Poetry has existed long before since the early centuries. Song is one form of poetry. It is an art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities. Usually a poet doesn't use direct language to explain things. We will need to expand the literal meaning of the words to read between the lines, and then be able to evoke emotional or sensory responses.

Some say English literature is a difficult subject, however literature is the only subject which is very subjective and values readers opinions and views. There are a lot of reasons why you should study English Literature.  

This allows students to gain deeper insight and ability to percept life into their imagination and respond to the emotion of the poem. Just imagine how you'd love to listen to a happy song to make you happy and how emotionally sad you are when you listen to a sad song. 

Life without poetry will be as dull as life without colors

“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks”

-Plutarch

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What Can We Gain From Learning Poems?

learning poetry
Learning poetry can broaden up your horizon and gives you a different look in life. (Source: Pexels)

Being a poet is everybody’s dream. Being able to express oneself in a way that can only be understood by another poet. A poet will try to capture everybody’s emotion. There are few skills that you’ll acquire when you learn poetry. 

One of them is the knowledge in critical thinking. Poetry isn’t as direct as any type of writing. Sometimes a flower can be referred to a girl while a bug can be referred to a man. 

“Bunga bukan sekuntum, kumbang bukan seekor”

-Malay proverb

The malay proverb above, which can be translated as ‘that is not the only flower, that is not the only bug’. As mentioned, this is what we call simile. In the same context the meaning is that there is not only one lady and one man, so in a way we know that we shouldn't depend on that one person and we can just move on to another person without being so desperate.

In a way, poetry allows students to read between lines. Nonetheless, it can also mean another thing. We can also have a different understanding such as it is okay to be friends with a lot of people, man, or girl as Bunga bukan sekuntum, kumbang bukan seekor. 

In poetry, we value everyone's views and opinions. The way one person interprets one sentence can be different. Students who learn poetry are able to learn the further usage of English language and see how English has been developed since the era of Shakespeare where during that time they’d used ‘thee’ instead of ‘you’.

By reading poetry, readers can be more empathetic and able to learn more on human’s nature and behavior as most poetry revolves around the living things around the poet. Here are a few things that poetry teaches students.

  • Identify and describe different types of setting in poems
  • Differentiate between literal and underlying meaning
  • Analyse, interpret and discuss themes, messages and issues
  • Communicate an informed personal response with reference to texts
  • Identify, describe and explain the effects of poetic devices
  • Plan and produce creative works based on poems

You can read more on SPM English Literature Novel questions.

What is The Poem Question Format?   

Poem questions will come out at the end of the SPM English Literature which is at Section C. You’ll have to understand all the 10 poems as the questions will randomly pick 2 poems and you’ll answer only 1 question (1 poem)

Since ‘Address to a Child During a Boisterous Winter Evening’ has been excluded from the syllabus, therefore, you wouldn't need to read about it anymore.

There will be 2 parts in each question. You will need to answer both parts to get a total mark of 30 and the weightage for each part is the same, 15 marks each.

Here is the Performance Levels for Poetry in the Standard Document for Curriculum and Assessment drafted by the Examination Boards of Malaysia. 

PERFORMANCE LEVEL
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS GUIDE DESCRIPTORS (POETRY)
1Pupils can:
· show very limited understanding in interpreting and analysing poem.
· state positive or negative response to text.
· produce creative works with full guidance.
2· show limited understanding in interpreting and analysing poem.
· communicate personal responses with hardly any reference to text.
· produce creative works with some guidance.
3· show sufficient understanding in interpreting and analysing poem.
· provide a relevant personal response with some reference to text.
· produce creative works with limited textual evidence.
4· show good understanding in interpreting and analysing poems.
· provide a reasonably developed personal response with reference to text.
· produce creative works with sufficient textual evidence.
5· show critical understanding in interpreting and analysing poem.
· communicate a perceptive personal response with reference to text.
· produce creative works independently with relevant textual evidence.
6· show in-depth understanding in interpreting and analysing poem.
· show individuality and insight through a perceptive personal response with reference to text.
· produce well planned creative works independently with precise textual evidence.

(Source: Malaysian Ministry of Education, MOE)

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What is the Poem That Will Come Out in SPM 2021?   

There are 10 titles to learn in SPM English Literature 2021 which are:

  • The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, By Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) 
  • Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, By William Wordsworth (1770-1850) 
  • The Tyger, By William Blake (1757-1827) 
  • To Autumn, By John Keats (1795-1821) 
  • London, By William Blake (1757-1827) 
  • The Little Black Boy, By William Blake (1757-1827) 
  • If, By Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) 
  • Miners, By Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) 
  • Half-Term, By U.A. Fanthorpe (1929-2009) 
  • Address to A Child During A Boisterous Winter Evening, By Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855)

You should bear in mind that a poem by Dorothy Wordsworth, Address to A Child During A Boisterous Winter Evening, won’t be coming out for SPM 2021. It is said the poem has been taken out from the syllabus.  

Meanwhile ‘If’ is one of the most favourite poems as it teaches the student on how to cope with the real world. 

We also covered some tips on answering SPM English Literature Short Stories questions.

What are SPM Poetry Sample Questions?

two girls reading together
Same as the children books we read as a child, poetry questions also emphasize the same elements in literature such as the plot and moral of the story. (Source:Unsplash)

Poetry questions wouldn't stray away from all the basic literary elements such as plot, settings, characters, literary or poetic devices, themes and values and point of views.

Check out these poetry SPM past years questions. 

THEME – Lessons in Life

  1. Describe the future the persona imagines her beloved will have once she passes away in the poem Remember by Christina Rossetti. 
  2. “In every cry of every man … The mind-forged manacles I hear.” Discuss this statement in relation to William Blake’s image of the city in his poem London
  3. Explain any three virtues that you have learnt from the poem If by Rudyard Kipling.
  4. Learning is a lifelong process. Discuss this statement with close reference to the poem A Little Learning by Alexander Pope

THEME – Nature

  1. Describe the moose as it wanders in the forest in the poem Mooses by Ted Hughes. 
  2. The poem The Tyger by William Blake can be seen as a celebration of God’s creation. Do you agree? Discuss this statement with close reference to the text. 
  3. Explain how the persona shows the beauty of winter in the poem Winter by Andrew Young.
  4. Nature has the ability to provide comfort. Discuss this statement with reference to the poem Daffodils by William Wordsworth.

THEME – People

  1. How are the miners similar to soldiers at war in the poem Miners by Wilfred Owen?
  2. There is an abundance of wealth and beauty in nature. Discuss the statement above with close reference to the poem The Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe. 
  3. Explain what you have learnt from the woman in the poem Field of Vision by Seamus Heaney
  4. The older we grow, the more we cherish things that are dear to us. Discuss this statement with close reference to the poem Best Bone by Paul Hyland.

You are now able to read on SPM English Literature Drama tips.

What are the Study Tips for English Literature Course?

reading a novel on bed
It’s better to start early in your revisions so you won’t end up cramming everything before the exam. (Source: Pexels)

There are no greater tips for learning English Literature besides reading more books to increase your vocabulary and understanding in the English language. However, you can definitely score your English literature paper if you do all of these things. 

Tips for answering English literature papers.

  1. Read the literature books multiple time
  2. Jot down the best event for each of the literary elements 
  3. Make mind map on the flow of event plot
  4. Be absorbed in both protagonist and antagonist
  5. Find the sample literature questions from any resources
  6. Start reading early and not towards the end of semester!

Plus, do a lot of past year questions to get the hang of answering SPM formatted questions. You may find out where to get SPM English Literature Resource Materials.

All being said, learning literature involves patience and passion. You need to instil the love of reading as you will need to read and read and read the same literary texts all over again to understand the context.

Well, you’ll be surprised each time you read the literature texts as you will always find new emotions, different kinds of excitement and learn more deeply about the texts. 

If you find it hard to focus and understand the literary elements or lack confidence to answer English Literature for SPM with flying colours, do not hesitate to find yourself a peer or literature teacher to help you. Well, Superprof is all you need now. 

Find experienced English Literature tutors in your neighbourhood with Superprof now! It can never be too late to start and never too complicated to find yourself a good teacher within budget but excellent at the same time with Superprof.

Check out the Complete Guide for SPM English Literature 2021.

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Alia

Alia Jamaludin is known as a passionate environmentalist and animal lover. By being both educator and writer, she can reach out her positive thought to almost every being on this planet.