Chapter 8. Of learning and poetics

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This chapter examines the reading strategies of Japanese university-level learners of English with limited experience of reading poetry in English. The aim is to corroborate teaching procedures from the viewpoint of their textual interpretation procedures. To this purpose, data were collected while they were reading Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (1923) by asking them to report on the textual features they noticed when trying to construct textual meanings. Results revealed ten reading strategies, classified into three groups: (1) application of strategies acquired through reading expository texts, (2) examination of repetitive expressions, and (3) reference to semantic intuition and explicit knowledge of English. The main features of poetry reading processes performed by the participants of the study are summarized. The chapter concludes by offering suggestions for effective poetry teaching.


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