World War I and Poetry (due by 3:15 on Th 3/16)


We will be working on this project in class on Friday 3/10 and Monday 3/13. These two days are the only in-class time dedicated to this project.

Click here for the GoogleDoc of this project sheet.



Learning Targets — I can…

Parts I & II:

  • Identify and explain figurative language, tone, persona, and other literary or poetic devices in the poem.
  • Closely read and analyze (identify and explain) the purpose and meaning of a poem in its historical context; in other words, apply what we’re learning in History to the poem.
  • Use and cite specific words and lines from the poem to support my ideas.

Part III:

  • Accurately and creatively portray the history of World War I in my poem; readers can experience World War I in my poem.
  • Create imagery by using vivid and strong words; my word choices are varied, powerful, and precise.
  • Enhance the meaning and impact of my poem with powerful visual elements, such as backgrounds, images, font choices, colors, etc.

Under “American Literature in WWI” and “Other Literature of WWI” on the WWI & Poetry page,  read the poems and check out the related videos and links. These poems are in the packet handed out in class (on yellow paper and color copy).

I> First, by yourself, directly on your poetry packet, annotate the poems, looking for…

  • Figurative Language (Use your notes and the Poetry Terms slides on the WWI & Poetry page!) — What imagery, allusions, metaphors, personification, and other literary terms and devices do you see?
  • Tone and Persona (Not sure what “tone” and “persona” are? Look at your notes!) — What tone about war does the poem convey; is the persona patriotic, anti-war, hopeful, defeated, cynical, confused…?
  • Signposts (On the Reading page!) — What comes up again and again in a poem; what are the words of the wiser of the poem; what memory moments, aha moments, or contrasts and contradictions do you see; any word gaps for you?
  • Meaning — What do you make of the poem; what does it say to you; what do you take away from it?

II> Second, after you’ve had a chance to read and think about the poems on your own, join up with one or two partners (no more than groups of three!). Share your thoughts on the poems with one another and add to your annotations. Note: If you are not in class to work with a partner, then discuss the poems and add to your annotations with a classmate or friend outside of class.

III> Third, compose your own original World War I poem. Use everything you’ve learned about life in the trenches and on the homefront to see through their eyes and place yourself in the era of World War I. Put to use all of the resources on Mr. Taft’s website and all of your notes!

Write a poem from whatever World War I perspective you choose, but capture the era in your best poetic voice, figurative language, descriptive language, and imagery. Consider the poems you’ve read as models.

Write about 20 to 30 lines of poetry, either all as one longer poem or a series of shorter poems. Of course, you’re welcome to write in free verse, create a rhyme scheme, compose a specific type of poem… whatever best captures the perspective you want to explore.

Give your poem a meaningful title.

As we have done with other poetry we’ve written this year, create an 8.5×11” (regular paper size) poster for your poem.

Refer to the learning targets above. Utilize your poetry notes throughout this project.

Final drafts of your own original WWI poem (electronic copy on GoogleClassroom; hard copy printed and hung on locker) are due for all classes by the end of Community Time on Thursday 3/16.