Many students face a real challenge when analyzing poetry as demonstrated by the fact that students generally do not perform as well on the poetry essay question as they do on the, other more prose-oriented essay questions. Students also experience more difficulty on the multiple-choice poetry passages than on the prose passages.
My goal is to use an interactive approach. My initial lessons are about getting students actively engaged through performing poetry. I use weekly exposure to a poem, along with writing analysis chucks that move into essays. I also employ exploring the question of poetry’s personal relevance through our Poetry PBL. All of this is to engage students in embracing poetry’s complexity to move them beyond denotative to connotative meanings. Instead of the listing and labeling and devices, they explore how poets use tools such as imagery, metaphor, personification, and symbolism to develop their tone and attitude towards their subject to convey their meaning.