Images, Connections, Perspectives – the poetry of Robert Gray

In the new Stage 6 HSC English course, Module B Close Study of Text has been replaced by Module B Close Study of Literature. Some aspects of the module are similar, yet students need to consider how their prescribed text explores and represents issues.

Here are some important slides from my recent HSC Enrichment Seminar presentation at Dubbo. Clearly, this one hour session is a summary and does not equal the many weeks and lessons students would have participated in during their study at school.

Making Connections

In developing study notes, students could make connections between and among this suite of poems, perhaps even using colour to highlight key ideas. Here’s how my current Year 12 students began sharing their connections:

Preparation for the Trial and HSC exams should include writing extended responses, in various forms, under exam-like conditions. This will encourage students to manage their time effectively by planning and editing, as well as develop a model of response writing that can be continued when students finish formal schooling. It is important for students to remain ‘match ready’ for the ‘big game’ ahead – this includes regular handwriting over sustained periods of time.

The following question has been taken from the NESA website – the authority has not prepared sample papers as such for the new syllabus, but released a range of ‘exemplar’ questions.

As a class, we

  • identified where the poem extract comes from – context – and any possible implications associated with the final stanza
  • considered what the question was asking us to do by identifying the key terms
  • brainstorming meanings and synonyms for these terms
  • choosing individual poems that would work best with this extract and poem – contrast, similarities / differences in concepts, style, language features
  • planning and drafting a thesis

Students will be completing a response, under exam conditions, in their next lesson.

Sources and Resources

  • NSW Education Standards Authority
  • Excel Year 12 Standard English Bianca Hewes, Pascal Press 2019
  • The Cohen Curricula HSC Teacher Resource: Module B: Close Study of Literature 2019-2023 Standard English: The Poetry of Robert Gray
  • Coast Road – selected poems Robert Gray, Black Inc, 2014

*featured image, and those used in slides, are from the Robert Gray website

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