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Paul Durcan Leaving Certificate English Poetry, Essential Revision Notes

Table of Contents

How do I use these notes?2

What is the poetry section all about?3

How do I approach it?3

How do I structure my response?3

What should to be in my answer?4

Terms to remember4

Paul Durcan5


The Girl with the Keys to Pearse’s Cottage7

The Difficulty that is Marriage8

Wife Who Smashed Television Gets Jail9


En Famille, 197911


“Windfall,” 8 Parnell Hill, Cork12

Six Nuns Die in Convent Inferno16


Father’s Day, 21 June 199223

The Arnolfini Marriage25

Ireland 200226

Rosie Joyce27

The MacBride Dynasty30


How do I use these notes?

These notes will serve as a companion to your studies on these poets and their poems. In each poet’s section you will find both background information on the poet and then analyses of their poems. The poem will also be presented (with line numbers for ease of use). The aspects of the poems that will be covered include:


Title: This will be a brief analysis of the title, prior to reading. The title often becomes clearer after a close reading and understanding of the poem.


Summary: Here we will briefly explain what the poem is actually saying. 


Poetic Techniques: These are the figurative devices that you will find in “Terms to Remember” below. Here we have pointed out the main devices used and given a brief overview about how they are used.


Themes: Some of the major themes of the poem will be listed. This is not an all-encompassing list; there may be more themes that you feel are addressed in the poem.


Tone: Tone is also open to interpretation. While one reader may feel that the tone is apathetic, another reader might find it hopeless or sad. After reading the poem fully, write down your own list of adjectives that you feel describe the poem. These are the tone of the poem from your own perspective. Make sure, however, that you a...

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