English Literature KS3 / GCSE: Out of the Blue' by Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage reads his own poem ‘Out of the Blue’, and talks about why he wrote it.

He explains the narrator’s voice, and how it was inspired by a real-life image of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

He analyses the poem’s structure and language, over documentary footage of the attack.

He considers a girder from the towers at the Imperial War Museum North, and how he incorporated these objects into the language of the poem.

He talks about how his use of repetition represents the wobbly camera footage of the event. Contains images of the 9/11 attack that some viewers may find upsetting. Teacher review recommended prior to use in class.

Teacher Notes

Can be used as a way of studying how the poetic form and choice of structure can help us to document and deal with some of the biggest and most important issues and events of our times.

Students can analyse and comment on Armitage's use of structure in the poem, for example, the shape of the poem reflecting the towers, the ordered structure of the poem containing tension before a climax or explosion of something, the repetition representing the shaking hand-held camera work and so on.

On a template showing the outline of The Twin Towers on the New York skyline, students could summarise their ideas and findings.

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.