Order Ways to Read a Poem Assignment

Order Ways to Read a Poem Assignment
“reading” of one of the poems below. I am not looking for a list of answers to the questions. I would like you to write an actual essay, with an introduction, a thesis, and a conclusion. You should express your opinions about the poem, but your main goal is to answer some of the reading questions about the text while using quotations from the poem to support your answers.
Approx. 2 pages when double-spaced (500 words)
Nikki Giovanni, “Quilts”
Michael McFee, “Saltine”
Kate Bass, “The Albatross”
ALWAYS read the poem out loud at least once.
1. What is the poem’s literal meaning (the plot)?
2. Who is the speaker?
Remember that the narrator is rarely the same person as the poet.
Therefore, you should refer to the main character of the poem as “the speaker” instead of “the poet” or “the writer”.
3. Who is the audience?
4. Is the poem a general appeal to just anyone? Is the poem addressed to God, a specific person, Nature, etc.?
5. What is the setting?
Includes time as well as place.
6. What is the “voice” of the poem?
Does it use everyday language? Does it use archaic language (thee, thou, etc.)? Is it vague, or is it pretty straightforward?
7. Does it use a lot of metaphors and other rhetorical devices?
Some rhetorical devices:
Metaphor: Using one thing to describe another: “My stomach was full of butterflies.” “Harry Potter is a sacrificial lamb.”
Simile: Using “like” or “as” to compare different things: “Her lips are like cherries.” “My heart dropped like a stone.”
Hyperbole (High-per-bowl-ee): Using extreme exaggeration to explain something: “I died when the teacher called on me the one day I didn’t do the homework.”
Personification: Describing an inanimate object as a living thing: “My computer hates me; it ate another term paper.”
Allusion: Referring to a well-known story to explain or describe something: “It rained so much that year that we thought we should build an ark.” (Like Noah in the Bible).
8. Does the poem use a lot of description?
The five senses: Sight, Sound, Touch, Smell, Taste.
9. What is the tone of the poem? Sad? Happy? Nostalgic? Hopeful? Despairing?
Poems can be described as expressions of emotions, just like songs can be. How is the writer trying to make you feel?
10. What is the universal meaning of the poem?
For example: everyone feels loss; everyone hopes for love; everyone wonders why bad things happen.

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