Poetry Study Guide

My kids are taking their poetry test on Friday and I thought I’d share the study guide I created for them with you, especially for any teachers out there who teach poetry.

The “basic concepts” are all things we discussed in class and they took notes on. But the “critical thinking” sections are meant to push them – we talked about these questions a little bit, but they are open-ended and I want them to consider them as a part of their preparation for the test.

Unit 4 Poetry Study Guide

 Overall Test Goal: ___________________________________________

(Find this in your Table of Contents Unit Goal)


4.1 SWBAT explain the differences between poetry vs. prose.

Basic concepts:

Explain three differences between poetry and prose

What is compressed language? What is expanded language?

What is the difference between writing in lines/stanzas and writing in paragraphs?

What is rhythm? (Do not confuse it with rhyme!)

The three people ALWAYS involved in a poem are….

How are the author and the speaker different from each other?

How to cite a poem the first time and subsequent times.

Critical Thinking: How would you define poetry?

Why is poetry often so difficult to understand at first?

Do poets make their poems difficult on purpose? Why?

4.2 SWBAT apply tone, mood and shifts to poetry.

Basic concepts:

What is tone? What is mood? How are they different?

What is a shift? How do you find one?

How do you create a tone and mood map?

How do you use quote sandwiches to explain tone and/or mood?

Critical Thinking: How can tone and mood help you understand a poem better?

How does tone create mood?

How are tone and mood relevant in everyday conversation?

Ongoing: SWBAT identify and explain literary and poetic devices.

Be able to define and find:

Metaphor, simile, personification, metonymy, synecdoche, assonance, alliteration, apostrophe, hyperbole, understatement, onomatopoeia

4.3 SWBAT apply poetic form and meter to poetry.

Basic concepts:

What is poetic form? What are some examples?

What is meter?

What is a foot?

Identify and define: iamb, trochee, anapest, dactyl, spondee

Be able to scan poetry for stressed and unstressed syllables

Critical Thinking: Why do poets sometimes restrict themselves to a poetic form?

What does writing in a particular form (like the villanelle) teach you about poetry?

What are some advantages and disadvantages of free verse?

Why do poets use iambs, trochees, spondees, etc? How do these feet contribute to rhythm?

How is poetry similar to and different from music?

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