Personally responding to the poetry of Gwen Harwood
For some time, there has been debate over what is the ‘true spirit’ of this module, with particular emphasis on how a student should ultimately respond – personally or through ‘readings’. This study guide will dispel your uncertainty and support your classroom studies by guiding you towards a personal response which should be at the heart of anything you compose. We will explore Gwen Harwood’s poetry through the syllabus rubric, an important framework to follow, as this is from where your examination question will be derived. We will start with the rubric and past HSC questions, because you need to have the ‘product’ you are expected to produce firmly in your mind so as you can select the right ‘parts’ along the way to build it! This resource contains learning tools that will help you access the deeper layers of Harwood’s poetry and provide opportunities for you to build up your own personal response through regular extended responding. This study guide does not replace the valuable lessons delivered by your teacher, it is an extra helping hand in ensuring you maximise your results by planning your learning journey well before you enter the examination hall. Syllabus Rubric
“This module requires students to explore and evaluate a specific text and its reception in a range of contexts. It develops students’ understanding of questions of textual integrity. Students explore the ideas expressed in the text through analysing its construction, content and language. They examine how particular features of the text contribute to textual integrity. They research others’ perspectives of the text and test these against their own understanding and interpretations of the text. Students discuss and evaluate the ways in which the set work has been read, received and valued in historical and other contexts. They extrapolate from this study of a particular text to explore questions of textual integrity and significance. Students develop a range of imaginative, interpretive and analytical compositions that relate to the study of their specific text. These compositions may be realised in a variety of forms and media.” (Stage 6 Syllabus English Preliminary and HSC Courses, 1999, p. 52) The key words in the rubric have been highlighted. Knowing how these key elements in Gwen Harwood’s poetry are represented, will ensure you will be thoroughly prepared for the question you are given because it is this language that will be used to formulate the question. The marking rubric for each question is printed at the top of each page of the exam, it tells you quite specifically what you need to include in your response – use it as a checklist – it is the framework supporting your response. Let’s test this theory by comparing the rubric to the past three years of questions. (Even though there are four different poems set for study this year, the rubric has not changed.) 2008 HSC
In your answer you will be assessed on how well you:
* demonstrate understanding of the ideas expressed in the text * evaluate the text’s reception in different contexts
* organise, develop and express ideas using language appropriate to audience, purpose and form
Question 7 — Poetry (20 marks)
a. In your view, how have poetic techniques been used to reveal memorable ideas in Harwood’s poetry?
Support your view with detailed reference to at least TWO of the poems set for study. The words in bold link directly to the syllabus rubric – no need for explanation, it just reinforces what you will be assessed on. Now, let’s match up the language of the question (remember to recognise a synonym for a word or phrase in the syllabus rubric) with the language of the syllabus rubric: Question
In your view…
| “…own understanding and interpretations of the text.”
| ...how have poetic techniques...
| “…analysing its construction, content and language…”
| ...been used to...
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