i‑Learner Education Centre

Student Work

What is a poem?

In my Friday Critical Reading and Writing Level 4 classes, we have been considering the question “What is a poem?” recently. This has led us to explore what elements make up (or don’t make up) a poem, and how we can decide what is poem and prose. Sometimes the answer isn’t so clear cut, but students have shown a remarkable perseverance in tackling this often difficult question. Below is a poem (?) we discussed in class. Students were asked to answer the question “Is this a poem and why?” Attached is a wonderful and deep response from student Winnie, with the poem below.

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The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams

so much depends


a red wheel


glazed with rain



the white chickens.