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Choose any poem(s) or song(s) as the basis of your Poetry Critique. Which question will you answer and what ideas do you have about your piece before you submit it further?
Interpretation of Poetry Critique Prompts
- Characterize the speaker of any poem. Present a sketch of the speaker’s character by referring to the language of the poem. Consider not only what the speaker says but the manner in which it is said and what it reveals about the speaker.
- Describe the narrative element in any poem. Consider how important its “story” or narrative material is, and what would be gained or lost without it. Consider also how the narrative dimension of the poem would work as a story, play, or essay.
- Explicate the opening lines of a poem. Explain the significance of the lines in the context of the poem overall.
- Explicate the closing lines of a poem. Consider how they can be related to earlier lines.
- Select two or more key lines from a short poem (or groups of lines from longer ones). Explain their significance and consider their relationship to one another.
- Read five or more poems by the same poet and discuss the features they have in common.
- Analyze a single poem that is representative of a poet’s work. Explain what makes the poem representative.
- Analyze the diction or word choices of a poem. Consider other words the poet could have chosen. Examine the denotations and connotations of the words the poet chose. Use your analysis of the diction to develop an interpretation of the poem.
- Analyze the imagery of a poem. List the poem’s significant details (if a long poem) or all the details if it’s short. Discuss what the images contribute to the poem’s tone, feeling, and/or meaning.
- Analyze the figurative language in a poem. Identify and explain each figure of speech and discuss its function in the poem overall.
- Discuss the ironic dimensions of a poem. Identify examples of irony, and explain their significance and effect.
- Identify the allusions in a poem and explain what they contribute to your understanding of it.
- Analyze the structure of a poem. Consider both its overall structure and its small-scale structure-how the individual parts are themselves are organized. Identify the main parts of the poem and comment on their relationship to each other.
- Analyze the sound effects of a poem. Explain how the sound contributes to its sense and spirit.
- Analyze the rhythm and meter of a poem. Identify its prevailing metrical pattern. Acknowledge any deviations from this meter and comment on the significance of these deviations. Consider what the poem’s rhythm and meter contribute to its overall meaning and feeling.
Evaluation of Poetry Critique Responses
- Discuss the values exemplified in one or more poems. Consider, that is, the cultural, moral, social, or ethical norms that either appear explicitly in the poem(s) or are implied by it. Identify those values, relate them to your own, and comment on their significance.
- Compare two poems, evaluating their literary and linguistic merit. Explain what the two poems have in common, how they differ, and why one is superior to the other.
- Evaluate a poem from the standpoint of its literary excellence. Explain why you consider it to be an effective or ineffective poem.