James K Baxter-The Bay-Notes

James K Baxter – ‘The Bay’

James Baxter lived most of his fairly short life (1926-1972) in New Zealand, and much of his poetry concerns the countryside and people of these islands, though never sentimentally or uncritically – he once said of his own writing that what “happens is either meaningless to me, or else it is mythology”, and it may be that something of this uncertainty can be seen in ‘The Bay’.

At first sight, the poem appears to be simply a description of a childhood memory, of the bay where “we bathed at times” and where “we raced boats”; the memory seems to be nostalgic and even wistful. Once looked at more carefully, however, the memory is perhaps not quite so straightforward; the road to the bay leads the poet to think of “how many roads we take that lead to Nowhere”, surely a sense of how often in life we make wrong decisions (an echo possibly of Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’?). And the final line of the opening stanza may also suggest that the memory he has is not in fact of an Eden, “that veritable garden where everything comes easy”.

The second stanza again opens with what seem to be simple and happy memories, but it is worth noting some of the words towards its end – “autumnal”, “cold”, “amber”, “the taniwha” – all hinting surely at a lack of warmth and happiness. The image of the threatening taniwha is quite a powerful and ominous conclusion to the stanza.

The third stanza opens with poisonous spiders, and despite the recurringly strong images of the cliffs and the surf the poem ends with a curiously hypnotic sense that the poet is transfixed by his memories, but also with an awareness that they are false – “the bay that never was”. Is he perhaps saying that we do our best as humans to make our lives happier than they really are, that we hide behind happy memories?

Some points for classroom discussion

Look at the way the poet treats the theme of memory and our attitude to memories. There is a lengthy article about James Baxter on this website:


Suggested comparison

Norman MacCaig: ‘Summer Farm ‘


Sujata Bhatt-A Different History-Notes

Sujata Bhatt – ‘A Different History’

In ‘Search For My Tongue’, another poem by Sujata Bhatt, she talks of the strangeness and difficulty of having two languages, and the fear of losing her “mother tongue”, the language she was brought up to speak by her mother. Bhatt was born in India in 1956, moved to the USA in 1968, and now lives in Germany, so she is well aware of how much a change of culture and language can affect people.

‘A Different History’ is in two linked parts: lines 1-18, then lines 19-29. The first suggests that although life in India is – or should be – free, there is constant pressure to conform to other ways of life; the poet uses the way we should or should not treat books as an example or symbol of this. The gods roam freely, but because trees are sacred it is a sin to ill-treat a book in any way, in order not to disturb or offend Sarasvati or the tree from which the paper comes.

The second part of the poem returns to the idea of a foreign language; all languages, it says, have once been the language of an invader or an oppressor, but despite this there always comes a time when younger and newer generations not only speak the oppressor’s language but they actually come to love it.

Some points for classroom discussion:

Are the two parts of the poem really separate, or have they a common theme that links them together? How serious is Bhatt in this poem? Is there any humour in it?

Suggested comparison:

Sujata Bhatt’s poem ‘Search for My Tongue’ can be found on


There is some brief biographical material on these websites:

http://carcanet.co.uk http://www.sawnet.org

The Planners (comparison with The City Planners)

The Planners Boey Kim Cheng  by Andrew Annear and Edward Scrimgeour

Biographical details

  • Boey Kim Cheng was born in Singapore in 1965. He received his Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts degrees in English Literature from the National University of Singapore.
  • Worked for some time in America as a probation officer
  • Disillusioned with the state of literary and cultural politics in Singapore, Boey left for Sydney with his wife in 1996.
  • in Australia, Boey completed his Ph.D. studies with the University of Macquarie. Boey is currently an Australian citizen and teaches creative writing at the University of Newcastle. Literary History

In 1987, Boey won first prize at the National University of Singapore Poetry Competition while studying as an undergraduate.

Aged 24, he published his first collection of poetry(Somewhere- bound). it went on to win the National Book Development Councils (NBDCS) Book Award for Poetry in 1992.

His second volume of poems Another Place received the commendation award at the NBDCS Book Awards.

In 1995, Days Of No Name, which was inspired by the people whom he met in the United States, was awarded a merit at the Singapore Literature Prize.

In recognition of his artistic talent and contributions, Boey received the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award in 1996.

Boey produced his fourth volume of poetry in 2006. After the Fire deals primarily with the passing of his father in 2000.

Boey’s works have also appeared in many poetry anthologies

The Planners         Boey Kim Cheng


  • The disillusionment of the artist and the intellectual for the supposedly soulless path of technological progress and industrialization.
  • the discomfort of the artist with mundane, everyday life and with science-driven, apparently heartless modernist progress
  • Different interpretations of progress. Some treasure scientific progress and others culture growth
  • The plans become the facade of culture, their form of escapism
  • History cycles, what is the planners dream today, will be removed by the next generation coming along.

Analysis-Stanza One

  • Characterises planning as solving a mathematical problem. “permutations” can be seen to offer many options or seen as confined compared to infinite arrangements in nature. “gridded” describes the layout as well of implying that creativity is confined, boxed in.
  • Planning is seen as a way of shutting out nature attempting to remove the uncertainty it brings. “the sea draws back and the skies surrender.” can be viewed with a touch of irony implying that nature is afraid of human expansion, giving it an attribute nature can not/does not possess.
  • Describes what the planners do. Giving the image of everything in prefect order “meet at desired points”
  • The author excludes himself, from the planners through repeating “they” (twice) although every person plays their role in the collective city. This also views them objectively making them appear harsh, thinking and organised, but without love or compassion.
  • Alliteration: “skies surrender

 Analysis-Stanza Two

  • Imagery of dentistry, an exact science. “dental dexterity”, “gaps are plugged with gleaming gold”, “wears perfect rows of shining teeth”
  • The dentist imagery moves onto “anaesthesia” and the numbing of pain associated with dentistry
  • “drilling” can provide a link between the metaphor and the actual actions of the planners.
  • Moves away from describing the planners goals, and more towards how they are viewed.
  • Alliteration: “dental dexterity” “gleaming gold”
  • “They have it all so it will not hurt, so history is new again. “ the implication is that history hurts people and that the scars of the past remain, and humans are constantly trying to heal the pains of the past.

 Analysis-Stanza Three

  • “blueprint” linking to construction plans.
  • Blood imagery: “bleed” “single drop” “stain” negative diction, creates a stark ending to the poem.
  • “would not bleed poetry” gives the idea that art is not part of the modern expansionist city building, ironic as part of a poem
  • Gives the idea that The reality lapses behind the dreams of the planners. Seldom coming into fruition the exact pristine way they envisage.

 Other points

  • Negatives used throughout poem: “not a single…” “the piling will not stop” “it will not hurt” “they build and will not stop”. Gives the idea that the poet wants the opposite to take place
  • The poet appears Sceptical about the benefits of the planners progress, and fears for the wider implications of their actions. Seeing them as damaging the past and reducing the quality of the future.

Comparison: ‘city planners’ by Magaret Atwood

  • Both opening stanzas revolve a round precision and accuracy “pedantic rows… Rational… Straight” and “alignment… Desired points”
  • Both depict the city and the planning of it as unfeeling. “neatly sidestep hysteria…same slant of avoidance… two fixed stare of the wide windows…” and “drilling through the fossils of last century”
  • What Atwood describes as “the sanities” can be seen as the ways to remove the pain.
  • Atwood envisions the collapse of the city where as Cheng discusses the destruction of the remains of past cities.
  • Both deal with the suppression of nature, one depicts the city controlling natures existence and the others views the boundaries of nature pulling back. “the planted sanitary trees… Discouraged grass” and “the seas draw back… Skies surrender”

The City Planners by Margaret Atwood (ESL) -Template

The City Planners by Margaret Atwood

From the title ‘The City Planners’ we can predict that the poem will be about ____________________________________________________.

The first line ‘cruising these residential Sunday/streets in dry August sunlight’ gives us the impression that _________________________________________________________.

‘Cruising’ suggests ____________________________________ , with the alliterative ‘Sunday streets’ implying ________________________, ‘dry August sunlight’ lulling the reader into _________________. The next line ‘what offends us is the sanities’ comes as a jolt and the rest of the poem is Attwood’s criticism of _____________________________. ‘Pedantic rows’ and ‘sanitary trees’ expresses the poet’s thoughts about suburbia which she describes as __________________________

She then provides a simile by comparing the ‘levelness of surface’ or rather the height of the trees as a ‘rebuke’ to the ‘dent in our car door’. This suggests that ____________________________. She goes on to reinforce the imagery of suburbia by saying that there is ‘no shouting here, or shatter of glass’ which provides us with a positive image of life in a residential area. This line suggests that ____________. However it is juxtaposed in the next line when she describes the abruptness of the ___________________________________________.

Stanza two continues the predicament that challenges suburbia in a way by pointing out flaws. There is a distinct similarity between stanza one and two in that there is list of complaints relating to suburbia. Her description of the monotony of roof tiling –‘all display the same slant of avoidance to the hot sky’-because we are made to think that  _________________. Some images that stand out for Atwood in suburbia are the offensive smell of oil which smells faintly like vomit and a splash of paint is compared to a bruise. She says that the paint is as ‘surprising’ as a bruise because ______________________________. The same tone is repeated when she describes ‘a plastic hose poised in a vicious coil’. This gives us the impression that ____________________ . The hose is followed by a comma to reinforce the list of things she finds offensive about suburbia, mentioning the ‘too-fixed stare of the wide windows.

 In the next few stanzas the tone shifts from a list of suburban ills to what might happen in the future. Attwood’s apocalyptic vision is that __________________________________________. She later says that even the ‘clay seas’ will become contested territories and the City Planners of the future will still map out another city.


The Voice by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy wrote the poem “The Voice” to remember his departed wife.  The poem shows that he was full of remorse for the way that their relationship had developed in the later years.  He is also haunted by his guilt in the way he treated her.  He feels that she is continually calling to him; he is not sure whether his is imagining her voice when he says, “Can it be you that I hear?” or maybe “Or is it only the breeze…?”.  This feeling of regret and confusion is conveyed through a carefully constructed poem of regular rhyme, mournful sounds and eerie images.  This leaves the reader with a vivid impression of the depth of his feelings of regret towards his wife.

The poem consists of four stanzas which are constructed around a regular rhyme pattern of abab.  The rhyme pattern conveys a sense of relentlessness as if the memories are tied to Hardy and he cannot shake them free.  The rhythm of the poem is slow and methodical and is developed through the long lines of first three stanzas.  This slow rhythm reinforces the sad tone adopted by the poet.  The last stanza continues the rhyme pattern but breaks the pattern with short lines that have a stuttering rhythm.  The change in the stanza indicates the way that the poet is coping without his wife; he is staggering on, consumed in his grief and regret.

The first stanza begins with the simple but powerful phrase, “Woman much missed”.  The phrase is so concise, but conveys feelings of regret and mourning so powerfully.  Further the alliteration of the “m” sound is a sad downbeat sound which supports the meaning of the words. Hardy feels that now she calls to him.  The repetition of “call to me” suggests that it is haunting him and now he is becoming obsessive about her.  The voice he hears is saying that she has “changed” but is “at first”, in the early of their love when she was “all to me”.  Clearly he was deeply in love with her in the early stages of their marriage.  It was a time when “our day was fair”, the use of “our” stresses their togetherness.  Hardy seems now to be regretting how the later years of the relationship developed and now realizes how much he really felt for her.

The second stanza begins with a hopeful question, “Can it you be that I hear”.  Perhaps he hopes that she is trying to communicate with him or perhaps the question is more an expression of his confusion mixed with hope.  He remembers when they used to meet in town when he says “Let me view you then”.  He is reminded of when she would “wait” for him, suggesting that they were both eager to see each other.  The use of “yes” shows his delight at this memory. He says he knew her “then” which suggests that he knew her in a different way than in more recent times. His memory is detailed and vivid because he specifies the exact colour of her “air-blue gown”.  The stanza is made a tight unit by the internal rhyme of “hear/near” and “view/drew”.  Even the end rhyme is cleverly constructed with multiple word rhyming structures; “view you, then / knew you then”

The poet is unsure whether he has actually been hearing her voice because the third stanza has a tone of uncertainty.  This is reinforced by the stanza being one long question.  Maybe it is just the “breeze” that he hears.  It is a breeze of “listlessness,” which suggests it is loose and weak, as it travels across the “wet mead” to him. The poet is confronting the reality of his wife’s death in this stanza, the reality that she has gone forever.  The weakness of the breeze fits with the word “dissolved” he uses to describe her death, suggesting that her spiritual presence is gone, being absorbed into the universe.  This together with the “ever” strongly creates the idea that she is unable to return.  The action of her death is “to wan”, which is to grow weaker, this word is combined with the intriguing “wistlessness”.  It seems to be a word created by the poet with the meaning of “inattentiveness”.  The meaning is suggestive, but the sound is definite.  The “w” sound of the alliteration and the sibilance of “wistlessness” recreate the sound of the breeze and this creates an impression of her non physical, ethereal presence.  He closes the stanza with the sad thought that her voice will be “heard no more again, far or near”.  The finality of that thought is underlined by the all inclusiveness of the statement with the piling up of “no more”, “again” and “far or near”

He begins the last stanza with “Thus I”, showing that now he will turn his attention to his present situation.  Because (“thus”) she is gone forever and he realizes that he can never make up for the breakdown in their relationship, he is left here to be “faltering forward”.  Faltering has the idea of staggering and the stuttering sound of the alliteration supports that thought. The image of the falling leaves suggests decay and on-coming death as autumn gives way to the winter of his own death. The contrasting short lines works together with the meaning and sound as well. The cold “norward” wind will be his lot from now on.  The wind is surprisingly “oozing thin”, which seems oxymoronic, both thick and thin at the same time.  The idea seems to be of the force of the wind to chill him but it is also so thin that it cuts through the thorn (hedge) easily making him miserable.  The description of the wind has the idea of discomfort and hardship, which is suggestive of his future life.  The last line is chilling; he is almost haunted by his memory of his wife.  She is “calling”, the present continuous tense means that her memory, and also his regret as result, will be ongoing and even unrelenting.   The simplicity of the last line powerfully and memorably captures his final feelings; loneliness, regret and desperation.

The poem then is a carefully constructed piece of art that bears timeless testimony to the plight of many people who grapple with the mystery of death and have to live with the consequences of personal mistakes that can never be rectified.  Hardy has composed a poem that has memorably captured this experience of the human condition.

Where I Come From -Elizabeth Brewster (Writing Template ESL)



From the title of poem, we can assume that Elizabeth Brewster’s ‘Where I Come From’ is about __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Although the opening line ‘People are made of places’ can be loosely described as form of alliteration, the repetition of the ‘p’ sound is particularly effective because it creates the impression that _____________________________________________________________________________________

Brewster goes on to describe the ‘Atmosphere of cities’ which is created be various distinctive smells such as ‘                              ‘, ‘                              ‘ , ‘                              ‘ ,‘                              ‘ and ‘                          ‘. Focusing on smells, rather than on sight and sound, suggests that it is the speaker’s memory of city-life and this is sharply contrasted in the next half of the poem which is about nature, and the environment where she grew up. I think the line ______________________________________ has a strong impact on the reader because _________________________________________________________________.


The second part of the poem is about the place where she grows up and she provides us with some stereotypical imagery of farm-life such as ____________________ and __________________________. The line ‘Spring and winter are the mind’s chief seasons’ reinforces the contrast established in the poem between town and rural life, though there is a change experienced in the final two lines.  ‘A door in the mind blows open’ suggest that __________________________________________________________

Where I Come From -Elizabeth Brewster (Writing Template ESL)



From the title of poem, we can assume that Elizabeth Brewster’s ‘Where I Come From’ is about _________________________ Although the opening line ‘People are made of places’ can be loosely described as form of alliteration, the repetition of the ‘p’ sound is particularly effective because it creates the impression that ______________________ . Brewster goes on to describe the ‘Atmosphere of cities’ which is created be various distinctive smells such as ‘                              ‘, ‘                              ‘ , ‘                              ‘ ,‘                              ‘ and ‘                          ‘. Focusing on smells, rather than on sight and sound, suggests that it is the speaker’s memory of city-life and this is sharply contrasted in the next half of the poem which is about nature, and the environment where she grew up. I think the line _______________________________ has a strong impact on the reader because__________________.


The second part of the poem is about the place where she grows up and she provides us with some stereotypical imagery of farm-life such as ____________________ and __________________. The line ‘Spring and winter are the mind’s chief seasons’ reinforces the contrast established in the poem between town and rural life, though there is a change experienced in the final two lines.  ‘A door in the mind blows open’ suggest that _____________________

Dover Beach Main Ideas

Dover Beach


The poem Dover Beach is about maturity, reflecting his own felt need to commit himself and his life. Matthew Arnold has written many other poems, some of which were inspired by a French girl, Marguerite, from whom he was to be separated for the rest of his life. These poems highlight his realization that love enhances loneliness, a sense of loss, and is a self-imposed prison.

The title locale (location) and subject of the poem’s descriptive opening lines is the shore of the English ferry port of Dover, Kent facing Calais, France at the Strait of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel, where Arnold honeymooned in 1851



The most poignant image is the sea. The sea includes the visual imagery, used to express illusion, as well as the auditory imagery, used to express reality. A vivid description of the calm sea in the first eight lines allows a picture of the sea to unfold. However, the next six lines call upon auditory qualities, especially the words “Listen,” “grating roar,” and “eternal note of sadness.” The distinction between the sight and sound imagery continues into the third stanza. Sophocles can hear the Aegean Sea, but cannot see it. He hears the purposelessness “of human misery,” but cannot see it because of the “turbid ebb and flow” of the sea. The allusion of Sophocles and the past disappears abruptly, replaced by the auditory image, “But now I only hear/ Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar/ Retreating to the breath/ Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear/ And naked shingles of the world” (Lines 24-28). The image is intensely drawn by Arnold to vividly see the faith disappearing from the speaker’s world. The image of darkness pervades the speaker’s life just like the night wind pushes the clouds in to change a bright, calm sea into dark, “naked shingles.”In the final stanza, the speaker makes his last attempt to hold on to illusion, yet is forced to face reality.



 The tone of the piece is determined by the constant presence of “melancholy” and “misery” in the poem that stretch on into the distance with a “long withdrawing roar…” The calmness of the narrative voice with which the piece is set to work (“the sea is calm to-night). The tide is full, the moon lies fair.”) is essential for the descriptive nature of the first stanza. Yet, later on its role is to emphasise the negativity in the tone of the poem: “But now I only hear /Its melancholy…”, “Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow /of human misery…” The end of the piece, however, implies that the alteration of the things around us is something inevitable. The tone changes in the last verse of the poem in the sense that it now not simply resents mutability, but is also a tone pleading with the reader to realise nothing is as stable and reliable as one perceives it, not to take the world for granted, and to stay “true/ to one another”. Bitterness is suggested when Arnold exclaims ‘Ah, love’ to show that in this changing world, one can only rely on the partner, and be trustful and true. Sarcasm is used to describe the modern world as a ‘land of dreams’ as there is no more hope for the world, as there is no more faith.

Sonnet 29-Analysis

Edna St. Vincent Millay – Pity Me Not

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was well known in her day as a master of the sonnet. Many of her works showed great lyrical style in the traditional Shakespearean sonnet form. This fixed form is characterized by the inclusion of two stanzas: the first being an octave with two quatrains; the second, a sestet composed of a quatrain and a couplet. The traditional themes of a sonnet usually revolve around the tormented lover (Kennedy 180-181). Ms. Millay perfected this “tormented lover” role in her sonnets. Millay “investigated her own nature with a ruthlessness that left nothing for any psychologist’s analysis of the personality to shock her with” (Atkins 128). This role is evident in her sonnet, “Pity Me Not”:

Pity Me Not

Pity me not because the light of day

At close of day no longer walks the sky;

Pity me not for beauties passed away

From field and thicket as the year goes by;

Pity me not the waning of the moon,

Nor that the ebbing tide goes out to sea,

Nor that a man’s desire is hushed so soon,

And you no longer look with love on me.

This love I have known always: love is no more

Than the wide blossom which the wind assails,

Than the great tide that treads the shifting shore,

Strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales.

Pity me that the heart is slow to learn

What the swift mind beholds at every turn.

(Untermeyer 1165)

In “Pity Me Not,” Millay uses the cyclical forces of nature as a metaphor for her version of the cycle of love, a version that concludes a man’s love for a woman always ends. Her comparison, however, becomes paradoxical as she moves from the rational mind to the emotional heart.

The first stanza begins immediately with her rational comparisons of nature to love. In the first two lines she looks at the sunset and one is reminded of the warmth love brings to life. A warmth that naturally fades as love dies. Next, she moves to beauty and the aging process. Unfortunately as women get older, American society often considers their beauty lost just as flowers wither as winter approaches. Millay seems to assume that men cannot love if the woman has no beauty left. “The waning of the moon” can easily refer to the loss of romance and passion, since moonlight is often considered a sensuous setting. Finally, “the ebbing of the tide” washes away any remnants of the romance. Passion’s tide will only go lower and lower from this point.

Millay finishes the octave directly tying love to nature. Up to this point, love has not been explicitly addressed. Finally, she gets to the thrust of the poem, “Nor that a man’s desire is hushed so soon, and you no longer look on love with me.” It is clear in this octave that Millay looks at the passing of love, the end of men’s desire, as a natural part of life. She seems resigned to it. She accepts it and declares, “Pity me not” the loss of these precious things, for there is nothing else which could happen. With the tone of the octave, she clearly does not sound so much as a “tormented lover” as she does someone who has become completely jaded to love altogether. The torment is long finished.

As is common in many sonnets, the sestet introduces a new tone, a new twist to the narrative. In line 9, she tells us directly that she indeed has gone through these stages of love enough to become resigned to the inevitable: “This love I have known always: love is no more.” It is with line 10 that the tone of the poem twists to something totally conflicting with the octave. Lines 10-12 all compare the ending of love to natural events that are clearly not cyclical or expected at all. Passages such as “the wide blossom which the wind assails” or “the great tide that treads the shifting shore strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales” reveal that she is not at all calm over the ending of love. The imagery throughout this section is violent. It is as if she is the wide blossom assailed; that the shifting shore is her foundation, her emotions being eroded; that the wind is now no longer a natural, common wind but a gale! Probably the most effective word that demonstrates these bad feelings is “wreckage.” The term is the only man-made noun in the entire poem, a term that is not natural at all. The vision of boats being mangled and ripped in a storm quickly comes to mind. She clearly seems to see herself as the “fresh wreckage” in the midst of a grand emotional storm. A question now arises in the reader’s mind at the conclusion of line 12. If the ending of love is rational and expected, why have this outburst of torture and torment?

The couplet holds the answer. As typical in so many sonnets, the couplet ends with a surprise and a tying together of all the elements of the poem above it. In the octave Millay asks her readers not to pity her the ending of love, as it is simply a natural occurrence in her spoiled view. In the couplet she gets to the point of her real pain. “Pity me that the heart is slow to learn what the swift mind beholds at every turn.” Now she is clearly asking for sympathy. She knows that love will end. She watches it happen time and time again around her, but she laments that she still feels pain in her heart. She feels she is smarter than that but still she succumbs to her emotions. Pity her her broken heart. Period. Thus, the octave is a representation of her mind, her rationalizing assumption that relationships cannot naturally work. The sestet’s quatrain represents the pain, the emotional violence that still emerges despite all of her rationalizations. That revelation is the paradox. The ending of love is not cyclically expected as is the sunset or the waning of the moon — at least not in her heart where it matters the most.

“Pity Me Not” was written in 1923, a period characterized by poets consistently examining their psyches. Edna St. Vincent Millay continued this study of her “worthlessness” throughout most of this time. Before 1923, she indeed lived through an amount of pain and sadness. That year, however, was not a time to be glum or depressed, for 1923 was clearly one of the most joyous, important years in her life. It was the year she married a rather wealthy man, finally finding love while freeing herself from financial responsibilities, allowing her to devote all of her time to her art. It was the year she first became published in Europe, to a resounding success. It was also the year she won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry–only the second of its kind awarded (Atkins 93-147). No, 1923 was known as an exceptionally happy time for Millay, in her career and in romantic pursuits. Thus, the final paradox to be found in “Pity Me Not” is that she could, and did, find the love she thought she’d never find. The marraige lasted, disproving her theory that relationships naturally die.

Works Cited

Atkins, Elizabeth. Edna St. Vincent Millay and Her Times. New York: Russell & Russell, 1964.

Kennedy, X.J. and Dana Gioia. An Introduction to Poetry 8th ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.

Untermeyer, Louis. A Treasury of Great Poems. New York: Galahad Books, 1993.

Microsoft Bookshelf 1993 CD-ROM. Redmond, WA: Microsoft, Inc., 1993. (Photographic


End of Year Exam For Grade 9

Dear Grade Nine,

Your end of Year Exam is on Monday 6th June and Tuesday 7th. Both classes will be doing the exam at the same time. The location at the time of writing this post is unclear – but it is more than likely that it will be in the hall on the 5th floor ( I will get back to you on that one).

Monday 6th June – full First Language Paper (English) 1 1/2 hours Period 1 and 2

Question 1: Written Response based on Passage A

  • Here you could be expected to write a leaflet, report, interview, persuasive speech, letter.
  • A good answer is one that is focused and shows that you are certain of the requirements of the task.
  • The material must stem from the passage
  • There should not be too much reliance on invented material as the task is to manipulate the language and information in to a new type of text. For example, you could be given a passage that is informative, and probably appears in magazine, and you might be asked to write a letter of complaint.
  • This question really is all about the audience you are writing for and how well you communicate the purpose in writing.
  • Also you need to probably discuss a range of ideas.


  • Question Two: The One about Language and the effectiveness of word choices and literary devices.
  • You may use quotations here.
  • You must discuss the effects of language, and any literary devices that you think has been employed by the writer, if any
  • Think how it affects the reader – the mood and atmosphere being  created, tone and the impact on the reader. 

Question 3: The Summary

  • You must aim to answer the question at hand-do not merely copy out statements. You need to show that you have answered the question.
  • Do NOT use quotation marks -even if you are using the words passage.
  • Divide up your writing into TWO big blocks/paragraphs of writing (you will be able to tell the best way to structure your answer by the bullets points -sometimes you can divide your ideas according to the passages. Passage B can be one paragraph and Passage A another paragraph.

For all questions, be sure that you have tried to answer the question -you are also being assessed on following the instructions -your ability to respond to the requirements of the task-as well as your understanding of the passages.

Tuesday 7th June – Literature (Unseen) 1 1/2 hours Period One and Two

Paper Five – Literature (Unseen)

This is the first time you will have all attempted this Paper. As you are now probably aware you will be getting two grades-one for First Language and one for Literature, if you choose to sit for the IGCSE.

When you sit for the Literature one-there will be two papers -Paper One is (Poetry, Prose and Drama) and Paper Five Literature (Unseen). We have finished one third of Paper One, and next year we will do a novel and play. Paper Five is different -and is worth about 20% of your IGCSE Literature grade. You do not have to study texts for Paper Five as it is ‘unseen’ -you do not know what will come out on the paper. However, there will be a poem, and some prose (fiction).

Basically, you have to answer a question, which is usually about analysing the theme, language, possibly the impact on the reader. At this stage the best approach is to simply do what you have been doing with the poetry-analysing language, and learning to respond to a question.

Throughout the exam, I will keep track of the time for you. With Paper One, I will advise you when to move on to the next question so that we are learning how to manage our time better, and to our advantage.