Poetry Overview & Definitions

Essential Question for this unit:  WHAT MAKES WRITING “POETIC”?

“A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving in a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore; it’s to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out. It is an experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept mystery.”– Keats

Why poetry?

Defining poetry:

Elements of Poetry: terms

Reading Poems Closely

TPCAST Close reading document

How Do You Know When a Poem is Finished?, a poem by Namoi Shihab Nye


  • Choose a topic that interests you. If it doesn’t interest you, it won’t interest your reader.
  • Take the time to brainstorm freely some ideas related to the topic. See what happens.
  • Don’t settle for using “good” words in your poem. Work until you get the right word.
  • Read your poem aloud, to yourself or to someone else.
  • Find someone who will read your poem carefully and offer suggestions.
  • Let your poem rest out of sight for a time before you look at it again.
  • Remember: Revision means to see again. Revise with care.

Learning to write a good poem takes practice and patiences. If your early poems don’t say exactly what you want, keep working at it . The more you work at it, the greater the likelihood that they poems will shine.
Look and listen to life with care. Practice writing . Give yourself time to be a better poet. You’ll be pleased with what poetry can bring to your life.

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