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10 Responses to “All Posts and Poems! – Archive”

  1. Melody Says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you have any notes for “Winter Warfare” by Edgell Rickward? Thanks 🙂
    By the way, thank you so much for your amazing notes! You’ve saved my English Lit grade as I have an NQT who isn’t the best teacher 🙂


    1. I don’t, I’m afraid, though ‘Winter Warfare’ is surely one of the simpler poems in the collection. You only need to remember two words to understand it: ‘personification’ and ‘hypothermia’.

  2. John Langan Says:

    Bravo to you, G. M. Griffiths, for creating and maintaining a poetry website that I see has had over 800,000 visitors. Your kindness and respect for the questions of many students is exemplary; you are, I have no doubt, a true teacher. I’d be interested in exploring with you some meanings in Yeats’ poem “Lapis Lazuli.” I’m a Yeats’ lover and textbook author/educational publisher who lives in New Jersey; you, of course, are across the ocean. All best!


    1. Many thanks John. It’s been nice to have such a response to the site, which really started out as a help to my classes who were struggling for resources. They’re the real inspiration here- as corny as that sounds.

  3. Summer Says:

    I love this website, it’s such a great resource! I’m studying this A-level distance learning and haven’t found much else useful. I was wondering if you still believe the AQA key poem list to be the same? Also if you were ever willing to do so, I’d be especially interested to see your take on some Wilfred Owen or Cumming’s as these are my favourite! Thank you for this site!


    1. Summer, the A-level has changed in the past year and the AQA A-level is a quite different beast. It is crucial you get to know the specification (the map or plan for the taught course) well to know what you should study or learn for the exam: so much more so if you’re doing this alone.

      You can find the specification here.

      The old specification examined the Oxford Book of War Poetry in Section B in a pair of questions dedicated to the Oxford Book of War Poetry alone. The crucial difference in the new specification is that the poems examined in the anthology are compared to a novel or drama. One of the three texts you study for the ‘World War One and its Aftermath’ MUST be written post-2000. Therefore, at Southfields, we are reading Sebastian Barry’s ‘A Long, Long Way’ in tandem with Stallworthy’s anthology.

      The style of question we are moving towards answering with the OBWP and Barry’s novel is in Section B of the paper and will read like this:

      ‘Suffering in war comes in many different forms.’

      Compare the significance of suffering in two other texts you have studied. Remember to include in your answer reference to how meanings are shaped in the texts you are comparing.

      You must use one prose text written post-2000 and one poetry text in your response. [25 marks]

      This is a question in which you are expected to have an understanding of the theme of suffering in Barry’s novel (the post-2000 text here) and a poem (which you choose) from the Stallworthy anthology. This sample question can be found here, in the AQA’s exemplary specimen paper for the new exam. The markscheme for the same specimen paper can be found here. Here is the AQA page for assessment resources.

      What should be clear is that you, as a student, no longer have to know nearly every poem in the anthology as in previous years (or indeed follow the previous AQA key poem list at all) but instead should have an in-depth knowledge of certain key poems that are illustrative of the themes or concerns of first world war literature and the novel or drama you are comparing it to.

      In the specification, AQA states that “areas that can usefully be explored [in studying the First World War and its aftermath] include: imperialism and nationalism; recruitment and propaganda; life on the front line; responses on the home front; pacifism; generals and soldiers; slaughter; heroism; peace and memorials; writers in action and writers looking back; the political and social aftermath; different and changing attitudes to the conflict; impact on combatants, non-combatants and subsequent generations as well as its social, political, personal and literary legacies.” (p.16)

      Learn and understand a great poem like Sassoon’s ‘The General’, for example, and you open up the potential to write about life on the front line, generals and soldiers, slaughter, heroism, different and changing attitudes to the conflict, and political, personal and literary legacies, to name a few. The clever selection of certain crucial poems will give you flexibility in your exam response. But you must ensure you study these poems in tandem with the prose or drama text you study, for you will be comparing the two in the exam in terms of theme or study area, as above.

      Please be reminded again that if you are studying Stallworthy’s ‘Oxford Book of War Poetry’ for the A-level exam, you MUST ensure that one of your drama or prose texts is written post-2000, or disaster is certain.

      I hope this helps.

      1. Dr Julie Tovey Says:

        This blog is a fantastic support for students in their independent learning – thank you! Firstly, will there be notes on Barry’s ‘A Long, Long Way’ beyond Chapter 7 coming soon? Secondly, I have just had an email response from AQA who stated – in response to my query regarding the number of poems students should cover in their comparative essay: ‘A ‘text’ is a collection of poems. So the student will be expected to refer to a range of poems in their response’. This suggests that referring to one poem will be insufficient. I thought this might be useful information!


        1. Thanks, Dr Tovey, I’m so pleased these are useful. I’m afraid my little project stalled last year; my wife died after a long illness and until this point I’d set the work by. But good news: I’m back in school now (after an incredible amount of support from the Academy) and will be completing these notes throughout the school year, so keep in touch!

  4. Maiken Says:

    English Lit student writing an essay on Modernist poets and just wanted to say I’m so glad I stumbled upon this blog. It’s been an extremely interesting and helpful read. Thank you!

    1. Dr Julie Tovey Says:

      I am so sorry to hear of your wife’s death. It must have been an extremely traumatic time for you and it is good to hear that the Academy has been so supportive. Frustratingly, I only came across your blog after I had spent months writing a workbook on A Long, Long Way for my current A level students but it will be interesting for them to see how our interpretations and approaches differ, and how they might position their own readings of the text. I look forward to reading your thoughts on Chapter 8!
      Dr T

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