Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Evaluative Criteria

When responding to your classmates' work, the most basic questions you'll want to answer are:
  • What is the poet trying to say/accomplish here?
  • How well does her or she accomplish that?
  • What elements of the poem help or hinder these goals?
  • What elements of the poem are aesthetically or stylistically pleasing?

If you want a more detailed evaluative rubric, I'm quite fond of the method proposed by Ann Lauterbach in an interview in Daniel Kane's book, What is Poetry: Conversations with the American Avant-Garde:

DK: Is there a method or series of steps that you might recommend teachers to take in presenting "On (Open)" [a poem of Lauterbach's they'd been discussing] to high school students not so familiar with poetry?

AL: A poem is not a puzzle to be solved. A poem is an experience, an event, in and of language. It should be approached as such:
  • What kind of event happened to you when you read this poem?
  • Did you get a feeling?
  • Did you have an idea?
  • Did you get reminded of something?
  • Did you go elsewhere, away from the familiar world into another, stranger, one?
  • Did you look up words and find out new meanings, as you would ask directions in a strange city?
  • Why do you think the poet made this word choice, and not another?
  • Why do you think the line is broken here, at this word, and not at another?
  • How is a line break in a poem different from a comma or a period in a prose sentence?

No comments:

Post a Comment