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Paper 2

Past Paper Questions

IB Literature

Higher

May 2001
Poetry
2. Either
(a) Drawing on specific poems you have read, say in what ways gender seems to be
important to the poets.
or
(b) .Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from
emotion recollected in tranquillity.
Discuss the part played by memory and recollection in shaping poems you have
read.
May 2003
Poetry
2. Either
(a) Poems work because they recover the surprising, even the shocking, nature of
familiar ideas. Comment on how poets have developed familiar ideas, with close
reference to two or three poems by different poets.
Or
(b) Artifice, we are told, is an important word for poets. With detailed consideration
of the literary techniques employed in two or three poems by different poets, discuss
what that word might mean, and say whether it helps in your appreciation of the
works.
Nov 2003
Poetry
2. Either
(a) At one time, using the language of common speech in poetry was considered
revolutionary. How far and in what ways do you find that 2 or 3 poets in your study
use what you would consider common speech and what are its effects? Use at
least two poems in your essay.
Or
(b) Regular rhythm or the lack of it can be found in various kinds of poetry. How
important has regularity of rhythm been to 2 or 3 poets you have studied? If it is
absent, by what other means have poets been able to differentiate poetry from
prose? Use at least two poems in your essay.

May 2004
Poetry
2. Either
(a) Comment upon the ways in which poets challenge our understanding and
feelings in order to produce new insights. Refer to the work of two or
three poets you have studied.
Or
(b) Form and structure are essential elements of poetry. From a close reading of at
least three poems, compare and contrast the use made of form and structure.

November 2004
Poetry
2. Either
(a) That poetry should teach wisdom or virtue seems to most people a secondary
value, even incompatible with the true function of poetry.
Making clear what you consider to be the true function of poetry, say how far you
believe teaching to be significant to poems you have studied. Use at least
three poems by two different poets.
Or
(b) Poems are structured or arranged in various ways to deliver meaning. Using at
least three poems by two different poets, compare the ways in which structural
features have had an impact on the total effect of the poems.

May 2005
Poetry
2. Either
(a) Drawing on specific poems, compare the ways in which poets present
relationships of various kinds and the role of relationships in the poems. In
each case consider the importance of the relationships to the poem as a
whole. You must refer closely to the work of two or three poets in your
study and base your answers on a total of three or four poems.
Or
(b) Explore how visual imagery contributes to meaning in poems you have studied.
You must refer closely to the work of two or three poets in your study and base your
answers on a total of three or four poems.

May 2007
Poetry
2. Either
(a) A good poem is not merely a collection of poetic devices but the expression,
through such devices, of underlying ideas. With reference to at least two poets you
have studied, discuss the ways in which poetic devices are used to support the
poets ideas.
Or
(b) Ambiguity in a poem is perhaps its greatest attraction. Referring closely to
poems from at least two poets in your study, examine how multiple meanings can
be suggested in a poem.

May 2008
Poetry
2. Either
(a) Some poets look from the particular to the universal to explore human
experience.
Discuss poems from at least two poets in relation to this statement, considering also
the ways in which they achieve their effects.
Or
(b) A poet would like all parts of a poemwords, lines, stanzas, thoughts,
metaphors, rhythmsto work in perfect harmony. To what degree could the poems
you studied be considered unified wholes? You must refer to poems from at least
two poets.

May 2009
Poetry
1. Does knowledge of the background of a poem, whether historical, biographical,
social or otherwise, limit or enhance ones understanding of the work? Refer closely
in your answer to works by at least two poets you have studied.
2. In what ways do poets use the portrayal of landscape to explore human
experience? Referring to works by at least two poets you have studied, consider
this use of landscape.