Interpreture has developed a reputation for high quality English Literature revision content, and now we are building on this with new Poems of the Decade Example Questions by Interpreture, so that you can develop your skills ready for the Poems of the Decade exam. If you have any questions or suggestions for content in addition to what is listed, be sure to leave a comment or contact us.

There are three categories of questions on this page, split into multiple difficulty ratings. More questions will be available before the 2018 exams.

  • Essay questions on individual poems (For AS and A Level)
  • Comparison questions for studied poems (For AS and A Level)
  • Comparison questions with studied and unseen poems (For A Level)

Additional Revision Resources

Please note – a copy of the Poems of the Decade Anthology will be required in order to complete some of the Poems of the Decade example questions, as we are unable to publish poems in full on Interpreture due to copyright descriptions. We have a full and growing range of example questions which use other non-prescribed poems from this anthology, making it an effective way to practice post-2000 poetry analysis, particularly for unseen poems.

If you need help with any of the prescribed poems, analysis and commentary is available by clicking here. They analyse key points about the poems, and help develop your skills with questions and thoughts. You can also see our range of teaching resources for this topic by clicking here.

Poems of the Decade Example Questions

Questions on Individual Poems

Use these questions to practice your essential essay writing skills, and consolidate your understanding of individual prescribed poems.

Difficulty Rating: Normal

  • How are transgressions portrayed in ‘Eat Me’ by Patience Agbabi, and how do they impact a reader?
  • In what ways is ‘History’ by John Burnside crafted so as to be an emotional poem?
  • What effect does humour have on a reader in ‘Ode on a Grayson Perry Urn’ by Tim Turnbull?
  • How are personal experiences explored in ‘The Furthest Distances I’ve Travelled’ by Leonita Flynn?
  • In what ways is a feeling of loss presented in ‘Material’ by Ros Barber?
  • How does Tishani Doshi attempt to shock a reader in ‘The Deliverer’?
  • Explore the ways in which destruction is portrayed in ‘The Gun’ by Vicki Feaver.

Difficulty Rating: Hard

  • Explore the ways in which femininity and masculinity are contrasted in ‘The Chainsaw Versus The Pampas Grass’ by Simon Armitage.
  • In what ways is ‘History’ by John Burnside crafted so as to be an emotional poem?
  • Explore the emotion of fear in ‘A Minor Role’ by UA Fanthorpe.
  • How are the concepts of transition and change explored in ‘An Easy Passage’ by Julia Copus?
  • How are personal struggles explored in ‘The Lammas Hireling’ by Ian Duhig?

Comparison Questions for Studied Poems

Use these questions to practice integrating comparison into essays, and strengthen your understanding of the prescribed poems, or as AS Level practice questions.

Difficulty Rating: Normal

  • Re read ‘To My Nine-Year-Old Self’ by Helen Dunmore and ‘From the Journal of a Disappointed Man’ by Andrew Motion. Compare the ways in which both poets portray personal experiences.
  • Compare the way death is presented in ‘On Her Blindness’ by Adam Thorpe and ‘Effects’ by Alan Jenkins.
  • Compare how the idea of nostalgia is explored in ‘Material’ by Ros Barber and ‘To My Nine-Year-Old Self’ by Helen Dunmore.
  • Compare the presentation of strong emotions in ‘Please Hold’ by Ciaran O’Driscoll and ‘History’ by John Burnside.
  • Compare the presentation of family in ‘Genetics’ by Sinead Morrissey and ‘Out of the Bag’ by Seamus Heaney.

Difficulty Rating: Hard

  • Compare the ways in which personal development and experience are presented in ‘The Furthest Distances I’ve Travelled’ by Leonita Flynn and ‘An Easy Passage’ by Julia Copus
  • Compare how dark aspects of human nature are portrayed in ‘The Deliverer’ by Tishani Doshi and ‘Giuseppe’ by Roderick Ford.
  • Compare the way in which Andrew Motion in ‘ From the Journal of a Disappointed Man’ and John Burnside in ‘History’ portray observations of the world.

Difficulty Rating: Challenging

  • Compare the ways in which transitions are explored in ‘The Furthest Distances I’ve Travelled’ by Leonita Flynn and ‘Giuseppe’ by Roderick Ford.
  • Explore and compare the ways in which readers are made complicit in the events of ‘The Gun’ by Vicki Feaver and ‘The Deliverer’ by Tishani Doshi.
  • Compare the ways in which human emotions are depicted in ‘Please Hold’ by Ciaran O’Driscoll and ‘An Easy Passage’ by Julia Copus.
  • Compare the ways in which personal struggles are explored in ‘The Lammas Hireling’ by Ian Duhig and ‘Look We Have Coming to Dover!’ by Daljit Nagra.
  • Compare the various ways in which concepts relating to maturity are explored in ‘The Gun’ by Vicki Feaver and ‘Ode on a Grayson Perry Urn’ by Tim Turnbull.

Comparison Questions for Studied and Unseen Poetry

Use these questions to practice your essential analysis and comparison skills, either as a challenge for AS practice, or for the A Level exam.

Difficulty Rating: Normal

  • Read ‘Cooking with Blood’ (page 67) by Linda France and re-read ‘Eat Me’ by Patience Agbabi. Compare the ways in which both poets explore human desire.
  • Read ‘The Uncles’ (page 72) by John Goodby and re-read ‘From the Journal of a Disappointed Man’ by Andrew Motion. Compare the exploration of masculinity.

Difficulty Rating: Hard

  • Read ‘The Far Side of the Island’ (page 56) by Paul Durcan and re-read ‘The Furthest Distances I’ve Travelled’ by Leonita Flynn. Compare the ways in which both poets portray new experiences.
  • Read ‘Song’ (page 168)* by George Szirtes and re-read ‘A Minor Role’ by UA Fanthorpe. Compare how ideas relating to hope are presented.

Difficulty Rating: Challenging

  • Read ‘A Leisure Centre is also a Temple of Learning’ (page 23)by Sue Boyle and re-read ‘Out of the Bag’ by Seamus Heaney. Compare the ways generational change is explored.
  • Read ‘The Fox In the National Museum of Wales’ (page 121)* by Robert Minhinnick and re-read ‘Ode on a Grayson Perry Urn’ by Tim Turnbull. Compare the ways both poets explore time and transition.

* These poems were previously prescribed by Edexcel, and as such we have commentary and analysis available


These Poems of the Decade example questions have been created as an aid for your revision by Interpreture, and are not created or endorsed by Edexcel. You should always speak to your teacher for specific information regarding what you are studying and what resources are best for you.

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