Reading Poetry

When you approach a poem for the first time, use the same prereading strategies you always do. Look at the title. In poetry, titles are keys to understanding the message and ideas the author is presenting.

Ask questions about the title:

  • Why did the author choose this title?
  • What images does it bring to your mind?
  • What's the first thing that pops into your head when you see the title?
  • Does the title remind you of an experience you have had or observed?

Read the poem to get a feel for it and the author's message.

Poetry is bad stand-up...carefully chosen words but no laugh at the end. (Jerry Seinfeld)  

Time to Read

  1. Review the Poetry tutorial.

  2. Read or listen to the following poems just to get a feel for the flow and rhythm of poetry. Do not worry about what the main idea might be, or what the poet might be communicating.