Checklist: Poems

checklist Here is a quick checklist to use when working on a poem:

  1. The title: Does it seem special? Can you see that it has any special meaning once you have worked with the poem?
  2. The speaker/voice in the poem: Is it a particular person? Is it the poet him- or herself? Is it a neutral voice?
  3. What is going on in the poem? Is it telling a story? Is it sharing a feeling or impression? Is it developing an idea?
  4. Are there any especially important words in the poem? Are there words with special connotations? What is the effect of some of the words the poet has chosen?
  5. Literary devices: What is the effect of metaphors, similes and symbols used? Do they help to create certain images in your mind?
  6. Tone: What is the poet’s or the poem’s attitude? Is the tone serious; sombre; ironic, satirical, angry, humorous, detached etc.
  7. Sound effects: Is there any rhyme, repetition, alliteration? If so what is the effect?
  8. Structure: Is the poem written in stanzas? How does the poem flow? Are there important breaks in the poem? Are certain words or punctuation or line lengths used to create a break within the poem?
  9. Free verse: If the poem is in free verse, do such things as structure, layout and repetition help to create an effect?
  10. Theme: So what is the poem about? What is its purpose, meaning? What does the poem make us see, feel, think or understand? How can you use points 1-9 to help you explain this?