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English - Comparing Poetry - An Acronym - LETTSBC



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Tone & Mood

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Themes & Ideas

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Structure & Form

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Background & Setting



Content – Poetic Voice


Note: When writing your responses to comparing poetry start with

1. Introduction, then:

  1. 2. Background & Setting
  2. 3. Themes & Ideas
  3. 4. Structure & Form
  4. 5. Tone & Mood
  5. 6. Language
  6. 7. Effect

8. Finally end with your conclusion.



An image is language used in such a way as to help us to see, hear, feel, taste, think about or generally understand more clearly and vividly what is being said, or the impression that the writer wants to create. The imagery is created through descriptive language.

Images can work in different ways:

A literal image: re-creates the scene or description through precise language.

A figurative language: uses comparisons to make the description more vivid.

In poems you study you will find several types of imagery: Similes, metaphors, personification, aural imagery, alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia.



The way the poet uses language and what effect he/she wants to create.


Tone & Mood

The effect that a poem has on a reader can be closely linked to the tone and mood that the poet creates. A poem contains a ‘voice’ and like any voice it can be ‘spoken’ in a variety of ways that give the listener (or reader) certain messages.

There are many different types of tone: i.e. Angry, sad, joyful, ironic or bitter etc.

The tone of voice in which someone speaks tells us a great deal about the way they feel, so the tone of the ‘poetic voice’ tells us a lot about how the poet or narrator of the poem feels or wants us to feel. The Mood: of the poem refers to the atmosphere that the poem creates.


Themes & Ideas

Caught between cultures

Climate / conditions

Symbols of a culture




Comparisons with other cultures

Living conditions

Family attitudes

The political attitudes




Do not just identify, explain and analyse the effects created by the ways in which the poets use language.


Structures & Forms

Rhyme, Rhythm, Free Verse. How the poem(s) are organized into lines, stanzas and sections.

How some poems have lines that rhyme and others that sound more like prose written in a poetic way. Comment on how the poet’s choices of structure and form support the meaning of the poem.

Structure: The poet has made conscious choices to organize the poem as it appears on the page. Try to understand the poet’s thinking behind:

1. The organization of the lines.

2. Any repetition of lines or varying lengths of lines.

3. Whether the lines are end-stopped or whether the sense carries over to the next line.


Background & Settings

Different cultures.

Some factors that contribute to defining cultures: Race, nationality, language, religion, education, wealth/poverty, social behaviour, attitudes, customs, traditions, literature, music, painting, entertainment, sense of humour, politics, food, dress.

Social Context: The kind of society that existed when the poem was written. The way the theme, setting and characters of the poems are influenced by the social background.

Cultural Context: The ideas, philosophies, cultural ideas that existed when the poem was written.

Historical Context: The historical period that the poem was written in. Events and discoveries etc, that were important and influenced in that period.


Content – Poetic Voice

What the poem is about and poetic voice – who is talking. Even when ‘I’ is used it does not necessarily mean that the poet is the speaker.

The voice of the poem may be the poet or in some cases may be a character, created by the poet.

The voice is important in a poem, it is that speaker who is feeling a particular emotion, expressing ideas or through whose eyes and point of view we see the event(s) or details described in the poem.


What to do with LETTSBC...


What the poem is about and capturing the 'flavour of each'

Main Body

Several paragraphs based on your detailed reading of the poems.

It is a good idea to make a point about one poem and then a point about the other poem.

It can help if you structure your ideas in a logical way, e.g. one paragraph could compare the way each uses imagery, another could focus on the structure etc...


A concluding paragraph that sums up the main similarities and differences.

Comparing Poetry an Acronym .PDF

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