Perhaps we, as teachers, need to drop the scary part of English class -words like application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation or, at least, try to administer it with a "spoon full of sugar." These terms elicit a range of emotions from fear and exasperation to boredom and retreat, all of which do nothing to help students understand poetry. This is what the title of this section attempts to accomplish--- explain analysis in user-friendly terms. Further, to protect my students from feeling overwhelmed by the inaccessibility that sometimes haunts the study of poetry yet provide them with a framework by which they come to appreciate the literal as well as figurative language, I will model the following ways to look at poetry or (
with my class. In order to develop and extend their comprehension, experience with poetics tools must be explored. I also feel that, by modeling this exercise with them, they will realize that conscious thought about, more than meaning, must be considered. That, by focusing in on
the essence of the piece illuminates and clarifies itself. Because tone and drama of the poem is derived from an understanding of meaning and sound of it, we will examine the content, language, imagery, and form, along side, the sound devices, to discover the scope of the poem's story and actually enjoy the genre more significantly.
How We Look at Poetry Questions
(Complete Analysis Sheets
found in appendix) will be presented to each student as we begin to unravel the sound and tapestry of specific poems. It is worth mentioning that definitions are provided in parenthesis on these analysis sheets for any element I believe might baffle or confuse my students and might, therefore, need explanation. In this way, students do not have to search the dictionary for the meaning which could add another layer of frustration for some of them. Some explanations are added for teacher use.
It is also important to note that the break down demonstrated in this analysis is but one way to consider each piece. Each poem does not have to endure this intensive scrutiny but will certainly give the students an understanding of what
be examined when looking at poetry piece in total. When students can then speak intelligently about a poem, they begin to realize how powerful they sound and how much more thoroughly they understand the verse.