Reading Response & Presenting a Poem

What is a reading response?

  1. These are brief presentations of your reading of the assigned text.
  2. Make copious notes—engage directly with the text, finding points of tension, strengths, questions you have.
  3. Describe briefly the core idea, offer summary of points, provide evidence in the way of—quotes etc.
  4. Take a minute to organize your response—even if your response is simply that you are unsure what you think, organize that in a meaningful way. When in doubt use point form.

How do you “present a poem”? Here are some ideas.

  1. Provide a copy of the poem for each class member (if necessary).
  2. Provide a brief biography of the writer as much as it is relevant to the work.
  3. Tell us a bit about his/her body of work and its significant
  4. Discuss how you came to select him/her (if you weren’t assigned…).
  5. Read aloud a selected poem by the writer (or an excerpt) that you can respond to or use to illustrate your point.
  6. Describe what the poem is doing, what worked for you and why. What is it doing formally? What about the language? Imagery? Line breaks? What struck you? What is significant about the poem? How and why do you feel it is successful? What have you learned as a writer from studying this poem, and looking at this writer’s work in general?
  7. Address formal elements such as diction, rhyme, meter or rhythm, tone, syntax, lineation, arrangements of stanzas, punctuation, title, beginning, ending, repetition, figurative language, and relationship between speaker and reader.
  8. Provide evidence for any statement you make about the poem.
  9. Or, quote freely from the poem in order to illustrate your points.
  10. You may be as personal as you wish to the extent that it is relevant to the poem, or your reading of the poem, or that you have a reason to do so.
  11. Cite your sources.
  12. After your presentation, hand in your notes.
  13. You may use as a model the “How Poems Work” archive of essays:
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