"To be a poet is a condition, not a profession."
-- Robert Frost
You may find yourself in agreement with Frost's famous quote when it comes to teaching poetry in the secondary classroom. However, love it or hate it, poetry can play a helpful role in teaching students how to write! Famous poems can serve as mentor texts for students and showcase key literary and rhetorical devices in action. But in order to make poetry practical for teachers to use as mentor texts, we need a list of poems that categorizes them based upon their key devices. This way, we can select specific poems to model specific skills for writing mini-lessons.
Below, you will find a list of poems for secondary English Language Arts that are categorized by their prominent literary and/or rhetorical devices. Some poems may appear twice as they can be used to model more than one particular device. This list does not represent every single device within each specific poem but focuses instead on the most important devices in each poem to facilitate mini-lessons for writing workshop.
You can either work through this list alphabetically by device, or skip around as needed to target the specific devices your students need help with the most.
Check it out!
I'd love to hear from you! What poems do you use to teach key literary devices? Leave usa comment below.
Meredith is the founder and creator of TeachWriting.org and Bespoke ELA. She has taught high school English for 10+ years in Dallas, Chicago, and New York City and holds a M.A. in Literature from Northwestern University. She has always had a connection to the written word-- through songwriting, screenplay writing, and essay writing-- and she enjoys the process of teaching students how to express their ideas. Meredith enjoys life with her husband, daughter, and sweet pups.