Teachers of English experience significant pressure in attempting to meet the requirements of the national examination system, while also seeking to uphold their own ideological and philosophical perspectives on the value of poetry. Drawing on a mixed method study into the teaching of poetry at post-primary level in Ireland conducted between 2007 and 2010, this paper examines current methodological trends in poetry pedagogy. The research identifies a marked imbalance in the prioritisation of pupil development, with many teachers privileging the cognitive development of pupils’ poetic understanding over the affective. The paper also suggests limited attention to the interwoven dimensions of the affective and cognitive domains in the teaching of poetry at senior cycle level in Irish schools. This paper advocates the need to support teachers to develop an integrated pedagogy for teaching poetry in second-level schools, which engages both the critical and the creative in a meaningful manner.