When did poetry begin?
Poetry has existed as a form of expression
for over 5000 years.
The ancient Indian texts, the Vedas, were
written in a poetic form to help with
The oldest surviving poem is the Epic of
Gilgamesh, written in the third millennium
BCE in Mesopotamia.
So what’s it all about
Looking at subject and theme in poetry
What makes interpreting a poem’s
theme a personal experience?
Who are you?
Where do you come from?
What obstacles have you overcome in life?
What do you feel strongly about?
Please write the answers in your journal.
What is the subject in a poem?
The subject is who or what the poem is
Sometimes it is very obvious what the
subject is (the subject might be stated in
the title of the poem such “I Know Why the
Caged Bird Sings”).
Other times it is not so obvious.
How Sweet I Roam'd
How sweet I roam'd from field to field,
And tasted all the summer's pride
'Til the prince of love beheld
Who in the sunny beams did glide!
He shew'd me lilies for my hair
And blushing roses for my brow;
He led me through his garden fair,
Where all his golden pleasures grow.
With sweet May dews my wings were wet,
And Phoebus fir'd my vocal rage
He caught me in his silken net,
And shut me in his golden cage.
He loves to sit and hear me sing,
Then, laughing, sports and plays with me;
Then stretches out my golden wing,
And mocks my loss of liberty.
What is theme?
Theme can be thought of as a moral or
statement concerning the subject of the
It is often a statement about life or human
The theme that a reader might pull from a
piece of writing won’t always be the theme
the author originally intended.
After receiving your poem read it quietly to
yourself at least two times.
Underline what you think the subject of the
poem is, and any words in the poem that you
think are important.
Answer the three questions on your paper with
at least one complete sentence for each
If you finish before the rest of your group, please
What is the relationship between subject
How were the responses about the theme
of your group’s poem different? Were
there any similarities?
If your life was the subject of a poem, what
would the theme be?
Do you have any questions for me?