Poetry & Political Language

Taking inspiration from George Orwell's Animal Farm, this resource uses critical thinking and political language to create new poems called 'couplings' (after poets Karen McCarthy Woolf and Malika Booker). Created in partnership with The Orwell Foundation, as part of the 2020 Young Poets Network writing challenge.


Find more prompts on this theme

How do poets use language

Joseph Coelho uses his poem to help students understand how detailed use of language can open up new meanings and impact the poem.  At a glance: literary heritage poets, comparing texts, comprehension, figurative texts, friends and family.


starry sky

The Truth Exposed: 'Polaris'

This lesson plan explores Brigitta McKeever's ‘Polaris’, a winning poem from the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2020.

The activities can be used in a single session, or over a series of sessions.

In this resource, produced by Teacher Trailblazer Stephanie Nobes, students are encouraged to think about the relationship between poetry and objects, the body, and the 'Evolution of Me'. They are also encouraged to analyse the poem with a close focus on features of language, and to write creatively using juxtaposition.


The Battle of Agincourt: Dreaming history

John Lindley challenges young people to explore the history and legacy of an extraordinary conflict. It was created to accompany the Agincourt 600 Poetry Competition. At a glance: the Battle of Agincourt, imagery, sensory language, descriptive writing.


W.B. Yeats - The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Jane Anderson explores one of W.B. Yeats best-loved poems, focussing on his use of sound and rhythm. At a glance: descriptive language, imagery, sound, performance.


Foyle Lesson Plan: A Feast of Words

Using a poem from Sala Fadelallah, Ramnika Sharma explores found objects and lines to inspire poetry writing through group and pair work.  At a glance: poetic devices, unseen poem, speaking and listening, skills, descriptive language and cultural traditions.


The Art of Translation: Making New Versions of Mexican Poems

Don Cellini introduces students to the process of translation, and shows them how to translate themselves using poems by Pedro Serrano. At a glance: translation, descriptive language, imagery, sound.


A journey through the senses

Pupils are encouraged to use their senses and develop an original approach to their writing.  At a glance: the senses, redrafting, language play, feelings and emotion, patterns.


Favourite things

Activities using Barry Turrell's poem 'Lauren' to support pupils in writing their own poems about their favourite things. At a glance: feelings and emotion, friends and family, playing with language, memory, patterns


How to make a poem

Coral Rumble guides students step by step how to write a poem for more reluctant writers.  At a glance: confidence, playing with language, literacy, structure, reluctant writers.