Revision of Section B• Up the Line to Death: The War Poets 1914- 1918 (published 1964)• An anthology selected and arranged by Brian Gardner as the editor. He has also written an introduction and provided biographical notes for each poet.
• There are 141 poems in total, which represent the work of 72 male poets.• From the 1960s, Gardner looks back at the previous generation, and declares his intention to write a ‘tribute’ to the soldiers of WWI.
• Gardner has arranged the poems in such a way as to tell the story of the war.• In his introduction, he describes the book as a ‘journey from Binyon’s “The Fourth of August” to Johnstone’s “High Wood”’ and as a ‘book written by men who either witnessed or took part in that journey’.
• The book is organised into sections which reflect this ‘journey’, so that poems are grouped under the following headings:Prelude Happy is England Now Field ManoeuvresTipperary Days To Unknown Lands Home FrontDeath’s Kingdom A Bitter Taste Behind the LinesJesus Make it Stop At Last, at Last! EpilogueEach section is introduced by a snippet ofwords from a popular WWI song.
• In the introduction, Gardner goes on to cover topics such as:• The fellowship of soldiers• The different kinds of poetry• The reputations of the poets• The influence of the time of writing
To Summarise:• Gardner selects only male poets writing at the time of the war• He organises their poems thematically according to the chronology of the war.• He sees the anthology as a ‘tribute’ to the soldier poets.
• Look at the questions on close reading for all of the poems (handout)• Make a note of your responses to these questions, the ways YOU interpret the poem and how it reflects experiences of WWI.
For the whole Anthology• Consider how the individual poems connect and compare with each other, in terms of subject matter and style• Look at the way the text is structured and explore why you think the editor chose to arrange it this way.• Try arranging the poems in a different way and assess the changed impact that the new structure has on the reader.
The Exam Questions• Each of the two questions will set out a view which you are invited to consider. You will need to say how far you agree with the view in the question – eg:• A named poem as the key to the collection• A named poem as an appropriate introduction to the collection• A named poem as an appropriate conclusion to the collection• The collection has little variety• The collection lacks coherence• Many of the poems in the collection have no literary merit
Advice for Success:• You will need to be able to write clear, structured answers, have a secure knowledge of the text and show that you are able to analyse the writer’s use of language and style.• Think for yourself when responding to sec B question. Although not compulsory, you may refer to any critics you’ve read if you wish to.• However, your own ideas are most important; the question will invite you to express your answer in the first person.
• As this is an open-book exam, there will usually be a question that requires you to focus on a specific poem or group of poems.• It’s important that you back up your ideas by close reference to the poetry when answering your poetry question, but keep the quotations short: examiners know that a candidate who copies out large chunks of the text is struggling.
• You ARE expected to be familiar with the whole of the poetry anthology you have studied.• Make the effort to read around the poetry anthology. Wider reading can provide important background info on any set poet in the context of WWI, and will give you the chance to consider other perspectives.
Using the AOs to show:• AO1 – your ability to use your knowledge and understanding, to focus on the task, and to express yourself appropriately.• AO2 – your ability to explore the ways the writers’ choices of form, structure and language influence the ways you interpret texts and make meaning.• AO3 – your ability to find links between the poems we’ve studied and to explore alternative readings.
What NOT to do:• Don’t respond to the qn by writing an account of a poet’s life and times. A successful answer might include SOME relevant biographical info, but it’s important that you display your contextual knowledge THROUGH your knowledge of the poetry in the anthology.
• Don’t write an answer that WHOLLY agrees (or disagrees) with the view that is set up for discussion in the qn.• Such a one-sided, unbalanced response will get a Band 2 mark, no matter how good your textual knowledge is, because you HAVE NOT met AO3.
• Don’t abuse the open-book exam by copying ANYTHING out of the introduction or the notes at the back.• The examiners will spot what you’ve done and they know that anyone who tries it must be desperate• Unassimilated critical material is often a feature of Band 1 answers.
• Don’t recycle your practice answers in the exam. The questions are NEVER the same as those set previously, so twisting an earlier essay in an attempt to fit it to a new qn usually ends in disaster.• You must approach the qn afresh.
Bands of Achievement Summary:• Band 1 – inaccurate, irrelevant, assertive.• Band 2 – narrative, descriptive and generalised in your approach to the poems.• Band 3 – starting to explore and analyse the poems and you present your argument in a coherent fashion.• Band 4 – coherent, cogent, mature, fluent and sophisticated.
• Throughout your entire scripts (both sec a and b) you must show that single examiner that you are:An informed and independent reader.
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