Time for Poetry: Poetry Essay Part 3


This post is part of an ongoing series where I document this year’s attempt to teach students to write about poetry.  According to my AP exam score report, poetry is still my students’ weakness. I suppose that isn’t surprising when I consider how little poetry my students have read in their lives.

So I’m working to change that.

The day after I asked students to write an initial response to their chosen poems, I asked them to write a more specific response.  When we first began talking about poetry, I taught them to think about poetry through the lens that Dr. Louise Cowan describes in her essay “The Lyric Nostalgia.”

After we discussed the concepts found in her essay, the students and I generated a list of questions that we could ask of any poem.  For this second response to their chosen poem, I gave the students that list of questions and asked them to answer as many of the questions as they could.


1. Log in to your Google Drive.

2. Open the folder you created for your Poetry Essay Documents.

3. Create a new document and title it “Poetry Essay Response #2.”

4. Type your name and the title of your poem.

5. Answer as many of the following questions about your chosen poem as you can:

The Lyric and the Beloved Object

  • What is the object of love in the poem? What is the main beloved object? Is there more than one?
  • What stage is the lyric voice in?
    • Anticipation?
    • Fulfillment?
    • Lamentation?

The Lyric Vision of the World

  • What does this poem say or criticize about civilization?
  • What does this poem say the world should be like? What is the poem’s vision for the world?
  • How can we glimpse the poem’s vision of the world?
    • Love for another person?
    • Art?
    • Poetry?
    • Nature?
    • Other?
  • What does this poem seek to remind us of?

The Lyric Enemies: Death and Time

  • What does this poem say about Death?
  • What does this poem say about Time?
  • What does this poem say about Immortality?

Student Responses:

A student’s discussion of what the poem offers as its vision for the world:

Evangelina Lyric Vision
A student’s discussion of the poem’s lyric stage, critique, and vision:

Laura Gatch Poetry Response Day 2


Coming up next: how I attempted to help students evaluate and respond to web “sources.”

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