Prescribed Poetry: Things To Remember

Prescribed Poetry: Things To Remember

Finally, keep these basic things in mind when answering your prescribed poetry question:

Six poems 

The markers are told to look for evidence that you have studied six poems in your answer. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Use examples from six poems
  2. If you do not want to focus on six poems you can list six poems in your introduction.

What’s the poem about?

Introduce each poem when you focus on it for the first time, such as what the poet is focusing on here.

Use of I

Give your personal opinion regardless of the question.

Don’t focus on one poem per paragraph 

Use examples from two or three poems to provide evidence of each paragraph topic.

Focus on themes

It is easier to write paragraphs on specific features of the poet’s poetry rather than on a specific poem. It becomes difficult to link paragraphs about different poems as some features you talk about in one poem may not be present in another.

Regardless of the written medium (you may have to give a speech/write a letter to the poet etc) the format of each paragraph will never change from:

  1. Introducing the paragraph point
  2. Stating how this proves the factuality of your introductory statement
  3. Giving examples from poems to provide evidence that your paragraph point proves the factuality of your introductory statement


A good way of linking paragraphs instead of using linking phrases such as  ‘Another reason I like his poetry/ As well as imagery, another appealing feature of his poetry is..’ is to use the poem you focused on last in the previous paragraph as the first example in your new paragraph, such as saying: ‘The Hen Woman shows another element of Kinsella’s unconventional style,….’

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About the Author

John Ryan

John has a Masters in Modern English Literature and is the founder of RyJoLC, an educational consultancy based in Dublin that provides English language and curriculum resources to educational institutions worldwide.
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