Enjambments, Caesuras, and Revision Day
Lesson 7 of 8
Objective: Students will be able to analyze how author's use of punctuation (enjambments and caesuras) contributes to the meaning. Students will be able to strengthen their writing by receiving peer feedback in the form of revision love notes.
The sentences in lines two through four provide an opportunity to practice placing commas within a list (location, distance, size, and quality) as well as identifying a run-on sentence.
A couple days before, I told students that in poetry, punctuation doesn't really matter.
Today, I told students that when I told them that, I wasn't telling them the whole truth. In fact, I wasn't telling the truth at all.
Shocked faces all around.
I explained that when I told them that punctuation didn't matter, it was because I wanted them to focus on ideas, not grammar. Now that they've got solid ideas, we can look at punctuation in poetry, which is actually a critical part of poetry.
We referred to our purple poetry packet reference sheets. (I have one student who, every time I ask them to take out their purple poetry packets, shouts, "That's alliteration!" Yes, Zac, yes it is.) We looked at two words that none of them had ever heard before--enjambment and caesura.
To explore the use of enjambments, we looked at "Where I'm From." The yellow highlighted section shows one enjambment and the purple highlighted section shows another.
To examine caesuras, we looked at Robert Frost's "The Pasture." The pink circles show the hyphen in the middle of the line. That hyphen is a signal to the reader to pause in order to add dramatic effect.
I explained that as I was writing my own poem, I used plenty of enjambments. I prefer to indent the second or third line of the enjambment because I think it's more aesthetically pleasing. I didn't use any caesuras, but as I revised, I might look through the poem to see if I wanted to include any strong pauses in the middle of lines.
I then posed the deep, burning question to them--where will you include enjambments and caesuras? It's not accidental; you have to think deeply about what punctuation you're using in a poem and where you're placing those punctuation marks.
Revision Round 2
I gave students an additional day to work on their revision love notes. Some students did the bare minimum and got two notes and some students went above and beyond and got six or seven love notes.
While students worked, I was able to read some of the poems and write my own revision love notes. I was able to read about four or five poems in each class, and I knew that that the students genuinely appreciated these personalized notes.
Making a Plan for Revision
One students had received feedback on their poems, I asked them to create a plan for revisions. I gave them a list of questions and asked them to write a short paragraph explaining what changes they planned to make to their drafts to specifically include poetic devices and figurative language.
Their final drafts are due on Friday, and to celebrate my student teacher's graduation, we're having a poetry slam. It'll give us an opportunity to celebrate and practice our listening and speaking skills.