Poetry, in many ways, defies definition. Any restrictions would disqualify some works that are, nevertheless, poetry. The only statement about poetry that we can make with absolute certainty is that good poetry uses what is known as "compressed language." That means that it says a lot but uses few words to do so. Every word is very valuable; the poets make their choices only after much deliberation, and we must understand each word to grasp the meanings of the poems. This word compression is the primary reason that most students claim not to understand poetry. Students who are accustomed to skimming over their lessons once and dashing off correct answers in record time will find that poetry asks much more of us than this. It invites us to calm down, sit still, and think. Speed and accuracy are invaluable in mathematical computation but useless in poetry appreciation. You must not be frustrated or feel like a failure when (not if) you find it necessary to read a poem several times. This repetitive activity is standard operating procedure for the study of any art. This guide takes a topical approach to the study of poetry, rather than a historical approach.
Looking for more than activity sheets or a who-did-what series of questions? Want to dig into the essence of the novel? This study guide provides easy-to-use, reproducible lessons on literary terms, comprehension and analysis, critical thinking, related scriptural principles, vocabulary, and activities, plus a complete answer key.