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 'Winter Swans'

A close-up of a couple holding hands
Owen Sheers explores identity and relationships in many of his poems

Owen Sheers is an award-winning poet, novelist and playwright. In his poetry Sheers often writes about places, landscapes and the people who live in them. His work explores history, identity and relationships and he likes to explore the difficulties people face in simply trying to live.

More about commenting on context.