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A GCSE Guide to AQA Unit 2: Poetry Across Time | Out of the Blue

Shane Richardson | Sunday January 13, 2013

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Guide Navigation

1. Introduction
2. Out of the Blue
3. Flag
4. Mametz Wood
5. The Yellow Palm
6. The Right Word
7. At the Border
8. Poppies
9. Exam Technique
10. Sample Exam Questions

AQA Anthology Poems

“Moon on the Tides: Conflict Cluster”

Introduction to the Poem

About the Author

Simon Armitage is one of Britain’s most important modern poets.  His works are characterised by a dry Yorkshire wittiness and a gritty realism.

Armitage takes a very acerbic or harsh look at many aspects of modern life and his poems often leave his readers with a sense of emptiness and hollowness.

Often, there is little in Armitage’s poetry that offers any sense of a happy ending.

Out of the Blue is part of a much longer poem.

Checking your Understanding

  1. At the beginning of the poem, the man is waving a white shirt.  Who does he think might see him?
  2. What is the man worried about in terms of the people on the ground below, and watching on the TV?
  3. What is forcing the man out of the building?
  4. What do we think happens to the man at the and of the poem? Why do you think this?

Commenting on Language

  1. In the poem, the writer repeats certain words in each stanza or verse, why do you think Armitage does this?
  2. The speaker only identifies himself as ‘me’ and the person he is talking to as ‘you’. What effect does this help Armitage to achieve?
  3. Why do you think a number of the stanzas end with rhetorical questions?
  4. Throughout the poem, Armitage uses animal images - the ‘bird’ and the ‘gills’ - why do you think he does this?
  5. How does the speaker’s reference to ‘my love’ change our understanding of who the poem is being spoken to?
  6. What is the effect on you of Armitage’s use of rhyme in the poem?

Extending your Understanding

What is Armitage’s ‘big idea’?

Armitage uses the narrative or storyline of Out of the Blue as a device to explore a broader idea. The moment when the speaker describes how the intense heat is...


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