Below, we’ll go through a couple of steps on how to approach an Unseen Poetry Question.
This 7-step process that I’ve come up with will definitely make your grades so much better, and generally make you less stressed about it. Please note that this is just a quick overview, you can watch the video below for a more in-depth explanation.
1: Underline and explore the keywords of the question. When you’re given an unseen poetry question, reading the question comes before reading the poem! There’s no point in reading a chunk of text if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The question, and your understanding of it, is the key to a good answer.
2: Read the poem through and write down your general impressions. What are the main themes? What is the thematic statement that the poet makes on each theme?
3: Underline the relevant sections of the poem – the ones that relate to the focus of your question.
4: Annotate and explore the quotations further.
Jot down language or structural features, any important ideas that relate directly to the question (stay focused on the question!)
5: Plan your middle paragraphs and develop a thesis.
7: Edit and make small adjustments or corrections if needed.
In ‘Neutral Tones’, how does the poet present the speaker’s feelings about relationships?
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