English Literature KS3 / GCSE: Simon Armitage on his poem 'The Manhunt'

Simon Armitage analyses the themes and ideas behind his war poem ‘The Manhunt’ and considers the language it uses.

His comments are accompanied by a reading of the poem, mixed with images to illustrate its meaning and documentary footage from modern conflicts.

Armitage talks about his inspiration for the poem, some of the unusual vocabulary within it and the responsibility he feels to write a suitable elegy for real people involved in warfare.

He examines the metaphor and structural devices he uses to explore the effects of conflict from a deeply personal perspective of a real soldier.

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

Teacher Notes

Students could carry out some prior research into the condition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in people who have experienced conflict.

They could produce a one-page army dossier on the troubled subject of the poem, a soldier called Eddie, incorporating ideas from the text.

This could help students to uncover some of the military themed language in the poem.

Students could then go on to examine his wife Laura's response to the dossier (perhaps as a letter in reply to the army) and her attempts to use much more figurative language, in order to deal with the real horror of the situation.

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.

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