Writing about Poetry


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Writing about Poetry
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Consider the notes you’ve read in this lesson about how to read and understand poetry. 

1. Choose a poem we read in this lesson (listed here) and re-read it. 

  • “The Act” (in lesson)
  • “Introduction to Poetry” (in textbook)
  • “At a Certain Age” (in lesson)
  • “For a Father” (in lesson)
  • “For a Lady I Know” (in textbook)
  • “Sonnet 130” (in textbook)
  • “Making a Fist” (in lesson)

2. Write a journal entry (about 200 words long) in which you explain (don’t just summarize or re-state) the following:

  • The moment: What event, observation, feeling, memory, experience or occasion is being recounted or described in this poem?
  • The feeling: Who is the speaker and how do they feel about the subject they are exploring in this poem? What words or phrases are used to clearly portray the speaker’s feeling?
  • The punch: What is the purpose of this poem? What expression or statement is being made? What dynamic elements are used to make the purpose clear? Where is the poem most powerful?

Write in clear and complete sentences, proofread carefully, and be sure to include the name of the poem and poet. Don’t attach a document, but type (or paste) text into the text box for the journal entry. There are no formatting requirements. You are encouraged to use quotations from the poem to support or illustrate your points, but otherwise, don’t consult any outside sources or website. Rely on your reading of the poem and the information from our lesson. 

Remember that your classmates can read your journal entry. You are not required to respond to a classmate, but you are allowed to read each others’ entries.

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