English Literature KS3 / GCSE: Simon Armitage on his poem 'A Vision'

Simon Armitage reads his poem ‘A Vision’ and talks about the inspiration, themes, structure and vocabulary that went into creating it.

We see him with a town planner’s model, and he explains how the memory of one he saw in childhood inspired the poem.

He reflects on the ordered structure of architectural plans and how he incorporated the same order into the poem’s structure.

He moves to a rubbish dump, to talk about the pessimistic attitude at the end of the poem, and how the passage of time affects our optimism.

His reading of the poem is combined with an explanation and analysis of some key words and phrases, illustrated with a series of visual images.

This clips is from the series Simon Armitage: Writing Poems.

Teacher Notes

Can be used to help students in exploring the use of form in poetry.

Armitage is clear that he purposefully employed an 'architectural' form in the poem, to reflect the major themes he explores. Can students annotate the poem exploring examples of an architectural form or structure?

What does this choice of form bring to the poem and how does it add to our understanding of Armitage's pre-occupations in the poem?

Is the structure a force for good or is there something more uncomfortable implied by this structure?

Students could add cuttings or sketches of buildings to border the text. Can they draw shapes around the stanzas to reflect architecture?

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching English Literature.

It will be relevant for teaching poetry analysis at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Level 3 in Scotland.

At KS4/GCSE, this poem appears in the AQA pre-2015 poetry anthology.

Other works by this poet appear in the Edexcel, OCR and WJEC pre-2015 poetry anthologies, and in the AQA,Edexcel and WJEC/Eduqas post-2015 anthologies.

This clip could also be used for teaching general poetry analytics skills at KS4/GCSE/National 5.