Writing Poetry Analysis: Extensive Guide for Students

Writing about poetry is appearing to be one of the most challenging tasks college students deal with in their literature class. Poetry, by its very nature, poses certain demands on the reader striving to analyze it, unlike other types of literary works. So how to write a poem analysis essay? This article has some answers to the most complex questions about how to write an analysis of a poem.

Pre-Writing Steps

  • Theme: The first thing you should look into when starting your poetry essays is to look at any major topics featured in literary work of your choice. Does it describe themes that are associated with love, death, war, hope or peace? What additional topics can you spot in your research? Can you find some particular historical events mentioned there? What are the most important issues the poem is trying to address?
  • Genre: What type of poem are you dealing with? Is it an epic (voluminous literary work dedicated to a heroic subject)? Is it a sonnet (a brief poem, which usually consists of fourteen lines)? Is it a satire or perhaps a lyric? Is it associated with some particular literary movement such as Modernism or Romanticism? This area may require some research so that you can distinguish specific genres and movements.
  • Verification: Writing poetry analysis involves examining the poem’s rhyme and meter. Can you spot an identifiable rhyme scheme? Is there a fixed number of syllables in each particular line? The most common meter, in case of English poetry, is iambic pentameter, which each has five feet of two syllables in each of which prominently stressed syllable follows unstressed one. You can learn more about meter and rhyme on the Internet or get acquainted with some YouTube videos on the topic, of which there are plenty. In addition, techniques such as caesura (a pause in the middle of a line) and enjambment (continuing a grammatical sentence or clause from one line to the next) are highly relevant.
  • Cultural Context: In what way does the poem in question relate to the historical events during which, it was written? For instance, what is the cultural importance of Walt Whitman’s famous elegy for Lincoln “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed” if viewed through the prism of post-Civil War cultural trends in America? What does John Donne’s writing have to do with the contentious religious climate in seventeenth-century in England? These questions may take you a while to research thoroughly so be prepared for the necessity for picking philosophy books, history, religion, economics, music, or even visual arts to be able to write a proper poetic essay. It may also be a good idea for familiarizing oneself with stylistic devices that are most commonly used in poetry.
  • Metaphor: use of words and expressions in a figurative sense on the basis of analogy, similarity, comparison;
  • Simile: comparison between two unlike things using “like” or “as”;
  • Metonymy: turn of speech where word is replaced by another related concept;
  • Synecdoche: a stylistic trick in which a part is made for representing the whole or vice versa;
  • Personification: attribution of human properties to objects and phenomena of the real or fictional world: animals, plants, and nature;
  • Litotes: ironic understatement where an affirmative is expressed by negative of its contrary;
  • Irony: subtle mockery, expressed in a latent form.

Selecting Proper Poetry Analysis Essay Topic

A smart way of choosing a topic for an analysis would be to choose a piece of literature that you sincerely enjoy reading. For instance, if it is up to you to choose a poem you would like to analyze, then it might be advantageous for you to choose a poem that you have come across within the past. If a few subject areas displayed in the poem to choose from, then try to focus on area you are proficient in; that way your essay will sound more confident. We know that writing a poetry analysis essay could seem like a challenging task in the beginning, but if you are willing to make some substantial effort, essay should turn out to be really good.

Poem Analysis Essay Outline

The most important thing you want to do when writing a poetry analysis essay is to come up with a poetry analysis essay outline.

We recommend you start with putting a paper’s title at the top of page. A Roman numeral 1 beneath it should follow. That is what predetermines intro section’s short plan, and it must end with a main idea of the author.

Double-check that you have a plan for body part. Appropriate structure of your analysis is extremely important: divide text into subsections with clear headings, so that your professor wouldn’t get lost when checking your college paper.

The final Roman numeral is to appear before the word “Conclusion.” Next, you should present your summarized viewpoint.

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