Analysing the paper

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Some students gain comfort from analysing the poets that have come up in the past. Here is a quick overview of the last few years:

2015
John Montague
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
Robert Frost
Thomas Hardy

2014
W.B. Yeats
Emily Dickinson
Philip Larkin
Sylvia Plath

2013
Elizabeth Bishop
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Derek Mahon
Sylvia Plath

2012
Thomas Kinsella
Adrienne Rich
Philip Larkin
Patrick Kavanagh

2011
Emily Dickinson
W.B. Yeats
Robert Frost
Eavan Boland

2010
W.B. Yeats
Adrienne Rich
Patrick Kavanagh
T.S. Eliot

2009
Derek Walcott
John Keats
John Montague
Elizabeth Bishop

2008
Philip Larkin
John Donne
Derek Mahon
Adrienne Rich

2007
Robert Frost
T.S. Eliot
John Montague
Sylvia Plath

2006
John Donne
Thomas Hardy
Elizabeth Bishop
Michael Longley

2005
Eavan Boland
Emily Dickinson
T.S. Eliot
W.B. Yeats

2004
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Patrick Kavanagh
Derek Mahon
Sylvia Plath

2003
John Donne
Robert Frost
Sylvia Plath
Seamus Heaney

2002
Elizabeth Bishop
Eavan Boland
Michael Longley
Shakespeare’s Sonnets

2001
Elizabeth Bishop
John Keats
Philip Larkin
Michael Longley

Past exam questions on Philip Larkin

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2014
‘Larkin is a perceptive observer of the realities of ordinary life in poems that are sometimes illuminated by images of lyrical beauty.’
To what extent do you agree or disagree with the above statement? Support your answer with reference to both the themes and language found in the poetry of Philip Larkin on your course.

2012
‘Larkin’s poems often reveal moments of sensitivity which lessen the disappointment and cynicism found in much of his work.’
To what extent do you agree with this statement? Support your answer with suitable reference to the poetry of Philip Larkin on your course.

2008
‘Writing about unhappiness is the source of my popularity.’
In the light of Larkin’s own assessment of his popularity, write an essay outlining your reasons for liking / not liking his poetry. Support your points with the aid of suitable reference to the poems you have studied.

2001
Write and essay in which you outline your reasons for liking and / or not liking the poetry of Philip Larkin. Support your points by reference to the poetry of Larkin you have studied.

Questions on Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

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Eiléan Ní Chilleanáin is a relatively new poet on the course and has only appeared once on the Leaving Certificate exam so far. What a lovely question about this wonderful poet!

2015
‘Ní Chuilleanáin’s demanding subject matter and formidable style can prove challenging.’
‘Discuss this statement, supporting your answer with reference to the poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin on your course.

Here are some other sample questions on Ní Chuilleanáin:

‘Ní Chuilleanáin is a truly imaginative poet, exploring other worlds and realms in an inventive fashion.’
Write a response to this statement, supporting your answer with reference to the poems you have studied.

 

‘Ní Chuilleanáin’s poetry reflects her interest in traditional worlds and is rich in symbolism and allusion.’
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this assessment of her poetry? Support your answer with suitable reference to the poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.

 

‘Ní Chuilleanáin writes about people and places in poems full of vivid imagery.’
Write your response to this statement, supporting your answers with suitable reference to the poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin on your course.

 

‘Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin writes on public and private themes in a way that engages and fascinates.’
To what extent do you agree with this statement? Support the points you make with suitable reference to the poems by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin on your course.

 

To help you come to a fuller understanding of this poet’s work, Poetry Ireland has recorded Ní Chuilleanáin reading her poem ‘All For You’. She then gives an interpretation of this poem, along with a discussion of other aspects of poetry. You can watch this recording for yourself here.