A student and I recently reviewed some poetry intended for 6th graders. To analyze Robert Frost's Stopping by the Woods and Woman Work by Maya Angelou, I introduced some techniques to her. We studied standard techniques used by poets and then I had her locate them in the poems. We started with the quatrain, and she found those easily. Next, she saw the need for and perfection of the couplet.
We stopped by a search engine to look at couplets and authors that use them. We learned that 17th and 18th century writer's literature use couplets abundantly. It was necessary for her to find and create her personal rhythms and intonation needed for her interpretation. She had recited the story aloud and listened to me read it and then triumphed by reading it with emotion. Next we proceeded to analyze Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar. His three stanzas are comprised of quintains. While reading about the bird in captivity, Mr. Dunbar's subject in the poem, I asked her to give me some reasons for the author's statements. We considered what effect a poem written by someone else but about the same subject would have on readers. We didn't have enough time but could have made a comparison between the confined bird and imprisoned people. In summary, my techniques for poetry analysis consist of teaching the inherent vocabulary, recognition of components, analysis, recitation, reasoning, and concrete and abstract comparisons during the summer of 2011.