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How To Write Lit Poetry Essays Sample Intro Havisham and Kid

Steph Atkinson | Thursday November 05, 2009


Compare how relationships are presented in one poem by Simon Armitage and one poem by Carol Ann Duffy.

You should compare:

  • what the relationships are
  • how the poets use form, structure and language to present the relationships.

Chosen poems

Havisham’ (Hav) – Duffy
Kid’ - Armitage

Your sample introductions are a big improvement on the introductions you were writing earlier in the term, so well done.

However, you now need to consider how to improve them further. These are the things to avoid:

  • Don’t tell me what you’re going to do – just do it
  • Don’t spend ages building up to a point – just make it
  • Don’t make general points about the poems – be specific
  • Use evidence to support all your points after the introduction
  • Analyse small, relevant, carefully chosen quotations in as much depth and detail as possible – quality rather than quantity
  • Keep your comparisons brief, relevant and thoughtful – explain why this comparison is relevant to the question, what insight it gives us into the characters, themes, ideas, why the two poems are similar/different…

Task: What does this sample introduction do well? How could it be changed or improved? Save a copy of this document in your area and type your ideas underneath or in comment boxes.

Sample Introduction

The speaker of ‘Havisham’ (Hav) explores the conflicting emotions caused by a broken relationship which ended many years in the past. The speaker of ‘Kid’ also reflects on a past relationship which caused him pain, but he seems to have more successfully broken free from the bonds that were created within it. The tone of the titles encapsulates these differences: the pejorative label ‘Kid’ indicates that the speaker no longer feels like the child in this relationship, whereas ‘Hav’ lacks the title of Miss or Mrs, implying that she will be forever caught between these two identifying labels due to the destruction of her relationship.


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