Annotating a poem is certainly not an exercise in futility. Many students “hate” reading poetry because they think they do not understand the art form or the actual poem means. But annotations can help anyone find meaning in a poem. Poems are subjective and take on a different connotation for every reader therefore. It really is when someone tries to impart his / her meaning on another person as the only interpretation that people can get switched off by poetry.
With annotations, you can at least come to have an appreciation for what’s written in the poem and the stylistic elements used. Here is an example of my annotations for “Sonnet 75” by Edmund Spenser. Figure 1 shows the printed poem with annotations. These annotations were computer produced, as this annotation process was submitted for a course assignment originally. Since this is the end product of the assigned work, it could not be assumed the professor would understand what my annotations meant.
As such, a key, similar to the kind used for maps, was included. ” to undo the previous action. This preserved me from having to print out a fresh duplicate of the poem and start over again. I could easily duplicate the annotation in virtually any place in the poem by using duplicate and paste.
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