Poetry Circle Literary Functions

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Poetry Circle Literary Functions

 

form-finder - This job involves identifying the style or pattern of the poem.  Is there a particular rhyme scheme?  Is the piece, for example, a terza rima like Dante's Inferno or a sonnet like Shakespeare's?  How does the meter affect the mood of the poem?  Does the poet employ alliteration?

 

theme-finder - This position requires the circle member to identify important general ideas or, even better, to explain how some specific ideas progress through the piece to arrive at a universal idea.  For example, in "To an Athlete Dying Young," could this be written about an ancient Greek or about Flo-Jo?

 

background-finder- This historian's job is to put the poem in context related to time (when it was written, when it takes place, and how it  relates to today).  He or she would also check out obscure references in the poem and might also include a brief biography of the poet or historical background to put the poem's theme into context.  For  example, Tennyson's Lady of Shalott alludes to Arthurian Legend (Middle Ages), was written by Alfred Lord Tennyson about 1895 during the reign of Queen Victoria, an age struggling with the idea of imprisoning women by "pedestaling" them (dressing them in beautiful but tight corsets, locking them in towers (beautiful homes) and making  them do embroidery or look to the affairs of home, not the outside world.

 

image-finder - This circle worker would identify images, metaphors,  similes and  symbols.  Are there animals?  What kind?  In Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening," there is a horse.  What do we  associate horses with?  (Perhaps, taking a journey?)   In Auden's Shield of Achilles, what do we think of when we think of a great warrier's shield?  What would we expect to find on it?  Are there references to  weather in the poem?  What ideas do we associate with cold, snow, ice?  What about Spring?  Do we think of rebirth?

 

 

Thanks to the NCTE-Talk list serv member who posted this information in 1999.  

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