Year 10C are looking at poetry in class. They will be writing about an unseen poem in their exam. There is no single way to ‘teach’ poetry. Ms Carroll is unpacking the ‘mystery’ of poetry and revealing the process of understanding and annotating poetry.
Words like ‘suggest’ are often used in poetry analysis because interpretations are subjective.
But does that mean you can say anything about a poem and it will stand? Obviously not.
- personal (reader decides)
- based on evidence
- drawn from reader’s personal experiences
- informed by current emotional history
- reader’s understanding and knowledge
So we bring something to a poem; we are not empty vessels.
So does the writer. The writer is biased and is influenced by things like political views, philosophical understandings, faith, etc.
Understanding a poem combines zooming in to specific words or phrases but also seeing these in context of the whole poem.
Look at how words and stanzas work together.
Don’t talk about terminology on its own; always discuss how it is used to create meaning/effect.
It’s important to think about your understanding as it unfolds in stages, eg.
‘What don’t I get yet?’
Make a habit of looking up words, even if you have a vague idea of their meaning. It’s good to build your knowledge of vocabulary.