The context in which a poem was written can sometimes tell you more about its themes, message and meaning.

Some questions you might ask include:

  • are aspects of the poet's life reflected in the poem?
  • is the time or place in which it was written reflected in the poem?

You will need to research the poet’s background to discover answers to these questions. But if you do write about a poem and its context, be careful to include only details that reveal something about the poem.

Context of 'Letters from Yorkshire'

A open white envelope with light shining from it
A number of Maura Dooley's poems focus on the theme of communication

Maura Dooley was born in Truro, Cornwall in 1957 and grew up in Bristol. She worked in Yorkshire for a time and has lived in London. There are details in the poem which suggest it may draw on personal experience, but we can't assume this to be the case.

Maura Dooley has written other poems which focus on the theme of communication; notably her 1997 poem The Message, which was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize.

More about commenting on context.