How do you annotate an unseen poem?

  • 2 votes

we have done this before in class but when i'm on my own i can't annotate poems as i don't understand them is there any way of helping annotate these poems without help?

Posted Mon 2nd April, 2012 @ 10:51 by Cate

12 Answers

  • 8 votes

Read the poem through several times and think about what the universal theme is. It could be love, motherhood, death etc (basically anything) and then reread the poem again this time highlighting anything that jumps out at you that relates to the theme. This is usually key words. When annotating write down why you highlighted it - this can help when you're answering the question. When you are highlighting and annotating, try to pick out a quotation from the beginning middle and end, this helps when you are writing an answer/response to the poem as it shows you have thought of the whole thing and can understand the story the poem is telling. 

Just remember to stay calm and only highlight important and relevant parts. And make sure you fully understand why you picked out one word/phrase over another because it really helps when answering the question. And don't waste time sitting and lulling over everything the poem could mean, focus on the first sensible thing that comes to mind when you read it. 

I got a B on my unseen poetry exam by following these tips that my teacher gave me so I hope it helps you too and if you want me to explain more don't be scared to ask :)

Answered Thu 12th April, 2012 @ 16:15 by Colette Ahsam
  • 4 votes

Use HITPOEM (I've posted this a couple of times already, but it really is useful.)

H = Historical context (if applicable)

I = Imagery

T = Techniques (Language)

P = Personal Response 

O = Organisation/structure

E = Emotions of narrator

M = Message/ hidden meanings

And remember, there's no right or wrong with unseen poetry - if you have a plausible meaning and can back it up with quotes, then you'll be fine - in fact, you're likely to gain marks for having an original response - don't be afraid to think out of the box. 

Answered Fri 18th May, 2012 @ 18:02 by YellowYeti
Edited by YellowYeti on Fri 18th May, 2012 @ 18:03
  • 3 votes

at school we use the acronym CLIPS




P- personal response


just fill this out and go from there!

Answered Wed 9th May, 2012 @ 15:21 by georgina manns
  • 1 vote

Don't focus on the whole poem focus on key words, punctuation that stands out. You will get more marks for focusing on small parts of the poem then all of it.

Answered Tue 3rd April, 2012 @ 12:41 by Sabrina
  • 1 vote

thank you for this :)

Answered Tue 3rd April, 2012 @ 17:24 by sadsad
  • 1 vote

Try using a pen, and writing on the poem, preferably not over the text.

Plus, try looking for the struture, language and imagery techniques and see how these can relate to the poet's intended message or theme.

And always remember the question you are answering!

Answered Thu 26th April, 2012 @ 12:37 by Libby
  • 1 vote

First of all read the poem a couple of times to familiarise yourself with it. Then highlight key words/language/techniques. What is the surface meaning? Is there a deeper meaning in the poem, if so then what? Think about the context of the poem, or if you know anything about the poet who wrote it. Talk about the form, structure and rhyming pattern of the poem. Also the language used and the poetic devices and imagery. 

Good luck!

Answered Sat 5th May, 2012 @ 17:04 by Charlie
  • 1 vote

This resource is really useful

Hope this helps :)

Answered Mon 21st May, 2012 @ 12:39 by Georgia
  • 0 votes

Start with annotating rhyme scheme, then any patterns you see with this. Highlight any words you think are central to the poem. Try to work out what the theme is- a lot of the time the last stanza tells you most about the theme. Try to summarise what you think each stanza means. Then any techniques (alliteration, list of 3 etc..)

Answered Mon 2nd April, 2012 @ 14:50 by Beth Haworth
  • 0 votes

memorise all poem techniques to know where to put them. remeber to comment on tone, theme, form, style, subject etc. then highlight all the techniques you see..

Answered Wed 9th May, 2012 @ 11:57 by Daisy Catling
  • 0 votes

Highlight key features like repeition, enjambement, then write in detail about them. It is better to write about less points in more detail, than more points in less detail. Always use your time wisely.

Answered Thu 10th May, 2012 @ 11:52 by RFC1871 (Eden32)
  • 0 votes

read the poem over 3 times, annotating on the third time.

work out if the poem has a positive/negative feel to it, and then hightlight words that emphasise the 'feel'.

put a few bullet points on the side as to what you think it's about, draw lines to where it tells you what it's about, etc.

think about what images it gives you.

finally, look at the structure, unless the question says nothing about structure. but do look at structure and everything like enjambment if the question asks you to write about HOW the writer presents ideas.

Answered Wed 16th May, 2012 @ 22:29 by EstherTheBunny