Close Reading Activity
1. Following two steps should be done iteratively / concurrently
a. What is the poem saying? Paraphrase the entire poem, line for line, so you can get a grasp on the basic “story” being told
b. Using a portable whiteboard, brainstorm a list of what the poem’s content is about – themes, issues, etc.
2. Using a second portable whiteboard, make a list of each and every image and / or metaphor in the poem.
a. Go through your list of images and make notes about how each image contributes to what the poem is about.
3. Discuss the following
a. How do the images and / or metaphors evolve over the course of the poem?
b. How are the images and / or metaphors related to one another?
4. Craft an argument about the relationship between form and content in your poem. Your argument could look something like this:
i. 1-2 sentences | Overview statement of what this poem is “about”
ii. 2 – 5 sentences | A claim that demonstrates how the poem’s themes are embodied in the poem’s use of images and / or metaphors.
1. In its simplest form this would look something like Piece of writing X accomplishes Y by means of Z, where Y is a claim having to do with content and Z is a statement having to do with form
b. 2-4 sentences: elaboration of claim
i. Expand on the claim above by further explaining how form and content are related in this poem.
ii. Some questions to consider while writing this sentence:
1. How does this relationship between form and content deepen our understanding of the poem?
2. What does this particular use of form allow for that different formal choices would not allow for?
c. 3 specific examples / quotes (4-6 sentences each) that support your claim
i. Quote from the poem
ii. Discuss what the quoted text achieves
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