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The study aims to explore literary text-talk in higher education and how some students’ reception of a poem is influenced by their interaction with each other. A particular focus is on whether and how the students use a set of literary conceptual tools when they talk about the poem. The study also illuminates factors that prompt the students perform close readings of the text. The data comes from four recorded and transcribed text-talks, where the students from different teacher training programs in Sweden, Denmark and Norway talk about a poem. These text-talks have been analysed through a thematic analysis. The results show that the students start by focusing on details and try to interpret the vocabulary rather than trying to understand the poem in its entirety. Initially, they also perform close readings and then continue with more extra-textual interpretations. However, because of the interactive nature of the text-talk, the students keep returning to the text. All the four groups use quite a few literary concepts, but they hesitate about the meaning and the use of these concepts. The results further show that the students help each other achieve a deeper understanding of the poem, and the talk itself has an impact on their reception of the poem.