Help revising poetry? Desperate!

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Hi all, just asking for some help for anyone that can provide it.

I'm doing English lit at A level and the poem exam is 2 weeks today. There about 50 poems to know and I literally know nothing. I've done a few past questions but I've been getting E grades. This really isn't good as I need a C to get on my uni course and can't just bank on the other 2 papers on prose and drama.

I'll cut to the point - does anyone have any decent advice on how to revise poetry? What I usually do is print the poem out, find some annotations online and annotate it. A week later I come back to it and I'll litterallt remember nothing.

I'm in a desperate situation now and I have 2 weeks and about 40 poems - it's not a time issue, it's a technique issue, so please any advice is much much appreciated - what is the best way to revise poems so they'll stick in my head and I'll be actually understanding the poem and what is going on?

Thanks in advance to any response and sorry for rambling on - I'm just very stressed out!
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Report 5 years ago
If you have the poems printed, take a pen and cross out at least half the lines so that you only have the most important parts left. You don't have to cross out whole lines, it might be half of one line and three words from the next. Then take a highlighter and pick out no more than ten of the words that remain which sum up the main theme. This can be done more easily if you have them as a Word doc of course.

Write out key lines and put them up on the wall in your room. Seeing them several times a day can help. Add annotations if you wish.

Record (or find a recording) of poems and listen to them as you go about your day. Try listening to them last thing before you go to sleep.

If the poems are not really making sense, put them in a Word doc and then set them out as prose. Without the lines, the punctuation becomes much clearer and that can help with understanding. Here's an example from 'My Last Duchess':

That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall, looking as if she were alive. I call that piece a wonder, now; Fra Pandolf’s hands worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said “Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read strangers like you that pictured countenance, the depth and passion of its earnest glance, but to myself they turned (since none puts by the curtain I have drawn for you, but I) and seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, how such a glance came there; so, not the first are you to turn and ask thus.

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