©Marva A. Barnett

FREN 332 How to Present a Poem to the Class


Read the poem, discuss it with your group, and explicate (analyze) it.

Remember that it's very important to specify the principal theme or atmosphere of the poem and to support your thesis statement. Depending on which poem you analyze, you will find that different aspects of the poem are more or less essential to your analysis; but don't forget to consider scansion, rhythm, rhyme, images, narration (if any), atmosphere, emotions, etc. Speak about the poet if necessary; but don't repeat the information in the text, and don't give the poet's biography. Discuss the poem and your ideas with your teammates; feel free to write the presentation together or to write parts of it individually, as you prefer.

Share the work of the oral presentation.
In your group, decide who will present which part. Create as imaginative a presentation as you like.

Practice your presentation to be certain that it's clear.

Your group will have 30 minutes to present your analysis. Be sure not to read your presentation to the class; remember that you're speaking to your colleagues.


Before the beginning of class, write on the board the vocabulary that you expect others won't know.

Pronounce and explain these words before beginning your presentation.

Present the poem.

It's certainly best to memorize the poem. In any case, you need to present the poem in a way that immediately indicates your interpretation of it. You might use music or pictures, for example. Use your analysis of the poem to decide what changes of voice are necessary, and practice your poem presentation out loud several times. I recommend that you record and analyze it before doing it in class.

Present your analysis.

Decide in advance how you will orchestrate your presentation, and remember not to read it.

Be open to questions and new interpretations that will help you improve your final, written analysis.

Lead the discussion.

It's up to you, as group presenters, to entertain questions and lead the discussion. I'm part of the audience, as are the other students. We'll spend the entire class discussing each poem.