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Each of you will receive a different poem and present it to the class. Yourpresentation will involve interpreting the poem for the class (not just reading it in monotone) and then discuss it as we’ve discussed poetry before. The following guidelines should help you in your presentation.
First, read the poem. Read it a second time, out loud. Look up words you don’t understand. Paraphrase the stanzas in your own words, if you find that helpful. Re-read the poem to see if you missed anything. When you’ve read it at least twice, write 1-2 sentences regarding what the poem is about—should be strictly subject matter.
Then, start looking at the form of the poem. Is there any meter? Rhyme scheme? Is it a specific type of poem? Free verse? Sonnet? Ballad? Epistolary?
If you’re struggling with this part, go ahead and ask for help—ask your friends, ask other teachers, check the internet. The first step is to figure out what the poem is about, and how the form of it reflects the content.
Then, start looking on a deeper level. Look for those literary devices (simile,metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia, puns, hyperboles, repetition, irony, paradox, oxymoron, anaphora, alliteration, allusion, parallel construction, rhetorical questions…check out the glossary of your book…or you could go through notes and look at the ones we talked about this year.) Once you’ve identified these items, you have to connect them to something. You’ve identified them—how do they add to the over all poem? It might be helpful to go on to the next step before trying to do this.
Most literary devices will support the theme of the poem in someway. So, what’s the theme? What deeper meaning or point is the author trying to make? The comparison might relate to it in some way. Is the speaker of the poem sick of being treated some way? Maybe that’s why there’s so much repetition that stops suddenly. Your literary devices should affect theme or tone. Remember—tone is the feeling you get from the poem.
Look at the style of the poem—the word choice, the line breaks, the images.Where is there good imagery? How does it support the poem? Why did the poet choose the words s/he did? Remember, each author chooses specific words for specific reasons. Why a black horse and not any other color of horse? Why is the poem set in fall rather than spring? Check the punctuation; this will help you with the interpretation, but we’ve talking about the importance of punctuation.
At this point, you might want to do a couple of different things. Looking up some background on the author might not be a bad idea. Figuring out if there are any modern situations that relate to the poem might help others relate to it. What else is interesting about the poem? What do you like about it? It’s okay if you don’t like it; even if you don’t like it, you still have to present it.
About this Document
Made to go along with the Harlem Renaissance poets, this poetry research and presentation assignment can be adapted to fit any type of poetry.