Close reading and literary analysis are important skills that your students should learn--and with this ready-to-go handout on poetry you can make those skills relevant, engaging, and maybe even fun for your students as well!
This poem is one that Coleridge claims to have written after waking up from an opium dream. Whether or not that story is true makes for an interesting discussion. The influence of drugs on creation is definitely
a theme about which teenagers have interest and opinion. While Coleridge claims that this poem was a result of his drug use, after a discussion, students will come to the realization that artists might tell a story about how their work was inspired because it helps sell the work better or because they are afraid of exposing themselves to criticism.
This lesson is a great one because it works with all levels. Also, this lesson could take up to 75 minutes or more, depending on how much time you spend discussing and sharing the free writes.
This handout of thorough and precise questions is ready to go with minimal prep on the part of the teacher.
Questions encourage close reading, analysis of poetic elements, as well as deeper thinking and discussion about the themes and big ideas of the poems.
There are also prompts for in-class writing as well as for longer assessment.
Pairings: This poem could be taught with any texts that deal with madness, creativity, drugs or alcohol, Romanticism, inspiration, or fantasy.
Suggestions include Frankenstein, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Hamlet, Medea, The Things They Carried, stories and poems of Edgar Allen Poe, or other Romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Blake, Byron, or Shelley.
Check out my other poetry lessons:
William Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas: Poetry Lesson on Two Views of Death
Poetry Questions on the Harlem Renaissance: Race and the American Dream
Poetry Lesson on Immigration and the American Dream: Two Poems, Two Views
Poetry Lesson on Anne Bradstreet and the Puritan World View
Fun Poetry Exercise To Teach Creative Writing and Tone: William Carlos William
Poetry Lesson on Close Reading and Literary Analysis, Langston Hughes
Poetry Lesson to Teach Close Reading and Literary Analysis: Adrienne Rich
Poetry Lesson Comparing the American Experience in Whitman and Hughes
Poetry Lesson on Divorce and Family Dynamics in "The Victims" by Sharon Olds