Poetry analysis, which is similar to poetry review, involves analyzing the language and figures of speech used by a poet. It also entails sharing personal views regarding the poem and breaking down the poetic instruments utilized by the said poet. However, it’s not just about the words used (Headrick, 2014). It entails reading between the lines and understanding what made the poet come up with a particular poem. So it may require some background research on the author and history behind the creation of the poem.
Poetry analysis may define as a critical review given on a poem, a reflection on the depth and gravity of a poem. It revolves around multiple aspects of a poem starting from the subject of a poem, its theme (meaning), tone, literary devices or speech figures, form to the feeling of the poet to how a reader feels about the poem. It is not only the analysis of techniques used in a poem, but poetry analysis provides a broader and wider picture of the poem, its reality, its hidden meanings between the lines, a study of poet’s mind, feeling and intention behind a poem. Different techniques used in poetry analysis are helpful tools in investigating and reviewing the poem. Behind every review or analysis vital research on poet (author), era (time frame), possible reasons, the background behind the conceptualization poem is vital.
One should read, understand and develop a thesis. On reading the poem, it’s also recommended to research more on the poet and his past works to understand the root of this particular idea. A second read is then done to source for evidence used in writing an essay.
Different steps involved in writing poetry analysis essay, these are briefly discussed below.
Theme, Meaning or Message of the Poem
In this part, we focus on the topic, main issue or idea of the poem. There are layers of meaning hidden in a poem.
- Meaning: surface meaning that what is actually or physically happening in the poem which a reader can sense.
- Deeper Meaning: the central idea of the poem or what is it actually about.
- Theme: in poetry, there is always a hidden meaning in every line, which depicts the message about life.
Numerous topics can be covered in poems such as love, life, death, birth, nature, memory, war, age, sexuality, experience, religion, race, faith, creator and many others.
Tone of the Poem
The tone of the poem shows attitude or mood of the language used by the poet. Analyze the different shades of the language used in the poem for example; is it formal, judgmental, informal, critical, positive, bitter, reflective, solemn, frustrated, optimistic, ironic, scornful, regretful or morbid.
Literary Device used in the Poem
Find out what the different literary devices are or what sort of figures of speech is used by the poet. Analyze these techniques and suggest their use in the poem by the poet. The poem can contain a symbol, similes, metaphor, alliteration, allegories, oxymoron, assonances, dissonances, repetition, hyperbole, irony.
Form of the Poem
Poems are written in some ways, here one need to identify which structure the poet has used for the poem. The forms of poems broadly are stanzas, rhythm, punctuation and rhymes. Carefully analyze the length and number of stanzas, does the rhythm impacts the meaning of the poem, is there many punctuations or little, either the rhyme is consistent, or it’s breaking and what is the rhyme contributing to the meaning of the poem or is it random.
Conclusion or Feel of the Poem
Lastly, analyze the emotions and feelings linked with the poem; of the poet and what do you feel when you read the poem. This is the very critical part of reviewing a poem because we analyze the inner depth of the poem, the intention & feelings of the poet, the targeted audience, does the poem reflect the poet’s persona, perspective or it does not match with the poet.
Poetry Analysis Template
- Name of Poem
- Name of Poet
- Date of Publication
- Background or any relevant information
Form of poem
- Structure of poem
- Rhyme of poem
Meaning of poem
- Overall meaning
- How can we relate the poem to our life
- Literary devices
How to Choose a Topic for a Poetry Analysis Essay
- In the subject of the poem we mainly focus on the reasons such as why is the poem written or what is it all about?
- What is the context, the central content of the poem?
- Who wrote the poem and why?
- When and where the poet did write the poem, what or who has influenced the poet and what are the key features of the poem?
A topic should be chosen based on the theme you want to write. The theme is the message that the poem is trying to convey. You need to look therefore for concepts and notions that pop up in the poem and come up with an appropriate theme based on those perceptions or ‘feelings’. If you can’t still figure out what topic you should choose for your analysis, it is recommended that you go through other poems similar poems and get a suitable topic for your analysis. Don’t also forget to cite your poem well. And also use in-text citations while quoting from the poem.
Related: COMING UP WITH ESSAY TOPIC IDEAS
A clear and concise poetry analysis essay should follow the outline shown above. Other issues such as correct grammar and punctuation should also be considered. For analytical essays, an introduction with a good theme and subsequent paragraphs containing quotes and backing arguments is appropriate before tying everything up with a conclusion. An analysis piece shows attention to detail, should have a topic based on the themes in it and should be well formatted. While all these is done, attention to detail should be adhered to for an excellent analysis.
Check out this video from the web on poetry analysis essay writing!
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