Notes on Gillian Clarke poems
Notes on 42 poems studied by various exam boards at GCSE or AS or A level.
by Gillian Clarke
HOW TO READ A POEM: TIP FOR GCSE STUDENTS
Do think of a poem as a little story. Read it out loud in your head. Work it out for yourself. Every word counts. The whole meaning lies in the words. Sometimes layers of meaning come through slowly. No one, not even the poet, sees every possible meaning in a word or phrase all at once. Bring your own experience and response to understanding a poem.
Don’t invent what you can’t prove by quoting the poem. Don’t jump to conclusions before you’ve read every word and worked it out. Don’t assume the poem is the poet’s own life story. Poems are made from experience, imagination, a love of language, and a lot of creative energy.