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.

  • What do you think the relationship is like between the speaker and their 'Valentine' and why do you think this?
  • Why does the speaker deliberately mention the traditional Valentines gift that the listener will not be receiving?
  • Do you think the poem ends on a positive or negative note, and why do you think this?
  • Where can we see circular imagery in the poem and why does the writer do this?

Remember, if you are wanting to do English Literature at A-Level, engaging in a debate with other students is essential. So go on, argue away!

Miss D

Relationship Poetry

Hello Year 11, and welcome to our poetry blog. This is here to help you share ideas, catch up on work you've missed and most importantly, I will be setting homework tasks to post your thoughts!

Let's start off with a gentle reminder of what relationships are:


  1. The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.
  2. The state of being connected by blood or marriage.

In the sense we are looking for, a relationship is the personal link between two or more people. Think about the relationships in your lives: they may be close personal ones, such as those you have with your family or best friend; they may be acquaintances, like your peers who you see every day but might not share that much with; you even have a relationship built on trust and respect (we hope!) with your 
teachers. There is a relationship with everyone you interact with, they simply are on different scales.

So, let's think about the most obvious form of relationship: LURVE.

Love poetry is almost as old as time itself, and can be found in abundance around this time of year. 
There are some rather common forms of poetry which are associated with the 'L' word, the most obvious being the sonnet. The rules for writing a sonnet are:

  • It must consist of 14 lines. 
  • It must be written in iambic pentameter (duh-DUH-duh-DUH-duh-DUH-duh-DUH-duh-DUH).
  • It must be written in one of various standard rhyme schemes. (ABAB CDCD EFEF GG if you want to write like Shakespeare)

Then we have the sonnet's less common cousin, the sestina (here's an example). This is altogether more complicated:
    • A sestina is a form of poetry that uses a method of repeating words at the end of each line. 
    • It has 6 stanzas of 6 lines each, with a half-stanza (or tercet) of three lines to conclude the poem. 
    And then of course, there's free verse: No set rhythm, no set rhyme, no rules. There's something fantastic about the uncontrolled structure of free verse used in love poetry. We can't control our emotions (good or bad) so why use neat, ordered poems to convey them?

    So there you have it: a whistle-stop tour of the noble love poem!

    If you have any questions (T. More students only), post them in the comments box below, and leave your name, please!

    Miss D