Grade 12 Poetry Questions and Answers:

Grade 12 Prescribed Poems for English

  1. Remember by Christina Rossetti
  2. First Day after the War by Mazisi Kunene
  3. The Zulu Girl by Roy Campbell
  4. Motho Ke Motho Ka Batho by Babang Jeremy Cronin
  5. Funeral Blues by W. H. Auden
  6. A Hard Frost by C. Day Lewis
  7. An African Thunderstorm by David Rubadiri
  8. An African Elegy by Ben Okri
  9. somewhere i have never traveled by E. E. Cummings
  10. The Garden of Love by William Blake
  11. Felix Randal byGerard Manley Hopkins
  12. Vultures by Chinua Achebe

How to approach and answer poetry questions as a Grade 12 Learner?

  • Look at the title of the poem – the meaning in relation to the poem as a whole.
  • Look at the poet’s name – who is the poet, when did he/she live, what famous themes does that poet usually write about?
  • Read through the poem and try to figure out what the general idea or theme is.
    • Themes are things that the poet feels strongly about, and may be influenced by his/her personal beliefs and experiences. It is often introduced in the opening sequence of the work and is known as the exposition.
    • Common themes: Love, hatred, friendship, betrayal, loss, heroism, jealousy, racism, sexism, materialism, religion, crime, war
  • Begin to look at the details of the poem, trying to see how the poet brings his theme to life
  • Look at another section of the poem, trying to see how the poem is progressing
  • Look at how the poem concludes
  • Sum up your sense of the poem as a whole, and your sense of the writer
  • Look at the structure of the poem – how is it arranged into lines, stanzas and rhyme scheme?
  • Look at diction (choice of words). Try to understand the meaning of difficult words by looking at the context in which they are used.
  • Positioning of words and word order – sometimes unusual word order is used to emphasise an idea or theme.
  • Look at figures of speech and sound devices.
  • What is the mood of the poem? Ask yourself what feeling/emotion does the poet/speaker express in the poem or what atmosphere is created.
  • Read questions carefully and look at the mark allocation.

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