Unpacking a poem


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Unpacking a poem

  1. 1. Unpacking a Poem Nettles By Vernon Scannell
  2. 2. Homework• For first lesson after half-term:• How does Scannell present the idea of parental anger in his poem ‘Nettles’.
  3. 3. 1. TitleWhat ideas are suggested by the title?• Mind map all the possible interpretations and connotations of the title• Read the poem quickly to see if any of the words, phrases and ideas support your interpretations of the title. Highlight those that do.• Check the opening and closing lines more thoroughly. Do these link in any way?
  4. 4. 2. ShapeLook at the shape of the poem on the page.• Does it have a recognisable form… is it a sonnet, a ballad, a narrative?• If so, how does that add to your ideas about the title?• Does it have stanzas?• Does it have an odd shape?• What are the line lengths like – all equal or very different?• Can you make predictions about the poem based on your answers to these questions?
  5. 5. 3. Personal ResponseRead the poem again and decide what you think thepoet was trying to do.• Is there a message?• Is it an emotional response to an event?• Is it trying to create an emotive response from you?• Is it for someone else?• Can there be different interpretations?Many of the best poems have differentinterpretations.
  6. 6. 4. Voice• Who seems to be speaking in the poem? Is there a clear persona?• What type and tone of voice do you imagine?• Which parts of the poem are most powerful aloud?• As you were reading you may have noticed sound effects such as alliteration and assonance. What effect do these create?• Is the poem told as a narrative?• Are there any words/phrases to suggest time sequence (ie ‘at last’, ‘and then’) and what is the effect of this?
  7. 7. 5. VocabularyAre there any words or phrases that you find interesting?Find a couple and share your reasons why they stand outto you.• Now, can you trace any others that link to the ones you first chose?You can often find chains of reference in this way.• Are there any repetitions?• What types of words are used a lot? Verbs; nouns; adjectives; pronouns…This can tell you a lot about what a poem is doing.
  8. 8. 6. ImagerySome of the words and phrases you found may be usedto create visual imagery. Making a visual collage is a goodway of capturing the imagery and making links betweenthe kinds of images used.• Are there any similes (using ‘like’ or ‘as’) as these can make direct comparisons• Look for metaphors and symbols. These are more difficult to find. Note any references in the poem that could stand for something else?• The best symbols could stand for a number of different things.• Note the effect of other figurative language such as personification
  9. 9. 7. StructureHow is the poem organised?• If the poem has stanzas, are they used to develop an idea (like paragraphs in prose)• Are the lines end-stopped or run on using enjambment? Enjambment shows that the poet has a reason for running an idea into another line – what is the effect of this?• What is the rhyme structure (abab,cdcd?)• Is there a recognisable rhythm to the lines (ie iambic pentameter – 5 pairs of syllables with alternate stress) – what is the effect of the rhythm?• Is the rhythm consistent? If it changes, what is the effect of the change?• Does the rhythm link to the theme? How?
  10. 10. 8. InterpretationThis is what you have been doing in steps 1-7.Now you can put it together in a response.Remember, it is your idea which counts – as longas you can support it:• The poem suggests…• The form may mean…• The voice of the poem supports this because…• The vocabulary/imagery/sound/structure suggests… for example…
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