Give out a copy of the poem to each student and a highlighter. Ask the students to read 'Belfast Confetti' aloud to one another and silently into themselves highlighting the words or phrases which stand out as they engage with the various readings of the poem.
Ask the students to get into groups of three or four people and to bring their copies of 'Belfast Confetti' with them. In the groups they are going to prepare a reading of the poem. Make the students aware of the range and possibilities of their individual voices (volume, tone, and pace) and then the possibilities of combining voices. Ask them why would they combine voices when reading aloud? What would the effect be of a single voice after a range of combined voices?
Now give the students time to discuss with one another what parts of the poem they highlighted as a way to choose parts of the poem which need attention in the way that they use their voices and to prepare their readings.
As a whole class listen actively to each group's readings of the poem. After each group has read choose a feature of the reading and inquire why it decided to read the poem in that particular way. I heard a reading where one student read the narrative of the poem, and the second student read the names of the punctuation marks, while the third student read when she felt the writer-narrator was speaking.
Using the Poetry Archive, listen attentively to Ciaran Carson's reading of 'Belfast Confetti'. As a whole class of readers and listeners did Carson's reading raise your awareness of any part of the poem that had not already come to your attention?
Give out the A3 paper, scissors and glue. Ask the students to cut around 'Belfast Confetti' and glue the poem into the middle of the A3 page.
The students should reflect on the readings they have made and listened to, and think about the images i.e. pictures in words, that these readings have brought to mind. Ask the students to locate the images in the poem and to draw a line out from the words in the poem and sketch that particular idea for themselves onto the A3 piece of paper. I am always asked about the "Saracen, Kremlin-2 mesh. Makrolon face-shields. Walkie-talkies." Use the Internet to provide images of these vehicles and objects.
Use the plenary to allow the students to tell you what images they have drawn on to their sheets of paper. This will give you the opportunity to make students aware of the variety and nature of the images in the poem. What picture of Belfast is conveyed to the reader? What contribution does punctuation make to the depiction of the effects of violence on people and urban landscape?
Personal and place names are important in the poem. Naming is an important technique in 'Belfast Confetti'. Why does Carson describe as a "labyrinth" the local and well-known streets of his neighbourhood? (complex social geography, historical legacies, communal conflicts). For example, Carson's local street-names are named after military leaders and famous battles dating from 19th century Britain's Age of Empire. Why does the writer-narrator ask the rhetorical question, "What is my name?"