Worksheet that asks a series of questions about a (generic) poem. Students will need to read the poem under study to determine author's intention, target audience, voice, social and political viewpoint, form (allows for use with songs as well as poetry), use of metaphors/similes to illustrate or make a point, sub-texts (references to other works or current events), etc.
This activity can be done as a class, in small groups, or individually. Promotes critical reading and thinking especially when applied to difficult subject matter like poetry. Students will gain mastery of assessing a poem's relative value based upon their command of aspects that are more social than literary. Works quite well when used with poems like cummings' "i sing of Olaf glad and big," Steele's "April 27, 1937," Jarrell's "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner," Southey's "After Blenheim," and much of MiklÃ³s RadnÃ³ti's poetry. Poems about internal topics work well, too, especially works by Crane and Plath.