Poem Analysis Essay Guide: Outline, Template, Structure
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.
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What Is A Poetry Analysis?
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. Writing services also recommend researching more on the poet and his past works to understand the root of this particular idea.
If you have been asked to write a poem analysis essay, then it means to examine the piece and further dissect it into key elements including its form, techniques used and historical value. Then further appreciating the poem and highlighting to others these points, and gaining a better understanding.
It is also important to show as many ideas as possible that relate to the poem and then create conclusions on this.
To start writing a poetry analysis essay let's look at the prewriting stage.
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 .
Poem Analysis Essay Outline
To create a good essay, it is needed to plan out the structure of a poem analysis essay so the writing stage will be easier and faster.
Here is an outline of a poem analysis essay to use:
Opening paragraph - Introduce the Poem, title, author and background.
Body of text - Make most of the analysis, linking ideas and referencing to the poem.
Conclusion - State one main idea, feelings and meanings.
Poem Analysis Essay Introduction
To start an introduction to a poem analysis essay, include the name of the poem and the author . Other details like the date of when it was published can also be stated. Then some background information and interesting facts or trivia regarding the poem or author can also be included here.
Poem Analysis Essay Body
When writing the main body of text keep in mind you have to reference all ideas to the poem so include a quotation to back up the sentence, otherwise, it will be a wasted comparison and not count. Be clear with your statements.
Poem Analysis Essay Conclusion
Now, this is where you should take a step back from analyzing the individual elements of the poem and work out its meaning as a whole. Combine the different elements of the analysis and put forward one main idea.
What is the poet trying to say, and how is it enforced and with what feeling? Then look at the meaning and what timeframe does this evolve over?
For example, is it obvious from the start, or does it gradually change towards the end? The last few lines can be very significant within a poem and so should be included in the poem analysis essay conclusion and commented on the impact on the piece.
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How to Analyze a Poem?
Before even thinking about your first draft, read the poem as much as possible. If it's possible, listen to it in the original form. This depends on many factors which include if the poet is still alive?
Also reading aloud can help identify other characteristics that could be missed and even to a friend or colleague will give a chance to more insight. It is important to remember that poetry is a form of art painted with only words, this said it could take time to fully appreciate the piece. So take note of any first thoughts you have about the poem, even if they are negative.
Your opinions can change over time but still mark these first thoughts down.
So that to analyze a poem properly, you have to pay attention to the following aspects:
Title of the Poem
So let's go deeper into the poem analysis essay and look at the title. The poet may have spent a lot of time thinking about naming the piece so what can be observed from this and what further questions can be asked?
- What are your expectations? For example, the poem could be titled “Alone” written by Edgar Allan Poe and from this it is natural to assume it will be sad. After reading further does the reality turn out to be different?
- What is the literature style used? So for example, the work could be called “His last sonnet” by John Keats. From appearance, it is possible to deduce that it could be in sonnet form and if not why did the poet choose to mislead the audience?
- What is the poem about? In the poem, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” by Elizabeth Barrett, it already states what could be included and what to expect but if it differs from the title what would this suggest?
Literal Meaning of the Poetry
According to our to fully appreciate a piece, it is needed to understand all the words used. So, for example, get a good dictionary and look up all the unknown words. Then go through partly known words and phrases and check these too. Also, maybe check the meaning of words that are used a lot, but remember some text may have had a different meaning a century ago, so use the internet to look up anything that is not clear. Furthermore, people and places and any cultural relevance of the time should be researched too to get a deeper look at the poet's attitude towards the piece. Patterns might become visible at this point and maybe the theme of the poem.
Structure of the Poem
When looking at the structure of the piece this will reveal more information so pay close attention to this. Look at the organization and sections, this will unlock more questions:
- What does each part discuss?
- How do the parts relate to each other?
- Can you see formal separations?
- What logical sense does it have?
- Is there emotional sense that can be evaluated?
- Does having a strict format say anything about the poet?
- Also failing to have a strict structure does this reveal something?
Once you have observed the structure, it is possible to go deeper into the poem analysis essay and investigate how the speaker communicates the poem to the reader.
Tone and Intonation of the Poetry
So now it is possible to look at the poet and see what details can be obtained from them. Is it possible to see the gender or age of the speaker? Is there some race or religious references to pick up on? Then can we see if the speaker is directly communicating their thoughts and ideas to the reader? If not, what is the character the poet has created to convey the ideas or messages? Does the poet's persona differ to the character created and what can be analyzed from this? Also the mood of the speaker could be available now, are they happy or sad, and how can you find out this from the poem?
Once the poet is understood it is possible to move onto who or what the poem is designed for. Then you can see the purpose of the poetry, what does the poet want from the reader? It is also possible that the poet does not desire a response from the audience and is simply making a statement or expressing themselves.
For example, a poem about spring could just be a happy statement that winter has ended. Looking from the other side, this could be an attempt to attract someone's attention or maybe just an instruction to plow the field.
Purpose of the Poem
The subject of the poem can help identify the purpose, as this usually will be what the poet is describing. Then the theme can be identified also, and what does it say about the work? Are there any links between the theme and the subject and what can analyzed from that? The timeframe is also an important factor to consider, for example, the poet's goal back when it was written, may have changed and why? Furthermore, has the original purpose survived the test of time and can it be said to be the best indicator of success?
Language and Imagery of the Poetry
Until this point it was only possible to analyze the literal information available which is the denotative meaning.’ Now let's look at the imagery, symbolism and figures of speech, this is the connotative meaning.
This is where you should look for pictures described within the text and analyze why they have been depicted? So for example, if the poet thas decided to describe the moon this could set the time in the work or maybe the mood of the poem. Also look for groups of images described and patterns within this, what can be deducted from that?
So when looking for symbolism within the text this could be an event or physical object, including people and places that represent non-physical entities like an emotion or concept. For example, a bird flying through the air can be seen as freedom and escaping usual conforms.
In your analysis you will look at techniques like metaphors, similes, personification and alliteration to include just a few. It's important to identify the actual device used and why it was chosen. For example, when comparing something within the text using a metaphor then look at how they are connected and in what way they are expressed? Try to use all available clues to gain better insight into the mind of the poet.
Music of the Poem
Poetry and music have deep connections and can be compared together due to the history and uses throughout the ages.
Here are some things to look out for to help with those comparisons:
- Meter - This can be available to investigate in different ways, for example, iambic pentameter has a strict five beats per line just like a musical score if used what does it say?
- Rhythm - Just like with music, poem can have a rhythm but if there is no given meter, it is needed to look closer and observe what this does to the work. For example, a particular beat that is fast could make the poem happy.
- Special effects - Looking for not so obvious signs where the poet has written in a way so you take longer to pronounce words. Also it is possible to grab your attention in other ways, for what reason has the writer done that?
- Rhyme - There are many different types of rhyming techniques used within poetry, once identified look at how it impacts on the work like make it humorous for example? Be careful to look for unusual patterns for example rhymes within the lines and not just at the end of the sentences, even reading out aloud might help find these and then what does it this say about the poem?
- Sound effects - The depiction of different sounds can be powerful and also using different voices, look at what impact this has on the piece and why?
- Breaking Rules - Rhyme and meter for example can have very specific rules but what if the poet decided to break these conventional techniques and make something new, what does this add to the work and why
How to Write a Poem Analysis Essay?
Below you will find a compelling guide on how to analyze poetry with handy writing tips:
- Choose a suitable poem - If possible, before you start, pick the main subject of your essay, a poem that you would like to analyze. The more you find it interesting, the easier it will be to handle the task.
- Read it fully - If you are wondering how to analyse poetry, the first step you can’t go without is carefully reading the chosen poem multiple times and, preferably, out loud.
- Always double-check the meanings - When reading a poem, don’t forget to check for the meanings of unknown (and known as well) words and phrases.
- Collect all the details you need - To write a compelling essay, you need to study the poem’s structure, contents, main ideas, as well as other background details.
- Explore hidden meanings - When analyzing poem, be sure to look beyond the words. Instead, focus on finding broader, hidden ideas that the author wanted to share through his piece.
- Make an outline - Once you have analyzed poem, outline your essay and write it following the plan.
- Proofread and edit - Finally, once your essay is ready, take your time to revise and polish it carefully.
Poetry Analysis Template
To write a winning poem analysis essay, use the template below or order an essay from our professionals.
- 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
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.
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.
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 Essay Example
Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s Poem “Annabel Lee”
Written in 1849 and first published after the author’s death, Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe is a beautiful story of true love that goes beyond life. In the poem, the author is commemorating the girl named Annabel Lee, whom he knew since childhood. Despite the young age, the love between the narrator and Annabel was so deep and true that even angels were jealous, and, according to Edgar Allan Poe, their jealousy was so severe that they killed the love of his life. The poem ends with young Annabel Lee being buried in a tomb, leaving the readers with a feeling that the author kept holding on to his love for her for many years after her death.
The two evident topics in the poem are love and loss. The entire narration revolves around the author’s agonizing memory, at the same time demonstrating to the readers the purity and power of true love that makes him cherish the memory of his beloved one even after she is gone. Apart from that, Edgar Allan Poe also discusses such issues of love as jealousy and envy. The author states that the love of the two teens was so strong that even angels in heaven were not half as happy as Annabel and Edgar, which caused them to invade the teens’ romantic “kingdom by the sea” and kill the girl.
The topics discussed in the poem, as well as the style of narration itself, give the poem a very romantic atmosphere. It follows the main principles of the romantic era in poetry in the 18th and 19th centuries, which Edgar Allan Poe was representing. At the same time, the author also gives his poem a sense of musicality and rhythm. The poem’s rhyme scheme puts emphasis on the words “Lee”, “me”, and “sea”. The repetition of these words gives the poem a song-like sound.
A significant role in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem is played by imagery, which emphasizes the author’s unique style. The main imagery used by Allan Poe in Annabel Lee is the Kingdom. The author uses this imagery to set the right tone for his poem and give it a sort of a fairytale feel. At the same time, this imagery is used to take the reader to a different place, though not specifying what exactly this place is. To confirm this - the author uses the phrase “the kingdom by the sea” multiple times in his piece, never specifying its meaning. This trick enables the readers to leave this to their own imagination.
Apart from the Kingdom, the author also operates with the imagery of angels and demons. The narrator blames them for their envy for their deep love, which resulted in the death of Annable Lee. Thus, the author gives a negative attitude towards this imagery. This brings us to another big topic of good and evil discussed in the poem.
Nevertheless, even though the angels’ intervention seems to be clear to the reader from what the author says, Poe’s choice of words doesn’t directly implicate their responsibility for the girl’s death. The narrator blames everybody for his loss. However, he does this in a very tactical and covert way.
In conclusion, it becomes clear that the narrator in Annabel Lee did not only pursue a goal to share his pain and loss. He also emphasizes that true love is everlasting by stating that his love for the gone girl lives with him after all these years. With all its deep topics, imagery, and musicality, Annabel Lee is now considered one of the best works by Edgar Allan Poe.
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How To Write A Poetry Analysis Essay: Definition, Outline, Examples
Tia - The Writer Expert
Poetry analysis is simply the process of reviewing the multiple artistic, functional, and structural pieces that make up a poem. Normally, this review is conducted and recorded within an analytical essay . This type of essay writing requires one to take a deeper look at both the choices that a poet made and the effects of those choices. In essence, these essays require an in-depth analysis of all parts that were used to form a work of poetry. Read the details from our essay writer service .
What Is A Poetry Analysis?
From an academic literary point of view, knowing the steps to follow to understand how to analyze poetry is essential. All kinds of jobs are usually found on the Internet, from relatively informal web articles to pedagogical documents in indexed journals. All of them typically coincide on one point: poems are a type of lyrical expression structured in verses. From that we can derive what a poem analysis essay should be about.
Therefore, when you have chosen a poem to analyze, it is crucial to review definitions such as stanza, lyrical object, rhyme, synalepha, syneresis, among others. In this way, poems can be classified, interpreted, and “measured.” Of course, without pretending to form unanimous criteria, since a stylized narrative emerged from inspiration always has a tremendous subjective load for whoever reads it. A good poem analysis essay or any poetry analysis in general leaves some room for interpretation. It's better not to deal in absolutes which you can see in all poem analysis essay examples.
Poetry Analysis Essay Subject Matter
The final element to writing a poetry analysis essay is a part of the composition dedicated to the poems subject matter. This can be analyzed during the reader’s quest to determine the theme, tone, mood, and poems meaning . The subject matter – and the thematic elements that support the intended message behind the subject – is often an interpretive minefield. Often, people have different ideas about what a poet is trying to say by their use of a subject, so unless the message is implicitly stated, it is best to state multiple possibilities about what the poet may have meant and included evidence for these theories. As the essay is to be an analysis, opinions are to be avoided in favor of facts and conjectures that are backed by evidence from work.
How To Choose A Topic For A Poem Analysis Essay?
A great way to choose a topic for these type of assignments is to decide on a topic that would deal with information that one is already familiar with. For example, if the choice of the poem to analyze is up to the writer, then it may be beneficial for the writer to choose a poem that he/she has encountered before. If the choice is to be made between different subject areas within a poem, then the writer could find it easier to choose to focus on writing about an area that plays to his/her strengths, so that the statements made in the essay are conveyed clearly and confidently. Such assignments may seem like a daunting writing experience at first, but if the topic, outline, and paper are composed following the steps above, the essay should turn out very well.
The analysis essay is a challenging type of assignment. Your task is not to retell poetry in prose because a lyric poem is not a transposition of some prosaic intention. Still, while embodying a particular poetic state of the artist and analyzing the lyrics, you should also be able to “enter” a similar condition. To interpret in a poem analysis essay a work means to approach the author’s intention. This can be done by following the path of the so-called “slow reading” – from the first verse to the last, considering each line of poetry, its content and form, sound, images, the logic of development of the author’s feeling or thought as a step towards solving the author’s idea.
How To Write A Poetry Analysis Essay?
In order to compose a poetry analysis essay, one must first read the poem carefully. This reading allows one to become familiar with the poem helping produce a strong literary analysis essay . It is also an opportunity to make note of the rhyme scheme ( if there is one ), the type of poem ( limerick, ode, sonnet, lyric, haiku, free verse, etc .) and other poetic techniques that the poet used ( such as enjambment, meter, end-stopped lines, figurative language, etc. ). All of those elements in the poem are essential to know when one is writing such an essay because they are a part of the poem’s structure and can affect the content. It is not a bad idea to read up on these poetic terms before writing an essay, since being knowledgeable about a subject can allow one to assume a more confident tone when composing a literary analysis essay on that topic. By following the guidelines provided in this blog you will not be wondering how to write a poetry analysis assignment any longer. It is also important to follow the poem analysis essay structure. It's not paramount but it will make your poem analysis essay writing much easier.
Read out how to start a book review essay guide on EssayHub blog.
Poetry Analysis Essay Outline
An outline for a poetry analysis essay can be very simple, as it is just a guideline for the writer to build upon as the first draft is written. When starting your introductions it would probably be best to put the essays title at the top of a page, then place a Roman numeral one (I) underneath, preceding the word “ introduction ”. Under this, one can list brainstormed ideas for the introductory paragraph. The final portion of your poem analysis essay introduction should be dedicated to the papers thesis statement. Following the completion of that portion of the outline, one can move on to the body paragraphs of your example. Each of the Roman numerals used to label this part should denote a different subject area in respect to the poem that will be discussed in the essay. Letters under these numerals may be followed by subtopics within each subject area that are to be dealt within individual paragraphs ( or sentences, if it is to be a shorter essay ) within the body of the paper. At this point you are almost done with your poem analysis essay outline.
It is necessary to add a poem’s title and author in the introduction to poetry essays. Other information, such as the date of printing, may be used. You can also include the poem’s or author’s additional details, as well as interesting facts or trivia.
Body Of Text
How to analysis poetry? When composing the main body of text, bear in mind that you must reference all the poem concepts, so add a quote to support the sentence; otherwise, the analogy would be a waste of time and will not be counted. Your comments must be explicit.
Now is the time to stand back from examining the poem’s elements and find out the poem’s general significance. It is bringing together the various aspects of the study into one key concept when writing about poetry.
What is the poet’s message, and how is it expressed, and with what emotion?
Then understand the context and how this evolves.
Is it clear from the outset, or does it progressively change as the story progresses? The last few lines of a poem can be significant, so they should be included in the poem review essay conclusion and discussed in terms of their influence on the work.
How To Analyze A Poem?
So how to analyze a poem? Commenting on a text is a way to verify what the author said and how he transmitted it, relating both concepts. You have to observe the connotations and the implicit meanings, interconnecting them with precise ideas. It is a moment when the reader establishes affinity with the text he reads, exposing his aesthetic sensitivity, articulating what the author said, the way he did it, with his subjectivity of those who analyze and comment.
When you analyze poem, the text must be coherent, resulting from the articulation of all aspects to be dealt with in the different analysis plans. Citations must appear in quotation marks. When it is not necessary to quote a complete verse or a complete sentence, you must use the sign [...] at the place where the transcription is interrupted. When it is desired to quote more than one verse, and that quote follows precisely the order of the analyzed poem, the respective verses must be separated using an oblique bar.
Address to our professionals when you need thesis writing help .
This is an essential step. Analyzing a poem, you need to understand the central message; the author’s primary emotion is trying to share with the poem’s recipient.
So now you can pay attention to the poet and see what information you can learn from them. Is it easy to get the speaker’s gender or age? Were there any racial or theological allusions to be found? Can we really tell whether the speaker is expressing their opinions and suggestions to the reader directly? If not, who is the poet’s character who is conveying the thoughts or messages? Your essay on poetry must include all the vital answers.
When you’ve figured out who or what the poem is about, you should go on to who or what the poem is about. Can the meaning of the poem be seen; what does the author expect from the audience? It’s pretty likely that the poet merely makes a comment or expresses themselves without expecting a reaction from the crowd.
A poem about March, for example, might be a cheerful declaration that winter is over. At the same time, it could be an intention to get somebody’s focus.
The analysis of poetic language is the most challenging part of the whole poetry essay. It has multiple openings, and the resources are very varied, so it is necessary to analyze the elements and assign them significant values.
Presenting a list of worthless poetic elements is not of great interest to the commentary of the poem. Analyzing poems, better share your images of what’s related to the topic.
To analyse a poem successfully, you should remember the technical part of the task. If the poem has many metaphors, repetitions, or alliterations, it is in your best interests to highlight the emotional representation and expressiveness of the work you are interpreting. But don’t limit yourself to defining the style figures (for example, alliteration is the repetition of phonemes); this does not matter for the essay.
Technical Poetry Analysis Worksheet
After covering the technical aspects of a poem, it is best to learn about the poem's background. This means that one may find it beneficial to look up the poet, the date that the poem was written, and the cultural context surrounding the work. All of that information typically permits the reader a better understanding of the poem, and it seems self-explanatory that one who has an enhanced comprehension of the poem would have an easier time conducting an analysis of that poem.
Poetry Analysis Essay Tips
If you want to analyse poetry successfully, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Read the poem at least twice. This poetic analysis tip is general and applies to all text types: always read the text two times minimum. Read, in fact, as many times as necessary to understand poetry. We miss some critical points by doing just one reading, especially in poetry that expresses personal information.
- Identify the figures of speech. Another critical step is to pay attention to the figures of speech – this is precisely where you will find some information implied in the text. Pay attention to metaphors, antitheses, or any other model of speech that appears in the poem.
- Don’t let your opinion interfere with the interpretation. Precisely because it is a text with a lot of subjectivity, do not let your idea and conception of a specific theme interfere with the understanding of poetry. Always read neutrally concerning the poet’s point of view, without prejudice about the subject matter.
- Get to know the authors’ lives briefly. If you do this, you will have complementary information that will help you to interpret the poetry.
- Keep the habit of reading and try to analyze poems. Finally, keep the poetry reading habit. Reading is one of the most natural ways to get intimate with the language and its particularities.
Poetry Analysis Essay Template
1. Author and title of the poem .
2. Style : romanticism, realism, symbolism, Acmeism, sentimentalism, avant-garde, futurism, modernism, etc.
3. Genre : epigram, epitaph, elegy, ode, poem, ballad, novel in verse, song, sonnet, dedication poem, etc.
4. The history of the poem’s creation (when it was written, for what reason, to whom it was dedicated). How important is this exact poem in the poet’s biography.
5. Theme, idea, main idea .
6. The poet’s vocabulary (everyday, colloquial; bookish, neutral, journalistic).
7. Composition of the work .
- Analyze the micro-theme of each stanza. Highlight the main parts of the poetic work, show their connection (= determine the emotional drawing of the poem);
8. Description of a lyrical hero .
9. Your impressions of the work .
Poetry Analysis Essay Example
A good poem analysis essay example is an essential factor that can help you understand how to write an evaluative poetry essay. The poetry essay aims to test the ability to perceive and interpret the problems and artistic merits of the studied and independently read literary works, using the information obtained in studying the subject on the theory and history of literature. Let’s have a look at the analysis essay example of two poems.
The poem’s problem is an essential part of the poem structure and is determined by the formulation of the question in the text or the work’s subtext. This aspect of poetic work is not generally different from other literature types: the social and ethical questions are asked by the poets, and they also respond to “eternal” philosophical questions.
A poetry analysis worksheet can also be a specific set of parameters that the instructor has asked you to examine the work from . In this scenario, it is important to create a structure that will highlight the given set of instructions. An example of such a task would be " The Tyger " by William Blake . In this poem, one can examine it from the initial emerging theme examining the process of a tiger’s creation and unavoidably its end. This context lets us understand that no power other than God himself could create something as beautiful and terrifying as the tiger. However, some literary analysis essays will require you to adopt different interpretations of this subject matter. Some often compared the beauty and fear inspired by the tiger to the industrial revolution and new machinery being built at the time when Blake wrote this poem.
Another version of a poem background is that Blake explores the coexistence of good and evil and asks about the source of their existence, wondering how one creator could create both beauty and horror. Modern readers can resonate with this poem easily because the questions asked there are essential.
Sun Of The Sleepless
The author of the poem, George Byron («Sun of the Sleepless» taken as our poetry essay example), was born on January 22, 1788, in London into a titled but low-income family. The first education, from the biography of Byron, was received at a private school. Then he began to study at the classical gymnasium, the school of Dr. Gleni (there was a great desire for reading), the Harrow school. Byron wrote several poems in this school.
Metaphor is one of the linguistic, stylistic devices most often found in Byron’s lyrics; many of them indicate the poet’s peculiar style. In verse, the star illuminates the darkness that it cannot dispel. The meaning of Byron’s image: not hopelessness and bitterness of reproach, but the thought that the memory of happiness does not save, but even more “painfully” highlights the darkness.
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Writing About Poetry
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This section covers the basics of how to write about poetry, including why it is done, what you should know, and what you can write about.
Writing about poetry can be one of the most demanding tasks that many students face in a literature class. Poetry, by its very nature, makes demands on a writer who attempts to analyze it that other forms of literature do not. So how can you write a clear, confident, well-supported essay about poetry? This handout offers answers to some common questions about writing about poetry.
What's the Point?
In order to write effectively about poetry, one needs a clear idea of what the point of writing about poetry is. When you are assigned an analytical essay about a poem in an English class, the goal of the assignment is usually to argue a specific thesis about the poem, using your analysis of specific elements in the poem and how those elements relate to each other to support your thesis.
So why would your teacher give you such an assignment? What are the benefits of learning to write analytic essays about poetry? Several important reasons suggest themselves:
- To help you learn to make a text-based argument. That is, to help you to defend ideas based on a text that is available to you and other readers. This sharpens your reasoning skills by forcing you to formulate an interpretation of something someone else has written and to support that interpretation by providing logically valid reasons why someone else who has read the poem should agree with your argument. This isn't a skill that is just important in academics, by the way. Lawyers, politicians, and journalists often find that they need to make use of similar skills.
- To help you to understand what you are reading more fully. Nothing causes a person to make an extra effort to understand difficult material like the task of writing about it. Also, writing has a way of helping you to see things that you may have otherwise missed simply by causing you to think about how to frame your own analysis.
- To help you enjoy poetry more! This may sound unlikely, but one of the real pleasures of poetry is the opportunity to wrestle with the text and co-create meaning with the author. When you put together a well-constructed analysis of the poem, you are not only showing that you understand what is there, you are also contributing to an ongoing conversation about the poem. If your reading is convincing enough, everyone who has read your essay will get a little more out of the poem because of your analysis.
What Should I Know about Writing about Poetry?
Most importantly, you should realize that a paper that you write about a poem or poems is an argument. Make sure that you have something specific that you want to say about the poem that you are discussing. This specific argument that you want to make about the poem will be your thesis. You will support this thesis by drawing examples and evidence from the poem itself. In order to make a credible argument about the poem, you will want to analyze how the poem works—what genre the poem fits into, what its themes are, and what poetic techniques and figures of speech are used.
What Can I Write About?
Theme: One place to start when writing about poetry is to look at any significant themes that emerge in the poetry. Does the poetry deal with themes related to love, death, war, or peace? What other themes show up in the poem? Are there particular historical events that are mentioned in the poem? What are the most important concepts that are addressed in the poem?
Genre: What kind of poem are you looking at? Is it an epic (a long poem on a heroic subject)? Is it a sonnet (a brief poem, usually consisting of fourteen lines)? Is it an ode? A satire? An elegy? A lyric? Does it fit into a specific literary movement such as Modernism, Romanticism, Neoclassicism, or Renaissance poetry? This is another place where you may need to do some research in an introductory poetry text or encyclopedia to find out what distinguishes specific genres and movements.
Versification: Look closely at the poem's rhyme and meter. Is there an identifiable rhyme scheme? Is there a set number of syllables in each line? The most common meter for poetry in English is iambic pentameter, which has five feet of two syllables each (thus the name "pentameter") in each of which the strongly stressed syllable follows the unstressed syllable. You can learn more about rhyme and meter by consulting our handout on sound and meter in poetry or the introduction to a standard textbook for poetry such as the Norton Anthology of Poetry . Also relevant to this category of concerns are 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). Is there anything that you can tell about the poem from the choices that the author has made in this area? For more information about important literary terms, see our handout on the subject.
Figures of speech: Are there literary devices being used that affect how you read the poem? Here are some examples of commonly discussed figures of speech:
- metaphor: comparison between two unlike things
- simile: comparison between two unlike things using "like" or "as"
- metonymy: one thing stands for something else that is closely related to it (For example, using the phrase "the crown" to refer to the king would be an example of metonymy.)
- synecdoche: a part stands in for a whole (For example, in the phrase "all hands on deck," "hands" stands in for the people in the ship's crew.)
- personification: a non-human thing is endowed with human characteristics
- litotes: a double negative is used for poetic effect (example: not unlike, not displeased)
- irony: a difference between the surface meaning of the words and the implications that may be drawn from them
Cultural Context: How does the poem you are looking at relate to the historical context in which it was written? For example, what's the cultural significance of Walt Whitman's famous elegy for Lincoln "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed" in light of post-Civil War cultural trends in the U.S.A? How does John Donne's devotional poetry relate to the contentious religious climate in seventeenth-century England? These questions may take you out of the literature section of your library altogether and involve finding out about philosophy, history, religion, economics, music, or the visual arts.
What Style Should I Use?
It is useful to follow some standard conventions when writing about poetry. First, when you analyze a poem, it is best to use present tense rather than past tense for your verbs. Second, you will want to make use of numerous quotations from the poem and explain their meaning and their significance to your argument. After all, if you do not quote the poem itself when you are making an argument about it, you damage your credibility. If your teacher asks for outside criticism of the poem as well, you should also cite points made by other critics that are relevant to your argument. A third point to remember is that there are various citation formats for citing both the material you get from the poems themselves and the information you get from other critical sources. The most common citation format for writing about poetry is the Modern Language Association (MLA) format .
- Types of Papers
- Rhetorical Analysis
- How To Write A Well-Developed Poem Analysis Essay
How to Write a Well-Developed Poem Analysis Essay
Poems are literary works that shed light on different social and cultural aspects. Therefore, if students want to learn how to write a well-developed poem analysis essay, an essential educational undertaking requires one to familiarize certain technical features. Basically, these features include the refrain, narrators and characters, setting, diction, imagery, figurative language, voice and tone, storyline, rhyme scheme, and structure. In this case, the extent to which a student examines these elements in poetry determines whether their analysis is shallow or deep. Hence, an in-depth analysis poem essay goes beyond reviewing the prominent features in a written piece, and it interrogates other “behind the scenes” aspects of writing.
General Guidelines on How to Write a Poem Analysis Essay
Poems are literary works that help to shed light on particular historical or present social issues. As such, students must critically analyze poetry pieces if they wish to understand the issues that people espouse what informs written pieces. Unlike other academic texts, such as essays and reports, poetry does not follow the introduction-body-conclusion outline. Instead, they use stanzas (same as paragraphs in other literary texts), where each espouses specific issues relevant to the poet’s primary mission. Therefore, a poem analysis essay requires an appraisal of the different technical features that authors use in their writings.
Poem Analysis Essay Examples
A practical poetry analysis essay requires one to break down the text into essential elements. Then, students must explain how these technical features work together to reinforce the poem’s meaning. Basically, the primary purpose of these features is to create an effect on the readers’ minds about the topic or the poetry meaning. In this case, the most effective approach in the poetry analysis is to have a solid understanding of poetry pieces they intend to analyze. Ultimately, a poetry analysis essay must examine ten technical features: refrain, narrators and characters, setting, diction, imagery, figurative language, voice and tone, storyline, rhyme scheme, and structure.
Every poem has a central message that gives its meaning. Therefore, any poem analysis essay must identify this meaning by interrogating what happens in the written piece, what authors are trying to communicate, and how powerfully they try to pass along their messages. In this case, the answer to these questions is the refrain – the line or group of lines that people repeat in every stanza. In turn, the primary function of a refrain is to emphasize the author’s central message and give poetry meaning.
2. Narrators and Characters
When analyzing a poem, one must identify the narrator – the person voicing the words. In many instances, the narrator is different from the author, who is the author. Then, another factor that one must consider when analyzing poetry is the audience – people that the narrator or the poet addresses. In this case, both narrators and authors act as speakers in poetry. Also, their role is to pass along the central message. Therefore, anyone analyzing a poem must determine how these speakers affect the poetry message and why the author chose them as conveyors of the central message.
To understand how to write a good poem analysis essay, an individual must consider its context from the poet’s perspective. In particular, the setting is the technical feature that gives poetry its boundaries. It captures various issues, including the author’s personal history. Then, other aspects that define a poem’s context are the political, social, cultural, and environmental aspects that prevail during the writing of poetry. As such, time is a critical aspect for one to consider when analyzing poetry.
A poem is a short text, meaning every word is significant to the poet’s mission. Therefore, a compelling analysis essay of a poem must consider diction (choice of words) and how the author uses it to create an impression. Here, one must determine why the author uses particular words and whether these words carry any significant meaning. In this case, essential concepts, such as the line or lines that the poet repeats in every stanza, tend to stand out. Thus, a compelling poem analysis essay should examine whether these important words emphasize or reduce the meaning of poetry.
One of the goals of poets is to impress their audience, and imagery helps a great deal. Basically, imagery is what the author uses to evoke the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, or sound in the audience. Imagery, also termed as symbolism, represents the object, action, and idea that authors espouse, and it allows them to appeal the senses. In this case, the importance of imagery is that it enables readers to empathize with speakers (narrator and characters) by imagining a similar sensory experience.
6. Figurative Language (Metaphor, Simile, Irony, and Personification)
Another feature that a poem analysis essay must include is how the author utilizes figures of speech, including metaphor, simile, irony, and personification, to create an impression or convey an idea. Ideally, what drives the author to use this language is the need to create a powerful emotional and intellectual impact. In turn, this outcome comes by ensuring the figures of speech that the poet uses help to enrich poetry to the extent that it becomes more memorable to the audience.
7. Voice and Tone
Just like any literary text, a poem has a voice and a tone. In this case, the factor determining these two features is the persona that the poet adopts, whether they are only the writer or they are both the writer and the narrator. One of the elements that reflect the voice and tone of poetry is the poet’s mood. This means that in analyzing a poem, one must identify the tone that the author uses by determining whether they (poets) are angry, ardent, regretful, or suicidal.
One of the features of a literary text that makes readers interested from the first paragraph to the last is a storyline, also known as the plot. For instance, there are many issues that a person analyzing a poem should consider to determine the poet’s storyline. Basically, these issues include conflicts, tragedies, disappointments, or events. By examining these issues and how the author deals with them, a person can understand what direction poetry takes. In essence, a storyline reflects characters that a poet uses and their roles. Also, suspense is a powerful tool that helps the author to develop a storyline.
9. Rhyme Scheme
Unlike essays and novels, a poem has a rhyme scheme, which helps create a rhyme pattern. For example, one of the most notable features that help to create a rhyme in poetry is a refrain, the line or group of lines that come at the end of every stanza. Therefore, examining whether a poem has wordings that create a rhyme is crucial in determining the poet’s approach in writing the text. Then, poetry pieces that follow a free verse style do not incorporate the rhyme scheme feature. In turn, there are many types of rhymes that authors can use in their works, including internal, slant, and identical rhymes. Also, the most common strategy that the poet uses in creating a rhyme is to utilize a rhyme scheme composed of shared vowel sounds or consonants.
In many literary works, the most common structure is the introduction-body-conclusion outline. However, this outline cannot be applied to poetry. When analyzing poetry, one determines the structure that the poet has used by examining how they have written the stanzas. In this case, the author can either use a regular stanzaic form, which involves the use of two or the same clusters of lines, or an irregular form. Whichever structure poets have used, one must determine why they used them to understand the poetry meaning. In turn, the author relates the poem’s structure to the central message (the purpose of poetry).
How to Write an Effective Poem Analysis Essay with Different Types
There are different forms of poetry that an author can choose when writing a poetry analysis essay. Two examples of poetry are haiku and epic poems. As such, when analyzing poetry, the form that the author adopts plays a significant role in determining the approach of the analysis. In analyzing a haiku, one must consider its 5-7-5 structure. Basically, this structure means that, in every stanza, the first line has five syllables, the second – seven syllables, and the third – five syllables. For instance, haiku poetry has three lines and 17 syllables. In analyzing an epic, one must consider its lengthy, narrative structure, where the poet details remarkable feats and adventures of historical characters.
How to Cite Poetry and Use Quotes in a Poem Analysis Essay
As a literary text, a poem can serve as a reference point in an academic paper. In the case of an educational poem analysis essay, a student can identify different elements of poetry to make a point. Basically, these elements include the technical features named above. As such, students must cite the poem and the specific place within the poem’s structure to locate the item they are citing. For example, when citing a poem in the MLA format, one must list the last name of the poet followed by the line or lines in the poem where the information cited originates. In turn, the information that a student cites when analyzing poetry must be in quotation marks.
Meaning of a Deep Poem Analysis Essay
There are many approaches that one can use to analyze a literary text, including a poem. For instance, a shallow analysis is where a person takes the most prominent details of a text and expound on it. However, this type of analysis reflects a lack of an in-depth understanding of a text. In a deep analysis, one goes beyond the details that are obvious to consider other factors that might be irrelevant to a shallow analysis. Also, these factors include the author’s background, the time they wrote the poem, imagery, and other technical features (as named above). When analyzing a poem, these factors influence not only the meaning of poetry but also how someone understands it. Therefore, a casual reader, who ignores these elements, cannot have a full grasp of the author’s meaning when analyzing a poem.
How to Outline a Poem Analysis Essay
As indicated, a poem’s outline is different from the introduction-body-conclusion of a typical essay. However, when writing a poem analysis essay, one can choose this outline. In the introduction, one would mention the poetry title and the highlight critical information, such as the author’s background and the context within which this poet wrote his or her poetry piece. Basically, this part must be concluded with a thesis statement . In the essay’s body, the goal is to explore the meaning of poetry, which must link with the thesis sentence. Also, the most critical information in this part should focus on analyzing the poem’s technical features. It includes imagery, symbolism, figurative language, diction, and others. In turn, the conclusion should restate the thesis claim and conclude with a thought-provoking remark.
Summing up on How to Write a Good Poetry Analysis Essay
Even though poetry is not a typical literary text, one must approach it as academic writing when making a poem analysis essay. Hence, some of the tips worth noting in an essay on a poetry analysis include:
- Read poetry pieces carefully at least twice.
- Learn about the poem’s context, including the author’s background and the time when the person wrote it.
- Identify key statements – those that the poet repeats in every stanza.
- Define the subject matter by paying attention to the theme, tone, mood, and meaning of poetry.
- Develop different ideas about what the poet is trying to communicate and pick one.
- Avoid opinions and conjectures by focusing on provable facts.
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Poetry Analysis: How to Analyze a Poem
Every author and poet has their own unique style that cannot be replicated. Based on how they think or what they are trying to portray, they create various poems to explore several ideas or theories that were on their mind.
By mastering how to analyze poetry, you also learn how to ask questions, see multiple meanings in simple things, and develop figurative thinking. Let’s give your brain a boost! Discover how to write poetry analysis from EssayPro service - custom dissertation writing .
What Is a Poetry Analysis?
Poetry analysis is the process of reviewing the multiple artistic, functional, and structural pieces that make up a poem. Typically, this review is conducted and recorded within the structure of a literary analysis essay.
The nature of poetry is expressing complex feelings, which usually makes multiple meanings. To understand them, you must examine not only words, but also rhythm, images, obvious meaning, and implied meaning.
Writing a poem analysis essay requires one to take a more in-depth look at both the choices that a poet made and the overall effects of those choices. These papers need a detailed analysis of all of the parts that were used to form a work of poetry.
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4 Pre-Writing Steps to Take
Read the poem carefully.
It is essential to reread the analyzed poetry several times to get a full grasp of the numerous ideas and concepts. This also gives you an opportunity to make a note of the rhyme scheme (if there is one), the type of poem (limerick, ode, sonnet, lyric, haiku, free verse, etc.) and other poetic techniques that the poet used (such as enjambment, meter, end-stopped lines, figurative language, etc.).
- Limerick: Limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth rhyming with one another and having three feet of three syllables each; and the shorter third and fourth lines also rhyme with each other, but having only two feet of three syllables.
- Ode: Its structure — 10-line stanzas rhyming, with the 8th line iambic trimeter and all the others iambic pentameter
- Sonnet: A fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter. Was made famous by non-other than Shakespeare! (Shakespeare invented the word "swag"... just saying)
- Lyric: A lyric poem is a comparatively short, non-narrative poem in which a single speaker presents a state of mind or an emotional state. Rather than tell a story, the speaker talks about his thoughts using a specific rhyming style.
- Haiku: Invented by the Japanese, a haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count.
- Free-Verse: Rather simple, free verse is poetry that does not rhyme or have a regular rhythm.
All of those elements of the poem are essential to know when one is writing a poetry analysis essay because they are a part of the poem’s structure and can affect the content.
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Learn About the Background of the Poem
This means that you can find it beneficial to look up the poet, the date that the poem was written, and the cultural context of the work. All of that information typically gives the reader a more in-depth understanding of the poem, and it seems self-explanatory that one who has an enhanced comprehension of the poem would have an easier time analyzing that poem.
Define a Composition Dedicated to the Subject Matter of the Poem
This can be analyzed during the reader’s quest to determine the theme, tone, mood, and meaning of the poem. The subject matter — and the thematic elements that support the intended message behind the subject — is often an interpretive minefield.
Pick a Side Among the Various Theories That You Have Created
Often, people have different ideas about what a poet is trying to say by their use of a subject, so unless the message is implicitly stated, it is best to report multiple possibilities about what the poet may have meant and included evidence for these theories.
The amateur writer can try to elaborate on several existing ideas and theories. Be careful not to mistake this with choosing a popular opinion or biased one. They should be defending the one that carries the most weight or offers the most validation. As the essay is supposed to be an analysis, try to avoid opinions in favor of facts and conjectures that are backed by evidence from work.
How to Choose a Poem to Analyze?
A great way to choose a topic for a poetry analysis essay is to decide on one that would deal with information that you are already familiar with. For example, if the choice of the poem to analyze is up to you, then it may be beneficial for you to choose a poem that you have encountered before. If the choice is to be made between different subject areas within a poem, then you could find it easier to choose to focus on writing about an area that plays to your strengths, so that the statements made in the essay are conveyed clearly and confidently.
A poem analysis essay may seem like a daunting writing assignment at first, but if the topic, outline, and paper are composed following the steps mentioned above, the paper will no doubt, turn out very well.
Poetry Analysis Essay Outline
An outline for a poetry analysis essay can be very simple. It is merely a guideline for the writer to build upon. Put the title of the paper at the top of the page, then place the number one (1) underneath, just before the word “Introduction.” Under this, you can list brainstormed ideas for the introduction paragraph of the paper. The final portion of this section should be dedicated to the thesis statement of the paper.
Need a poetry analysis essay outline? Here is a basic structure to follow for your outline:
Following an outline for a poetry research essay is recommended to make sure you organize all your thoughts and statements you want to say. No matter whether you know how to write poetry — an outline will help identify areas that need to be explored in the analysis.
Starting with the title for the analysis can be something very basic or a clever quote, a statement from the piece. Moving onto the introduction to poetry analysis, this should open with a “hook” to get the reader's attention. Follow up with the Authors name and title for the piece. Add some interesting trivia or background info that is not known to the audience, but try to keep it short. To finish off the introduction to a poetry analysis, state your thesis.
The bulk of ideas and comparisons need to be explored here in a clear, focused way. When writing a poetry analysis, each paragraph should be devoted to one point or feature you are comparing. You can divide each point by using the corresponding letter from the outline. Try to make it a coherent and specific about what is being compared (example: when stating your ideas about what the poetic devices do to the piece check whether you state each one and do not generalize). Using transition words and phrases will keep the paragraphs flowing well and more helpful to read.
It's important when looking at how to analyze a poem to finish with a set-out conclusion. Firstly, start by restating the thesis in different words. Summarize the most important findings to prove the thesis. From this, you can draw up your own opinions and take a step back and say what it all means with one key idea. Lastly, try to leave the reader with something memorable to take away with them (a thought-provoking sentence or question about the poem).
Tips for a Poetry Analysis
We have put together some handy tips to help you with when writing a poetry analysis essay:
- If possible, choose a poem that you would like to write about. This seems like a simple enough idea but very relevant. If you have the choice pick a poem you enjoy.
- Try reading the poem to a colleague or friend and even just out loud to yourself. This will help discover any hidden information from the sound, and it’s always good to get a second opinion or extra ideas.
- Don’t be scared to double-check the meanings of words and phrases. This is vital to know how to write a poem analysis essay and to the best, you can. Some words may have had different meanings, cultural references and places all should be looked up if only half certain.
- Check if the conclusion has one clear central idea or theme. Do not put in many confusing ideas or conclusions as this will look like you have not evaluated the work with focus. To go beyond a simple poetry analysis for middle school, try to show how it links to broader themes and the outside world.
- Always try to look beyond the words themselves. Hunt for hidden meanings and any little clues upon which to build a picture. Anybody could know how to write a poem but to explore the hidden meanings within poetry takes time, skill, and a lot of research.
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Poetry Analysis Essay Example
Read also a very fascinating article the Divine Comedy summary . Our readers find it very informative.
Ballad of Birmingham is the author of the poem that revolves around a little girl who would like to go downtown to take part in a freedom protest. Her mother, however, says that she cannot go because of the dangerous conditions outside. Her mother instead tells her to go to church despite the little girl's constant explanations that she would not be alone. Defeated and in a show of respect for her mother, the little girl gets dressed and goes to church. Her mother is contented that she would be fine at the church. Sooner her mother hears of an explosion that sets her racing downtown in search of her daughter. Unfortunately, she finds her daughters dress and shoes in the piles and rubbles. She is left wondering where her daughter is.
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How to Write a Poem Analysis Essay: An Epic Guide
Analyzing poetry is a challenging task – more challenging, perhaps, than analyzing any other piece of text. Poetry, by its nature, is very condensed. Several lines, or even one word, put in the context of a poem, could be very charged with meaning, connotations, and emotions. To unpack all these, you will have to read and re-read a poem many times. However, and that's good news, when you are reading good poetry, every re-read gives you more nuanced appreciation and sources of enjoyment.
As much as deep reading is vital for the appreciation, to write a literary analysis of a poem, one needs to learn about specific tools and techniques. In this post, we will outline those techniques and look at poetry analysis as a step-by-step process.
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Why Write an Essay About Poetry?
Let's get this question out of the way before we start. All students in the Literature classes all over the world must have asked themselves, "Why?"
The text-based argument is something you will need, whatever your profession might be in the future. In the info-culture we live in, it's an essential skill. When you are writing an essay analysis of a poem, you are arguing a point. This point must be proven based on the evidence you find in the text – not on your intuition, feelings, or mood, despite the widespread misconception about poetry.
Some critics compare analyzing poetry to post-mortem dissection. They say that, although it gives you a good understanding of how it was done, it kills all the pleasure of reading it. This is simply not true! The more you understand about the text, its structure, patterns, rhetoric figures, etc., the more levels you can appreciate it on. As Wordsworth insisted, poetry requires "the exertion of a co-operating power in the mind of the Reader."
When you make deep reading a habit, you start appreciating everything you read more fully. You find details that could have escaped your notice should you only scan the text to get the gist of it. The skill of poetry analysis enriches your reading experience of all literature.
How to Write an Essay on a Poem Analysis
The first thing to do is to read the poem. Twice at the very least, before you even put pen to paper. Read it silently and then aloud. Poetry was born from music and then had centuries of oral history – how it sounds matters.
Then, jot down some notes with your immediate response. What emotion(s) does the poem evoke? What feels odd about it? Are there any words that seem out of place?
Then re-read the poem once again (or several times, as needed), looking for specific poetic techniques you can recognize and seeking answers to the following question:
- Can you see rhythmic patterns? Are they regular or broken? What type of poem is it? (free verse, prose poem, formal verse?)
- What is the main focus/subject of the poem?
- Who is the speaker in the poem?
- When and where it happens?
- Why was the poem written? (to convey what?)
Poem analysis essay outline
Poem analysis is an argumentative piece. To write it effectively, you must argue some point about its theme, structure, or poetic technique. Once you have decided what your central argument will be, you should develop a thesis statement.
Your thesis should be something disputable – a statement you will defend with the help of evidence from the text. For example, "Straightforward language used by William Shakespeare in his Sonnet 18, demonstrates the stability and truthfulness of a deep feeling as opposed to whorled rhetoric of flirt and seduction."
When you have this touchstone, you can proceed to outline your main arguments and your conclusion. A working outline will have a topic sentence for every intended paragraph. For a classic 5-paragraph essay, that would look like this:
- Introduction: your thesis statement.
- Conclusion: revisit your thesis.
Poem analysis essay introduction
You already have your thesis statement, which is an essential building block for your introduction. As a rule, you should put it at the end of the introduction paragraph, making a smooth transition to the argument. However, how to start a poem analysis essay to make it a more engaging reading? For that, you will need a hook sentence. The right hook grabs your reader's attention with strong contrast, a bold statement, an interesting piece of information, or a controversial remark.
For example, "Forever tinted with the ambiguity of gender and sexuality, flirtatious, romantic, and passionate Sonnets occupy a singular place in Shakespeare's legacy."
This is a good hook for a shorter essay since it also provides some background information on the topic at hand.
Poem analysis essay body
In the body of your essay, you develop your argument. The classic essay composition dictates three main points explored in the three body paragraphs. For example, for our thesis about the straightforwardness of language, we can explore three main manifestations of language in Sonnet 18: straightforward syntax, transparent meanings, and neutral wording.
You can further break down each of the three main arguments into three minor points. For example:
- Straightforward syntax (relatively short sentences, almost no inversion, grammatical parallelism)
- Transparent meanings (minimum metaphors, personifications, or abstract concepts)
- Words are mostly neutral (no emotionally charged words, dramatic expressions, antitheses)
Don't forget that of the points you develop, you must also tie back to your thesis statement and support with the evidence from the text.
Poem analysis essay conclusion
In the conclusion, restate your thesis in light of the evidence provided. Your conclusion should leave a reader with the satisfying feeling of closure – your point proven and well-explained. After that, you can put your argument into a wider context. For example, "In the great scheme of Shakespeare's Sonnets, 18 marks the transition to a true, deep feeling, as the narrator seems to fall in love with his addressee, and realize that for the first time."
Quick Tips on Writing a Poem Analysis
- Consider a poem in a historical and cultural context. How does it fit into the conventions of its time? Is it typical? Is it innovative? Does it represent a particular literary movement (e.g., Renaissance, Classicism, Romanticism)?
- Cite your critical sources and the quotes you lift straight from the analyzed text. The most often-used citation style for poem analysis is MLA.
- Use present tense ("Author shows/reveals/compares" as opposed to "showed/revealed/compared.")
- If you don't know where to start your analysis, look for any sudden changes in the tone or style (turns or voltas). They usually occur at the critically important parts of the text. Even the lack of any changes is meaningful, as in our example with Sonnet 18.
Need More Detailed Poem Analysis Essay Example?
The poem analysis essay examples listed above should give you some idea of approaching such a task. However, suppose you need a full-fledged, detailed sample dealing with a poem of a specific genre, penned by a particular author, or done from a singular perspective. In that case, you'll do better by turning to our writing service for personalized help. Sometimes one example is worth a thousand words of explanation!
Elissa Smart is an omnipotent demiurge behind PaperHelp's blog. Driven by seething creativity, not only she helps students with particular research and writing requests, but also finds the energy to share her extensive expertise via blog posts. A Barclay College graduate, Elissa puts her BA in Psychology & Family Studies and MA in Transformational Leadership degrees to good use, being of benefit to readers who are willing to learn from accomplished experts. She can also talk about boating on the Lake Superior by the hour, roots for Atlanta Falcons, and loves to sing in thick woods.
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poem analysis essay
Writing a poetry analysis essay is not an easy feat but it is a very rewarding experience to undergo. Read on to know how to write a paper about a poem. Analyzing poetry will require you to approach the poem with an open mind (and heart). You need to be as objective as possible when trying to decipher the meaning behind the poet’s words, even if you do not fully understand what he or she is trying to express.
A few pointers in writing your poem analysis essay that can help you get started:
- Read through the poem several times and study each word carefully. Pay special attention to particular lines or verses which seem interesting or confusing. Take notes on each reading, underlining key words and phrases so that they can be easily referenced at a later date. Remember: taking good notes will help prevent ambiguity during your essay writing stage.
- How has the author used imagery, figurative language and other literary devices to develop this particular poem? Try to draw your own conclusions; you may be pleasantly surprised with your findings! Write them down in a logical order so that they clearly support one another, either by conjunction or contrast.
- What type of mood is the poet trying to convey through his/her writing? You can discover this by figuring out what emotions are being targeted: joy, fear, anger…etc. Use quotations from the text as illustrations here if necessary. Next, determine whether these feelings are being expressed successfully. If not, how could the author have improved upon it? Examples are always important for supporting points made so give examples where applicable.
- What is the overall mood of the poem? Does it seem very positive or negative, happy or sad? Give examples to support your opinion and include any evidence you think would bolster your argument.
- Is there a theme in this poem that can be used as a catalyst for writing an essay on? Look at all possibilities closely; find similarities and differences between various poems if necessary.
- Try not to jump into conclusions too soon – remember to weigh all options before choosing one that really makes sense.
Let us now define what your lecturer mean by a poem analysis.
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What is a poem analysis essay?
A poem analysis essay in literature is a piece of writing that looks at one or more poems in depth. The purpose of such essays is to give the writer an understanding of the poetry they are studying so they can be able to write about it with greater skill and insight. This makes these types of essays particularly useful for English students because many pupils will need them if they choose to study poetry at University level.
In order to write this type of essay , it is necessary for you clearly to identify what you want to achieve in your essay and formulate clear thesis statement on which to build your research and analysis. It is also important for you think carefully about how best to construct your paragraphs so they do not confuse the reader but rather communicate your points effectively and logically If you do this, then you will be able to write a poem analysis essay that effectively explores the poems you are studying while at the same time gives your reader a greater understanding of them.
A poem analysis essay must clearly state everything it intends to achieve and what its aim is before proceeding with the actual analysis itself.
- Read more about: poem explication essay .
In order to do this properly, you will need to state the purpose of your poem analysis essay at the beginning. This part of your essay should be just one paragraph long and it should clearly explain what you intend to do in your research. You might, for example, want to show how an author uses a particular literary technique or structure in their work.
Another reason why you might be asked to write a poem analysis essay is that you wish to argue about something connected with poetry such as whether there are gender differences between poetry written by men or women and what these differences are.
You must also take care when writing a poem analysis essay because you could be writing about any type of verse from sonnets (14 lines) through haikus (3 lines) to limericks (5 lines). Your topic might, for example, be a piece of free verse that is written in blank verse.
You might also need to write about how an author uses poetic techniques such as alliteration or metaphor in their work. If you do this then you will have to study and understand these key concepts. You should also consider the tone used by the poet in their poem because it can tell you a lot about what they are trying to achieve through their writing.
It is vitally important that when you write your essay, you include plenty of examples from the poetry itself of what you are discussing so that your essay makes more sense to your reader. You also have to remember that when you write about poetry, you should go into as much detail as is necessary in order to analyse the work effectively.
Poem analysis essays need to be well-researched so if you are looking for free information online regarding a particular poem you are studying and its author, then make sure what you find has been written by an authoritative source such as a University or College website.
It is also vitally important that before writing your essay or even starting any research on it that you read the poem first several times over. This will help ensure your essay conveys all of the relevant details clearly and accurately.
How to start a poetry analysis paper
A poetry analysis paper is about the literary form and aesthetic qualities of a poem. It also entails an interpretation of the poet’s attitude, thoughts, or emotions based on the text. In addition to a comprehensive analysis, you may also include your own response to the poem. In any case, a poetry analysis essay is centered on the poem alone.
Poetry analysis essays vary in length depending on the specific assignment and your writing style. You may want to follow some suggestions in order to make your paper more organized and easier to write.
First, pick out all of the important information from the poem you are analyzing. This will help you structure your paragraphs clearly and logically as you compose your paper’s body–essentially creating an outline which will then guide your overall writing. Once you have this basic framework built, fill it in with details about how the poet conveys his/her message by making use of different literary devices like rhyme scheme, metaphor, etc., using examples from the text itself as needed. When you are done, you will have a complete and authentic poetry analysis essay.
There’s no definite formula for writing a winning poetry analysis essay. You can create an original piece of work as long as you follow your teacher’s guidelines and include the needed information he/she provided (if any). As this is a subjective assignment, it may be challenging to find specific writing tips that apply to every student.
However, given below are some general pointers that should help:
First, read the poem several times over to get familiar with it before proceeding with your research. Try to relate what you understand about the poetic form with its overall meaning (also try to remember the moods or emotions conveyed by the poem while doing this). This will help you gain a better understanding of the whole.
Once you’ve read it enough times, try to understand the perspective and point-of-view of the poet by viewing it from different angles. Then look into some background information about the poem such as its publication history and any criticisms or reviews written about it. This will give you an idea of what readers have felt while reading that particular piece.
Then make a list of all literary devices used inside the poem (mainly ones which can help reveal the author’s message). Discuss why they are chosen; also include general observations about how these tools were utilized strategically within the text in order to represent certain meanings or ideas effectively.
You should also look at other poems in this collection to get more specific ideas on how the poet writes. Poets may also belong to a specific poetic movement or school of thought and you should make brief comments on that as well.
You can also give your own thoughts about the poem if you like, however, it is not required in order for you to get an excellent grade. You may ask yourself questions like: How does this make me feel? Or what emotions do I associate with this text? Your responses will definitely come from your heart and are most likely very genuine (which will help readers relate with your analysis better).
In any case, remember that the final decision remains exclusively with your instructor when he/she evaluates and grades your essay based on his/her own standards and preferences. If you follow the above guidelines, you will get a good grade without having to worry too much.
You should also make sure that you cite any sources from where you found these background details by including notations at the end of your paper. It is important to credit them since they helped you expand your understanding while writing this analysis.
If you are still struggling with the topic sentence and thesis statement , then look for examples in other student essays which may help give you some ideas on how to present a well-structured paper that follows an ideal format (i.e., deciding whether or not to use quotes is one such decision that can be easier with prior knowledge). Once again, depending on what type of paper you have been asked to write will help your understanding greatly.
With the right tools and enough experience, you will be able to write excellent poetry analysis essays on your own in no time at all. Remember that it is better if you understand what your instructor expects before writing. If not, check out this example of a good poetry analysis essay for some ideas: poem analysis essay sample .
Good luck with your essay! Are there any specific problems or questions that you would like to ask? Post your task now for help now!
Poem analysis essay structure
A poem analysis essay should have an introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction includes the poet, title of poem, and why it is significant to you or society. The body should include a summary of the poem with specific examples that show how it relates to your thesis statement (a claim about what you will prove by analyzing the poem). In addition, there should be evidence from the text that supports this claim. The final paragraph of the essay should talk about how this body evidence supports your thesis as well as restate what your thesis was in order to finish off on a strong closing claim.
Here is an example on how to structure a poem analysis essay :
Sample Poem Analysis Essay Outline: “Autumnal Equinox”” By Robert Frost
Robert Frost was born in 1874 and died 1961. He was an American poet. The poem “Autumnal Equinox” describes the beauty of man and nature interacting with each other in perfect harmony.
Summary: The poem tells a story about two men walking down a road on their way to work. They encounter two women who are doing the same thing. One woman is dressed modestly, carrying her lunch basket. The other one is more provocative, wearing shorts and flirting with the men as they walk by her. The first man (with whom you identify) admires then ignores the sensuous looker because he has Mary, his wife at home to love him honestly for himself; while the second man lusts after her because he is married to a woman who does not appreciate him for who he is. The first man then imagines what it would be like if people were able to see through the characters they present and bestow upon them the love that they deserve.”
Evidence: When you meet a stranger/person you may give your true self or a façade of yourself. You may also have an effect on other people through your personality, body language and style. This poem illustrates the different types of love humans can experience by showing two men encounter two women dressed differently on their way to work in nature, where we are meant to feel whole without pretense: “And each kept wholly to himself” (lines 13-14). One man admires her sensuous look, while the other ignores her all together. Then you are invited to imagine what it would be like if we could see through the characters that people present and discover who they truly are in order to grant them love: “But as he drew her near/ To touch his arm she went” (lines 17-18).
Robert Frost is excellent at describing how people interact with each other without pretense because nature is where we feel whole. You could not tell by looking at this woman or man that she was mean or generous, a loving person or one seeking pleasure; but when either of them came close enough for someone else to touch their arms, you discovered who they were and gave them true love. In conclusion, people need to look at each other past the exteriors and see who they are on the inside before judging others.
Poem analysis essay format / outline
Format for poem analysis essay should include:
- Introduction: background information on the poem
- Body / Analysis of poem: discuss the layout and style of writing (analyze poetic devices, imagery, etc.) This is where you get down to actual criticism. This can be a minimum of one page. An essay about one page long with no additional examples cited supporting your claims is fine.
- Conclusion : To conclude a poem analysis essay, the following may be helpful: Summarize your critical findings and discuss how you interpret the poet’s intended meaning and to whom it is directed.
- Works Cited / Reference Page (At least two sources must be cited.) Use a citation style specific to your discipline when citing sources in an essay.
Read: how to structure an essay .
Summary of poem analysis essay format:
The introduction is only one paragraph, but, to gain credit for an introductory paragraph, provide background information on the topic and specific title of work being studied. The important thing about this section is that it sets up the rest of the paper by explaining why someone would want to study the topic and what you hope to show by writing your paper.
The meat of the essay is in its body, which should be a minimum of one page. Each paragraph should have some kind of transition sentence or phrase at the beginning so that it is clear how each new aspect will relate to previous information. One of the most common mistakes made when writing papers is not tying together all parts with transitions between paragraphs and sentences; don’t make this mistake!
Your conclusion can summarize what was accomplished in the essay or further explore ideas presented throughout the piece. If you use an outside source for research, cite it using a proper citation style.
In short, poem analysis essays are longer than opinion papers because they require greater research and depth as to content. They include a lot of information on the poet, work being analyzed and your understanding of said content.
Poem analysis essay outline example:
Introduction (Background Information) : “The Great Depression” by John Steinbeck is an autobiographical account of the author’s experiences during The Great Depression which occurred from 1929 to 1939 in the United States. An estimated 33 million Americans were unemployed during that period due to low demand for goods and services which greatly hurt many families financially. This event caused many people to be homeless or live below subsistence level conditions until World War II began pulling the nation out of its economic slump with military spending placing many people back in jobs earning high wages and purchasing new consumer goods like cars, electric appliances even though many were just barely scraping by.
Body (In-depth Analysis):
The writer’s style is clear and simple which allows the reader to focus on the content of the poem rather than trying to understand complex vocabulary or difficult sentence structure.
Description: To describe an event, place or person, it is helpful to start with details that are specific and concrete like colors, shapes, sizes.
It is also important to include comparisons (e.g., larger than a pencil) that help fully envision what you are describing; this draws in your audience so they can see for themselves what you are talking about instead of having to make it up in their imagination or skim over the passage while trying to guess what it might be. Imagery:
Imagery is when words suggest sensory information like smells, tastes and sights. The use of “yellow” to describe a sunrise implies that the sun appears yellow when it first rises in the morning sky.
In other poems (like “Ode on a Grecian Urn”), imagery serves another purpose by introducing symbolism which is when objects refer to ideas beyond their physical properties (e.g., the urn refers not only to a pot for holding ashes but also to an idea of love being untouchable).
Conclusion: Steinbeck’s true personality comes out in this poem as he recounts his own experiences with poverty and how much they affect many people’s lives. It shows how valuable one event can be even when it triggers a chain reaction to other events that have no purpose other than causing further disaster.
Poetry analysis essay example
This is a sample poem analysis essay. The poem in question here is “Lost” by Alexander Pope. This essay was submitted as a sample by a student after using Tutlance to lean how to structure a poem analysis essay from our tutors. You can use this sample to write
The poem, “Lost” by Alexander Pope, tells the story about a man who is searching for his lost love: “Whilst she from Him still hears some faithful fame/ And thousand kisses to her name addressed…he grows old alone.” (Pope 8). He does not know where she went and what happened to her. In this piece of literature, he describes how much he misses his love. Aside from that, Pope tells us something else. He put aside his love for his friend and he chose to be faithful to that woman: “And thousand kisses to her name addressed.” The poet wants us to understand how much he loves the girl; it is very true of a man who had loved his mate. Although he misses the love of his life, he feels lonely without her: “…when thou art gone where none but gossips come…” (Pope 16). He believes that she will never come back; it is impossible for them to meet again because she has left him too long ago. He remembers how they first met each other until here in this place, but then everything was lost when she disappeared. This hidden meaning reveals itself as we read further in the poem: “…and I feel thy want reviving my pains as much as ever.” (Pope 19). He thinks that if she is in the place where he or any person cannot see her, there will be no feelings of love between them.
In this poem, Pope uses several literary devices used to achieve his purpose; these devices are the metaphor, repetition and rhyme scheme. When she left him, it was like losing a part of himself. In the first two stanzas of this poem, Pope describes how lonely he felt without her. He explains that when he goes out with friends, they do not understand what happened to him but his heart: “But then your absence makes me all too known/ How steep that hill with steps how high you drawn!”(Pope 10-11). The poet is saying that when she left him, it was like climbing the highest mountain in the world. Pope wants us to understand how much he loves her. He uses these images of mountains and steps “to describe how difficult it is to be apart from his love.”
In this poem, Alexander Pope uses repetition three times because it helps create a rhythm and rhyme scheme. In the first stanza, he repeats an image: “…my dull eyes with wandering to and fro…” (Pope 1). Then he repeats what he said before: “…and make delays as lovers do…”(Pope 2) The last time Pope repeats words are when we read the last two lines of each stanzas: “…come live with me and be my love… …let us make haste to live…” (Pope 3-4). The poet makes no change when he repeats this twice.
“…when she from Him still hears some faithful fame/ And thousand kisses to her name addressed.” (Pope 8)
The last quotation of this poem is the most important one because it tells how much Pope loves his beloved: “…when thou art gone where none but gossips come…”(Pope 16). In this line, Pope uses onomatopoeia for several times. He describes that she has disappeared a long time ago, but she hasn’t lost someone who really loves her so deeply inside of him; it is like he knows what happened to her just by intuition: “…But gossips all my faith would have betrayed…”(Pope 16). Even though he could not see her, Pope is still faithful to his love.
This poem tells us that we should value and appreciate the things around us because they are gone forever if we do not do anything about it. Since you’ve read this article, you probably understand that in life there will come a time when we lose something or someone very important to ourselves; I was sure that this topic must be important for everybody no matter who you are or where you come from: “Lose something every day… Accept the flusteration.” (Stevens). This piece of literature can teach us how to face all problems in our lives. We will find solutions to all problems as long as we focus our minds and hearts on it.
I also would like to recommend you to read the other works of Pope; he is an amazing writer, so his work is very interesting for any reader. It was one of my favourite poets, and I’m sure that after reading this article not only you but others will love him too.
How to write a poem evaluation essay
In a poem evaluation essay, you will be offering a critical analysis of the artwork (usually a poem) you are evaluating. You will also be revealing your opinion on this art form, provide an explanation for your conclusion and suggest what else can be done to improve upon it.
Critical analysis is a literary technique that involves the examination and evaluation of an artwork.
In a poem (or any form of art) evaluation essay, you are expected to analyze the qualities of various aspects or elements within the work of art. The problem with writing such an essay is that it may be quite difficult to decide exactly where to begin analyzing the work.
You will need to do some research on your own before beginning your essay and draft out an outline for your essay. Once you have done this, try working on each section individually before adding them all together into one cohesive piece.
How to structure a poetry analysis essay?
This is a difficult question, because poetry can be written in many different ways. However, I’ll share some ideas that might work.
First, you could discuss the use of language in the poem and how it shapes meaning. You could talk about the tone of the poem, and how it changes over time. When discussing structure you might consider: where the poem moves from one idea to another (how does a transition happen?), how much time passes or changes between two sections of a poem, or what causes an action to start? You could also talk about how a particular technique shapes meaning in a poem–for example, when line length affects meaning. This would be relevant for poems with fixed line lengths (like haiku) but might not apply to free verse. Another technique to discuss would be rhyme–both the kinds of rhyming used in a poem (and why it’s chosen) and how meaning is affected by using different types of rhymes.
As for style, this could take many forms as well. For instance, you might consider: what kind of language or diction is the poem written in? How are these words arranged on the page, and how does that affect meaning? To examine syntax, you might look at how lines are connected–how do they flow together when read aloud? Is there repetition within a section or between sections; what causes one part to end and another part to begin? You could also consider imagery–what images are presented and how they might affect meaning.
All of these elements are important to poetry, and this is just a short list I’ve compiled. For more ideas you could look at this list of poetic terms from a university level course (though it focuses on poems in English).
These are some useful terms to know when writing a poem analysis essay: form, structure, style, tone, imagery, syntax and diction. You should also keep in mind that there’s no strict definition for what a poem “is”–for example, some genres break rules or mix together different kinds of language. This means that you can talk about why poets would make such choices even if the poem isn’t strictly following traditional expectations.
As far as sources go, you might look at the poems themselves. There’s also a wide variety of academic sources about poetry (you could search for them using keywords like “poetry analysis” to find more). It might be helpful to read through some examples of poem analysis, as they’ll give you practice on how to structure your own essay. You should always use credible sources. If you’ve found a useful book or article, it will probably have a Works Cited in its back matter which lists where the author got her information from–and this is an important part of an academic paper.
You can often find these online by searching for a title and author; if not, the library can help you locate one that matches.
Poem Analysis Essay Writing help
To conclude, if you are having problems writing a poem analysis essay, then it might be wise for you to consider using the services of an essay writing service such as Tutlance. These types of companies employ professional writers who have years of experience in writing academic essays and term papers so they are more than capable of helping you with your assignment. They also use software that is designed specifically to detect plagiarism when they write essays or create them from scratch if necessary.
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