Song – Revision Notes

Image: Helen Suzman© DAKZN

‘Song’ by George Szirtes ‘celebrates small actions which, cumulatively, can make a difference . It is dedicated to the South African white liberal activist, Helen Suzman (pictured), who campaigned all her adult life against the apartheid system. This is the context for a poem which honours the collective power of protest.

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Chainsaw Versus the Pampas Grass – Revision Notes

Image © Saga Magazine

Excerpt from Chainsaw Versus the Pampas Grass by Simon Armitage

It seemed an unlikely match. All winter unplugged,
grinding its teeth in a plastic sleeve, the chainsaw swung
nose-down from a hook in the darkroom
under the hatch in the floor. When offered the can
it knocked back a quarter-pint of engine oil
and juices ran from its joints and threads,
oozed across the guide-bar and the maker's name,
into the dry links.

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A Minor Role – Revision Notes


UA Fanthorpe – A Minor Role

Since this poem came up in our mock, I thought it would be fitting to complete an entry on it. Hope you find it useful! – Hadiyah Dellal

Fanthorpe illustrates how often in life, one will have to deal with a difficult situation – the way in which the person affected reacts to this situation and the people around them is what the poet explores in this poem. The speaker is evidently suffering from an illness as he/she describes having to make ‘sense/Of consultant’s monologues’, although it is never made clear what illness the speaker is suffering from. However, through the development of the poem, it is hinted by the poet that the illness is terminal. Instead of looking at the dire and pessimistic side of this illness, the speaker attempts to be more optimistic – the poet aims to emphasise how precious life is. The speaker attempts to speak truthfully about the most difficult and complicated situations that one may experience in their life.

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Out of the Bag – Revision Notes

Image: Bag© Omero Home

‘Out of the Bag’ by Seamus Heaney explores how the child’s perspective differs from an adults and how it is not always ‘true’. ‘He blends personal memory with his deep knowledge of the classical world of ancient Greece to interrogate myths of origin’

Explores themes of: CLASS, FAITH, GENDER

The title ‘Out of the Bag’ suggests something being revealed or something being born – links to how the child thinks that the babies come out of the doctor’s bag (stork story)


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The Furthest Distances I’ve Travelled – Revision Notes

Image: Ticket Stubs© Devient Art

‘The Furthest Distances I’ve Travelled’ by Leontia Flynn explores ideas of journeys that are both physical and emotional. It looks at the transition from the freedom of a student traveller to a more mature perspective of the present-day narrator. ‘In doing so it acknowledges that our emotional geography is as significant to who we are as the physical journeys we undertake.

The poem is very honest, stating “This is how/to live”

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The Lammas Hireling – Revision Notes

Image: Hare© Scottish Wildlife Trust

‘The Lammas Hireling’ by Ian Duhig can at first seem really confusing, containing a number of allusions but if you listen to the sound of the poem then it creates an atmosphere in itself. However it’s important to understand what actually happens in the poem…

It is a dramatic monologue that tells the story of a farmer who came to hire a young man to help with his cows. The title ‘hireling’ and the actin of hiring a labourer at a fair takes us back to a rural world that dates back to rural world that dates back at least 100 years.

Echoes a Thomas Hardy novel (tragic stories) and this archaic quality continues as the poem progresses. The man he hires is really good with the animals “yields doubled” – he has an almost magical quality.

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