Poetry Analysis and Close Reading: A Display of Mackerel by Mark Doty

Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Higher Education, Adult Education
Formats Included
  • PDF
15 pages
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Poetry : Poem : Mark Doty : A Display of Mackerel
Poem Analysis Close Reading

Teaching poetry is an enjoyable experience when you are teaching a poem that students want to dig into and you have all of the support material you need at your disposal. Mark Doty’s, “A Display of Mackerel” is a poem that students love for the language, the images they visualize, and—for some—the content: fish. “A Display of Mackerel” is just the right length for a class period*, is challenging enough to elicit higher order thinking without being overly difficult, and it appeals to a wide variety of students.

Included In This Resource:

For You:
--Poem Overview: Standards, Resource List, Why Teach This Poem?, --Poem Information (format, content, literary devices used, etc.), links to the poem, links to other support materials that can be used with this lesson
--Step-by-Step Procedures—Easy to follow plans make this lesson ready-to-teach!
--Answer Keys for all student handouts

For Students:
--Poem Introduction and Analysis—3 pages
--Two constructed responses—Use one or both.

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FRESCA: Main Idea and Supporting Details

RL. 9 – 10, 11 – 12.1 Inference/ Explicit Evidence
RL. 9 – 10, 11 – 12.2 Themes (two or more)
RL. 9 – 10, 11 – 12.4 Words
RL. 9 – 10, 11 – 12.5 Text Structure
Total Pages
15 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful.
Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.


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