Responding to Poetry.
Name of poem: __________________________________________________________
Name of author: ___________________________________________________________
1. What is this poem about? First, start by simply explaining the basic situation. For example, you could say “this poem is about a grown man thinking back on his childhood and his relationship to his father.” Then explain the overall point or attitude of the poem towards its subject. “When the speaker was a child, he didn’t appreciate everything his father did for him. Now that he is grown, he realizes how much his father loved him. He feels sad for not having appreciated his father more.”
2. What is most striking to you about this poem? Poets love to experiment with language. This can include all sorts of things, such as the structure of the poem (the way it looks on the page), the sound of the words, the word choice, the rhythm, and so forth. What stands out the most for you when you read this poem?
3. Point out and discuss at least three literary techniques used in this poem (for example, imagery, tone, structure, rhythm, rhyme, etc.). After pointing out the techniques, then discuss how these techniques contribute to the overall theme of the poem. For example, you could say, “this sing-songy rhyme scheme contrasts strikingly with the dark topic of the poem, creating a feeling of dissonance.”
4. How does the poem develop? In other words, how does it change from beginning to end? Does the speaker realize something new? Does he or she change emotionally?
5. What do you think is the main idea, emotion, or impression the poem is trying to communicate?
6. What is your personal response to this poem? Here you can be totally subjective and say something like “I like this poem because of its depiction of love” or “I don’t understand why such and such happened.” It’s OK to say if you liked it or didn’t like it, but please explain WHY.
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