Carol Ann Duffy poetry
Navigate to resources by choosing units within one of the unit groups shown below.
Delivery guides are designed to represent a body of knowledge about teaching a particular topic and contain:
- Content: A clear outline of the content covered by the delivery guide;
- Thinking Conceptually: expert guidance on the key concepts involved, common difficulties students may have, approaches to teaching that can help students understand these concepts and how this topic links conceptually to other areas of the subject;
- Thinking Contextually: A range of suggested teaching activities using a variety of themes so that different activities can be selected that best suit particular classes, learning styles or teaching approaches.
At both AS and A Level, this examined unit asks students to analyse the use and impact of poetic and stylistic techniques, demonstrating how meaning and effects are created.
Topic: Carol Ann Duffy, Rapture
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a substantial poetry collection.
- Apply relevant methods for text analysis, drawing on linguistic and literary techniques.
- Explore how linguistic and literary approaches can inform interpretations of texts.
- Identify how meanings and effects are created and conveyed in texts.
- Analyse the ways in which a poetry text draws on its literary, cultural and stylistic contexts.
At AS Level the exam asks the students to compare two named poems from the collection they have been studying.
At A Level the exam asks the students to compare the named poem with one or two others of their choice from the collection they have been studying.
This examined unit requires students to read the following fifteen poems written by Carol Ann Duffy: You, Hour, Rapture, Elegy, Betrothal, Love, New Year, Wintering, Answer, Write, Grief, Ithaca, Epiphany, The Love Poem, Over.
In this Language and Literature specification, the students will analyse how meanings are shaped in poetry, exploring how the poet uses poetic and stylistic techniques to present ideas. They will focus on the way in which meaning is created through the use of pattern making and pattern breaking, (deviation) and through repetition.
This analysis will require the students to have an awareness of phonology, lexis and semantics, grammar and morphology, pragmatics and discourse.
They will also analyse the connections between the poems, and explore the influence of context on the poems. The context may be the literary context (the way in which the poem uses the conventions of a particular genre, for example), or the broader social or historical context.
Conceptual links to other parts of the specification
Students closely analyse the language of poetry through poetic and stylistic techniques, and this is a useful skill that can be applied to other AS and A Level units. The knowledge they gain about the way in which language works, the effects that it creates, and the way in which it can be used, is also an excellent basis for their own written work at A Level, and for any analysis that they do of either spoken or written texts in almost any genre.
An understanding of the relevance of context is essential to any study that requires students to think about the purpose or audience of the text (particularly relevant in the exploration of the texts in the anthology in AS and A Level Paper 1, for example).
In this unit, the students are required to make connections between two named poems (AS) or between one named poem and one or two poems of their choice (A Level), and this process of finding connections is part of thinking contextually. The students are exploring the poem in the light of at least one other poem in the collection, and are therefore thinking about the patterns that emerge, or the patterns that are broken, in terms of the poet’s choice of lexis, syntax etc.
An awareness of the broader context of other genres is also required in order that the students can see how the poet breaks or follows those conventions.
Some knowledge of wider social or historical context may be useful, if that context affects the grammatical or lexical choices made by the poet.
The following activities in this guide are examples of the way in which the context of the poems can be explored.
This activity encourages the learners to begin to think about characteristics of Duffy’s poems, as they analyse the titles both in terms of theme and also in terms of narrator, verbs, sentence types etc. They build on these initial responses, as they work on grouping quotes taken from the poems. It would then be possible to represent these ideas in a diagrammatic form for a wall display, to which the learners could add as they learn more about Duffy’s poetry.
For a useful 'Overview of the production and reception to Rapture' see the resource link.
Please see Learner resource 1 for all materials related to Activity 1.
In this activity the learners think about the aspects of linguistic analysis that could be used to explore a poem. They are provided with scaffolding to guide them, and use their discoveries about verbs, adjectives, nouns in this poem, to feed into their analysis of the rhyme scheme.
In a comparison with Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, which is also similar in theme, the learners begin to think about how Duffy is using the sonnet form, and how her choice of rhyme affects and shapes the meaning of the poem.
This activity could be done early on in the study of Duffy’s poetry, as it gives the learners an overview of one way to approach a poem, as well as an opportunity to explore the sonnet form.
It would naturally lead into Activity 3, which expands on their knowledge about the use of rhyme in Duffy’s poetry.
For an 'Example of a stylistic analysis' of poetry at university level see the resource link.
Please see Learner resource 2 for all materials related to Activity 2.
Here, the learners are asked to complete Rapture, making informed decisions about the characteristic lexis of Duffy’s poetry, and (expanding on the work they have done in Activity 2) deciding on the rhyme scheme that they would expect in this poem. As a class, they then return to the original poem, and evaluate the qualities of the words in the original compared with the words of their own versions. This activity culminates with the learners writing a paragraph (either individually or as a group effort) that focuses on one aspect of the poem, and one particular interpretation.
This activity could be done mid-way through the study of Duffy’s poetry, as it requires a knowledge of the sonnet form, and there is limited guidance for the completion of the paragraph task.
It leads onto Activity 4 in the sense that the learners can then see how another writer might write about Duffy’s poetry, applying the knowledge that they have gained in their own study.
Please see Learner resource 3 for all materials related to Activity 3.
Learners are offered readings of Wintering that they first summarise, and then apply to the text of the poem. In the process of reading the extracts, the learners will evaluate them, and build on them, before working in a group in order to look at one specific aspect of the poem. With this level of scaffolding, the learners are shown one view of the poem before they begin their own close reading. There is the opportunity for the learners to work entirely independently, or to use the guidance provided.
This is a natural precursor to Activity 5, where all the skills are applied to a comparison of two poems.
There are several examples of analysis of Wintering available on the Internet. Learners could be asked to watch/read one each, and feed back to the class, selecting those aspects with which they most strongly disagree or agree, for example.
In addition to the activity offered in the Learner Resource, these two tables could be used in many ways in the classroom. They could be used after the learners have done their own analysis, who could then annotate the tables to add in their own ideas. Learners could use them to help to think about the structure of their essay, numbering the boxes and discussing whether they agree as a class. Learners could work in groups, taking the notes as a starting point in order to produce a presentation on one of the poems, or on a comparison of the poems, to the rest of the class.
This activity is designed to be done later on in the study of Duffy, as it presumes that the learners have an understanding of the terminology and of Duffy’s characteristic use of language.
Learners could be encouraged to prepare for this lesson by researching these two poems. For 'An analysis of You', for example, see the resource link.
Please see Learner resource 5 for all materials related to Activity 5.
OCR’s resources are provided to support the teaching of OCR specifications, but in no way constitute an endorsed teaching method that is required by the Board and the decision to use them lies with the individual teacher. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the content, OCR cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions within these resources. We update our resources on a regular basis, so please check the OCR website to ensure you have the most up to date version.
© OCR 2015 - This resource may be freely copied and distributed, as long as the OCR logo and this message remain intact and OCR is acknowledged as the originator of this work.