LITR 4232 American Renaissance
syllabus details

Poetry Reader / Discussion Leader

1. Arrange online poem on screen. Announce author, title, and date of publication.

  • Project outline of presentation?—not required. (email for posting, bring on thumb drive, or download from email)

  • Limit biographical information to material directly relevant to course objectives.  Do not review poet's life otherwise. (biographical fallacy)

2. Preview interpretation or interest of poem and connect to course objective.

3. Read poem aloud. (Practice + pre-arrange other students to help read if you like. Don't ask instructor how to pronounce—work your way through difficulties.)

4. Review 2-3 poem highlights + connect to objective(s) or to "style sheets" for Dickinson, Poe, or Whitman

—brief is best, about 2-4 minutes.

  • Invite comments from students as you proceed.

5. Ask  2-3 questions about your analysis of the poem and lead discussion.

Standard questions for analysis or discussion:

  • What's “Romantic” about the poem? (Refer to course objectives or previous discussions, or speculate on additional meanings)

  • What in the poem resists or violates a Romantic interpretation?

  • What about the poem seems identifiably American? Relation to political or cultural history?

  • What makes the poem a lyric poem?

  • Identify an area you had trouble with and ask for help—always works.
    Connect to course objective(s).

 Ten-minute time limit for presentation itself. Discussion may run longer.

Advice for successful presentation:

  • Read the poem as early as possible but not too fast.

  • Start discussion as soon as possible. Students are ready to talk as soon as the poem is read.

  • Mix discussion with your analysis. Instead of telling class what you think, ask what they think, then add what they didn't say for you.

  • When in doubt, ask a question.

  • When in doubt about a question, review objective(s)

Best to mix presentation and discussion:

1. present or analyze

2. ask questions, discuss

3. present more

4. discuss more

5. repeat as helpful