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7 Steps to Your Ultimate Success! Reading Poetry.

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Presentation on theme: "7 Steps to Your Ultimate Success! Reading Poetry."— Presentation transcript:

1 7 Steps to Your Ultimate Success! Reading Poetry

2 1. Before You Start Your Analysis Before you analyse any text, you need to do some research Find any words that you are unfamiliar with and define them Do some research on the author or poet in order to gain some insight into their genre of writing (For example: John Keats is a Romantic poet – what does that mean? Charles Bukowski is a beat poet – what affect does this have on his subject matter?)

3 Title. First thing’s first. Consider the title of the poem. Speculate what the poem might be about based on the title. Read the poem aloud multiple times. Let’s Begin with “betting on the muse” by Charles Bukowski

4 2. Topics, Subjects What is the poem about? There is almost always more than one answer to this question. For example-the first stanza in Charles Bukowski’s “betting on the muse” is about: a) Two athletes who, despite successful careers, ended up in unfavourable circumstances b) The fate of an athlete who grows old and the difficulties this presents c) Older athletes being replaced by younger ones as they age Note that these are three answers (and there may be more possibilities) reflect some degree of analysis on the reader’s part.

5 3. Speaker, Persona, or Voice Whose voice is speaking the poem? If it’s not distinctively defined, or it seems to want to be the poet himself or herself, refer to it as the speaker. Do NOT assume that the speaker is the poet. If it’s a clearly defined personality, refer to it as the persona, and define it as clearly as you can.

6 4. Tone, Mood, and Atmosphere What tone of voice do you hear in the poem: angry? harsh? bitter? reflective? meditative? cheerful? Does the tone change as the poem progresses? What kind of mood does it put the reader in? Atmosphere in a poem is the same as atmosphere in a place, or in a group of people, or anywhere. It can be tense, happy, gloomy, claustrophobic, and so on. How is the atmosphere achieved in the poem? Through images? diction? setting?

7 Does the feeling of the poem change at all from beginning to end? If so, can you identify why the change occurs? Does the change in mood correspond to any other changes, such as changes in rhythm or rhyme? Or changes in structure? For example: How does the feeling in “betting on the muse” change in the last stanza? How is this change reflected structurally?

8 5. Images Give the reader a mental picture, which contributes to the meaning of the poem Are often introduced as comparisons, through the use of literary devices Think carefully and creatively about images: go beyond the visual, and let yourself feel, touch, and hear all the associations the image has for you. Then take those thoughts back to the poem. Ask yourself about the particular effects of the images, particularly the ones which surprise you. For example, water usually symbolizes life, spirituality, rebirth, growth, cleansing, etc.

9 6. Structure and Development Look for formal structure, such as the sonnet form, rhythm, rhyme, the shape on the page, patterns (motifs), etc. Note the organization of lines, and whether or not they use enjambment or other variations on the verse line Denote rhyme scheme using lower case letters For example: The first 8 lines in an Italian sonnet have the following rhyme pattern: a b b a a b b a

10 7. Theme (Statement) Central thought of the poem as a whole. It is not the same as the subject or topic of the poem, but a statement that the poem makes about the topic. Once you have thought through all the preceding components on this PowerPoint ask yourself again: What is this poem about? Consider: Is there an implied narrative or story in the poem? Or an explicit narrative? Does the speaker/persona learn anything? What and how? Next, consider the theme/lesson or main message that is meant to be learnt. The theme should be stated in sentence form.

11 Creative extension Consider the following project and note how the theme, the tone and the images have been incorporated to reflect this student’s understanding and purpose of the poem.

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