For Better for Verse

for-better-for-verseGreat job scanning poetry today in class! Keep up the good work! As we discussed, when analyzing literature, attention to form is as important as attention to content; form and content work together to create meaning. And, for Marxist critics, as Tyson points out, “it is not merely the content of a literary work – the ‘action’ or the theme – that carries ideology, but the form as well or, as most Marxists would argue, the form primarily” (63). You might recall that we discussed the example of The Death of the Salesman and the form of tragedy (cf. Tyson 64). Knowing how to scan a poem, then, is important for understanding its total meaning and for revealing the ideology at work in the poem.

If you would like to practice scanning poems on your own, you might want to give the UVA Department of English’s For Better for Verse online tutorial a try. The 4B4V tutorial features a “Poem workbox” (pictured above) where you can interact with poems, training to scan meter and plot rhyme schemes. Be sure to read the “Instructions” and “Tools” pages before beginning to work with poems.


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