How to Write a Poetry Essay: Step-By-Step-Guide

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Table of contents

  • 1 What Is A Poetry Analysis?
  • 2 How to Choose a Poem for Analysis?
  • 3.0.1 Introduction
  • 3.0.2 Main Body
  • 3.0.3 Conclusion
  • 4.1 Title of the Poem
  • 4.2 Poetry Background
  • 4.3 Structure of the Poem
  • 4.4 Tone and Intonation of the Poetry
  • 4.5 Language Forms and Symbols of the Poetry
  • 4.6 Poetic devices
  • 4.7 Music of the Poem
  • 4.8 Purpose of Poem
  • 5 Poetry Analysis Template
  • 6 Example of Poem Analysis

Edgar Allan Poe once said:

“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” 

The reader’s soul enjoys the beauty of the words masterfully expressed by the poet in a few lines. How much meaning is invested in these words, and even more lies behind them? For this reason, poetry is a constant object of scientific interest and the center of literary analysis.

As a university student, especially in literary specialties, you will often come across the need to write a poetry analysis essay. It may seem very difficult when you encounter such an essay for the first time. This is not surprising because even experienced students have difficulty performing such complex studies. This article will point you in the right direction and can be used as a poetry analysis worksheet.

What Is A Poetry Analysis?

Any poetry analysis consists in an in-depth study of the subject of study and the background details in which it is located. Poetry analysis is the process of decomposing a lyrical work into its smallest components for a detailed study of the independent elements. After that, all the data obtained are reassembled to formulate conclusions and write literary analysis . The study of a specific lyric poem also includes the study of the hidden meaning of the poem, the poet’s attitude and main idea, and the expression of individual impressions. After all, the lyrics aim to reach the heart of the reader.

The goal of the poetry analysis is to understand a literary work better. This type of scientific research makes it possible to study entire categories of art on the example of specific works, classify them as certain movements, and find similarities and differences with other poems representing the era.

A poetry analysis essay is a very common type of an essay for university programs, especially in literary and philological areas. Students are often required to have extensive knowledge as well as the ability of in-depth analysis. Such work requires immersion in the context and a high level of concentration.

How to Choose a Poem for Analysis?

You are a really lucky person if you have the opportunity to choose a poem to write a poetry analysis essay independently. After all, any scientific work is moving faster and easier if you are an expert and interested in the field of study. First of all, choose a poet who appeals to you. The piece is not just a set of sentences united by a common meaning. Therefore, it is primarily a reflection of the thoughts and beliefs of the author.

Also, choose a topic that is interesting and close to you. It doesn’t matter if it is an intimate sonnet, a patriotic poem, or a skillful description of nature. The main thing is that it arouses your interest. However, pay attention to the size of the work to make your work easier. The volume should be sufficient to conduct extensive analysis but not too large to meet the requirement for a poem analysis essay.

Well, in the end, your experience and knowledge of the poetry topic are important. Stop choosing the object of study that is within the scope of your competence. In this way, you will share your expert opinion with the public, as well as save yourself from the need for additional data searches required for better understanding.

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Poem Analysis Essay Outline

A well-defined structure is a solid framework for your writing. Sometimes our thoughts come quite chaotically, or vice versa, you spend many hours having no idea where to start writing. In both cases, a poem analysis outline will come to your aid. Many students feel that writing an essay plan is a waste of time. However, you should reconsider your views on such a work strategy. And although it will take you time to make a poetry analysis essay outline, it will save you effort later on. While a perfect way out is to ask professionals to write your essays online , let’s still take a look at the key features of creating a paper yourself. Working is much easier and more pleasant when you understand what to start from and what to rely on. Let’s look at the key elements of a poem analysis essay structure.

The essence of a poetry essay outline is to structure and organize your thoughts. You must divide your essay into three main sections: introduction, body, and conclusions. Then list brainstormed ideas that you are going to present in each of these parts.

Introduction

Your essay should begin with an introductory paragraph . The main purpose of this section is to attract the attention of the reader. This will ensure interest in the research. You can also use these paragraphs to provide interesting data from the author of the poem and contextual information that directly relates to your poem but is not a part of the analysis yet.

Another integral part of the poem analysis essay introduction is the strong thesis statement . This technique is used when writing most essays in order to summarize the essence of the paper. The thesis statement opens up your narrative, giving the reader a clear picture of what your work will be about. This element should be short, concise, and self-explanatory.

The central section of a literary analysis essay is going to contain all the studies you’ve carried out. A good idea would be to divide the body into three or four paragraphs, each presenting a new idea. When writing an outline for your essay, determine that in the body part, you will describe:

  • The central idea.
  • Analysis of poetic techniques used by the poet.
  • Your observations considering symbolism.
  • Various aspects of the poem.

Make sure to include all of the above, but always mind the coherence of your poem literary analysis.

In the final paragraph , you have to list the conclusions to which your poetry analysis came. This is a paragraph that highlights the key points of the study that are worth paying attention to. Ensure that the information in the conclusion matches your goals set in the introduction. The last few lines of a poem usually contain the perfect information for you to wrap up your paper, giving your readers a ground for further thought.

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Tips on How to Analyze a Poem

Now, having general theoretical information about what a poetry analysis essay is, what its components are, and how exactly you can make an outline, we are ready to move on to practical data. Let’s take a closer look at the key principles that you should rely on in the poetry analysis. As you might guess, just reading a poem will not be enough to make a comprehensive analysis. You have to pay attention to the smallest details to catch what other researchers have not noticed before you.

Title of the Poem

And although the poems do not always have a title, if the work you have chosen has a name, then this is a good basis for starting the poetry analysis. The title of the poetic work gives the understanding of what the poet considers to be the key ideas of his verse. In some cases, this element directly reflects the theme and idea of the poem. However, there are also common cases when the poet plays with the name, putting the opposite information into it. Look at the correlation between the title and the content of the poem. This may give you new clues to hidden meanings.

Poetry Background

To fully immerse yourself in the context of the verse, you need to study the prerequisites for its writing. Analyze poetry and pay attention to the period of the author’s life in which the work was written. Study what emotions prevailed in a given time. The background information will help you study the verse itself and what is behind it, which is crucial for a critical analysis essay . What was the poet’s motivation, and what sensations prompted him to express himself specifically in this form? Such in-depth research will give you a broad understanding of the author’s intent and make your poem analysis essay writing more solid.

This fragment of your poem analysis essay study also includes interpretations of all the difficult or little-known words. Perhaps the analyzed poem was written using obsolete words or has poetic terms. For a competent poem analysis, you need to have an enhanced comprehension of the concepts.

Structure of the Poem

Each lyrical work consists of key elements. The theory identifies four main components of a poem’s structure: stanza, rhyme, meter, and line break. Let’s clarify each of the terms separately so that you know exactly what you are supposed to analyze.

The stanza is also called a verse. This element is a group of lines joined together and separated from other lines by a gap. This component of the poem structure exists for the ordering of the poem and the logical separation of thoughts.

The next crucial element is rhyme. This is a kind of pattern of similar sounds that make up words. There are different types of a rhyme schemes that a particular poem can follow. The difference between the species lies in the spaces between rhyming words. Thus, the most common rhyme scheme in English literature is iambic pentameter.

The meter stands for a composite of stressed and unstressed syllables, following a single scheme throughout the poem. According to the common silabotonic theory, the poem’s rhythm determines the measure of the verse and its poetic form. In other words, this is the rhythm with which lyrical works are written.

Finally, the line break is a technique for distinguishing between different ideas and sentences within the boundaries of one work. Also, the separation serves the reader as a key to understanding the meaning, thanks to the structuring of thoughts. If the ideas went continuously, this would create an extraordinary load on perception, and the reader would struggle to understand the intended message.

Writing an essay about poetry requires careful attention and analysis. Poems, although short, can be intricate and require a thorough understanding to interpret them effectively. Some students may find it challenging to analyze poetry and may consider getting professional help or pay to do an assignment on poetry. Regardless of the approach, it is essential to create a well-structured essay that examines the poem’s meaning and provides relevant examples.

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Tone and Intonation of the Poetry

The tone and intonation of the poem could be analyzed based on two variables, the speaker and the recipient. Considering these two sides of the narrative, you can reach a better overview of the analyzed poem.

The first direction is to dig deeper into the author’s ideas by analyzing thematic elements. Pay attention to any information about the poet that can be gleaned from the poem. What mood was the author in when he wrote it, what exactly he felt, and what he wanted to share? What could he be hiding behind his words? Why did the poet choose the exact literary form? Is it possible to trace a life position or ideology through analysis? All of this information will help you get a clue on how to understand a poem.

The analysis of the figure of the recipient is also going to uncover some crucial keys to coherent study. Analyze a poem and determine whether the poem was written for someone specific or not. Find out whether the poet put motivational value into his work or even called readers to action. Is the writer talking to one person or a whole group? Was the poem based on political or social interests?

Language Forms and Symbols of the Poetry

Having sufficiently analyzed the evident elements of the poem, it is time to pay attention to the images and symbols. This is also called the connotative meaning of the work. It can sometimes get challenging to interpret poems, so we will see which other poetic techniques you should consider in the poetry analysis essay.

To convey intricate ideas and display thoughts more vividly, poets often use figurative language. It mostly explains some terms without directly naming them. Lyrical expression works are rich in literary devices such as metaphor, epithet, hyperbole, personification, and others. It may sometimes get really tough to research those poem elements yourself, so keep in mind buying lit essay online. Descriptive language is also one of the techniques used in poems that requires different literary devices in order to make the story as detailed as possible.

To fully understand poetry, it is not enough just to describe its structure. It is necessary to analyze a poem, find the hidden meanings, multiple artistic means, references the poet makes, and the language of writing.

Poetic devices

Poetic devices, such as rhythm, rhyme, and sounds, are used to immerse the audience. The poets often use figurative techniques in various poems, discovering multiple possibilities for the readers to interpret the poem. To discover the composition dedicated to the precise verse, you need to read the poem carefully. Consider studying poetry analysis essay example papers to better understand the concepts. It is a certain kind of reader’s quest aimed at finding the true meaning of the metaphor the poet has hidden in the poem. Each literary device is always there for a reason. Try to figure out its purpose.

Music of the Poem

Many poems formed the basis of the songs. This does not happen by chance because each poem has its own music. Lyrical works have such elements as rhythm and rhyme. They set the pace for reading. Also, sound elements are often hidden in poems. The line break gives a hint about when to take a long pause. Try to pay attention to the arrangement of words. Perhaps this will reveal you a new vision of the analyzed poem.

Purpose of Poem

While you analyze a poem, you are supposed to search for the purpose. Each work has its purpose for writing. Perhaps this is just a process in which the author shares his emotions, or maybe it’s a skillful description of landscapes written under great impressions. Social lyrics illuminate the situation in society and pressing problems. Pay attention to whether the verse contains a call to action or an instructive context. Your task is to study the poem and analyze the motives for its writing. Understanding the general context, and especially the purpose of the poet will make your analysis unique.

Poetry Analysis Template

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To make it easier for you to research, we have compiled a template for writing a poetry analysis essay. The best specialists of the our writing service have assembled the main guides that will serve as a layout for your essay. Choose a poem that suits you and analyze it according to this plan.

Introduction:

  •     The title of the poem or sonnet
  •     The name of the poet
  •     The date the poem was first published
  •     The background information and interesting facts about the poet and the poem
  •     Identify the structure of the poem, and the main components
  •     Find out the data about the speaker and recipient
  •     State the purpose of the poem
  •     Distinguish the topic and the idea of the verse

Figurative language:

  •     Study the literary devices
  •     Search for the hidden meanings

Following these tips, you will write a competitive poem analysis essay. Use these techniques, and you will be able to meet the basic requirements for quality work. However, don’t forget to add personality to your essay. Analyze both the choices of the author of the poem and your own vision. First of all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do not limit yourself to dry analysis, add your own vision of the poem. In this way, you will get a balanced essay that will appeal to teachers.

Example of Poem Analysis

Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise,” is a powerful anthem of strength and resilience that has become an iconic piece of literature. The poem was written in the 1970s during the civil rights movement and was published in Angelou’s collection of poetry, “And Still I Rise,” in 1978. The structure of the poem is unique in that it is not divided into stanzas but is composed of a series of short phrases that are separated by semicolons. This creates a sense of continuity and momentum as the poem moves forward. The lack of stanzas also reflects the speaker’s determination to keep going, regardless of the obstacles she faces. The tone of the poem is confident and defiant, with a strong sense of pride in the speaker’s identity and heritage. The intonation is rhythmic and musical, with a repeated refrain that emphasizes the theme of rising above adversity. The language forms used in the poem are simple and direct. One of the most powerful symbols in the poem is the image of the rising sun… FULL POEM ANALYSIS

Our database is filled with a wide range of poetry essay examples that can help you understand how to analyze and write about poetry. Whether you are a student trying to improve your essay writing skills or a poetry enthusiast looking to explore different perspectives on your favorite poems, our collection of essays can provide valuable insights and inspiration. So take a look around and discover new ways to appreciate and interpret the power of poetry!

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how to title a poetry analysis essay

how to title a poetry analysis essay

Poem Analysis Essay Guide: Outline, Template, Structure

how to title a poetry analysis essay

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.

Do not worry; we can take care of your academic needs! If you do not have enough time to complete the assignment, get help from EssayService. Our " pay for essay " service has vast experience with this type of work. We have a wide range of free guides and blogs to help you so that you will have more time for the important things.

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.

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.

how to title a poetry analysis essay

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.

poem essay outline

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.

Remember that you can always send us a " write an essay for me " text and have your assignment done for you.

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.

Poetic devices

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:

poem analysis

  • 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.

Introduction

  • 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

Poetic Techniques

  • 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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A Full Guide to Writing a Perfect Poem Analysis Essay

01 October, 2020

14 minutes read

Author:  Elizabeth Brown

Poem analysis is one of the most complicated essay types. It requires the utmost creativity and dedication. Even those who regularly attend a literary class and have enough experience in poem analysis essay elaboration may face considerable difficulties while dealing with the particular poem. The given article aims to provide the detailed guidelines on how to write a poem analysis, elucidate the main principles of writing the essay of the given type, and share with you the handy tips that will help you get the highest score for your poetry analysis. In addition to developing analysis skills, you would be able to take advantage of the poetry analysis essay example to base your poetry analysis essay on, as well as learn how to find a way out in case you have no motivation and your creative assignment must be presented on time.

poem analysis

What Is a Poetry Analysis Essay?

A poetry analysis essay is a type of creative write-up that implies reviewing a poem from different perspectives by dealing with its structural, artistic, and functional pieces. Since the poetry expresses very complicated feelings that may have different meanings depending on the backgrounds of both author and reader, it would not be enough just to focus on the text of the poem you are going to analyze. Poetry has a lot more complex structure and cannot be considered without its special rhythm, images, as well as implied and obvious sense.

poetry analysis essay

While analyzing the poem, the students need to do in-depth research as to its content, taking into account the effect the poetry has or may have on the readers.

Preparing for the Poetry Analysis Writing

The process of preparation for the poem analysis essay writing is almost as important as writing itself. Without completing these stages, you may be at risk of failing your creative assignment. Learn them carefully to remember once and for good.

Thoroughly read the poem several times

The rereading of the poem assigned for analysis will help to catch its concepts and ideas. You will have a possibility to define the rhythm of the poem, its type, and list the techniques applied by the author.

While identifying the type of the poem, you need to define whether you are dealing with:

  • Lyric poem – the one that elucidates feelings, experiences, and the emotional state of the author. It is usually short and doesn’t contain any narration;
  • Limerick – consists of 5 lines, the first, second, and fifth of which rhyme with one another;
  • Sonnet – a poem consisting of 14 lines characterized by an iambic pentameter. William Shakespeare wrote sonnets which have made him famous;
  • Ode – 10-line poem aimed at praising someone or something;
  • Haiku – a short 3-line poem originated from Japan. It reflects the deep sense hidden behind the ordinary phenomena and events of the physical world;
  • Free-verse – poetry with no rhyme.

The type of the poem usually affects its structure and content, so it is important to be aware of all the recognized kinds to set a proper beginning to your poetry analysis.

Find out more about the poem background

Find as much information as possible about the author of the poem, the cultural background of the period it was written in, preludes to its creation, etc. All these data will help you get a better understanding of the poem’s sense and explain much to you in terms of the concepts the poem contains.

Define a subject matter of the poem

This is one of the most challenging tasks since as a rule, the subject matter of the poem isn’t clearly stated by the poets. They don’t want the readers to know immediately what their piece of writing is about and suggest everyone find something different between the lines.

What is the subject matter? In a nutshell, it is the main idea of the poem. Usually, a poem may have a couple of subjects, that is why it is important to list each of them.

In order to correctly identify the goals of a definite poem, you would need to dive into the in-depth research.

Check the historical background of the poetry. The author might have been inspired to write a poem based on some events that occurred in those times or people he met. The lines you analyze may be generated by his reaction to some epoch events. All this information can be easily found online.

Choose poem theories you will support

In the variety of ideas the poem may convey, it is important to stick to only several most important messages you think the author wanted to share with the readers. Each of the listed ideas must be supported by the corresponding evidence as proof of your opinion.

The poetry analysis essay format allows elaborating on several theses that have the most value and weight. Try to build your writing not only on the pure facts that are obvious from the context but also your emotions and feelings the analyzed lines provoke in you.

How to Choose a Poem to Analyze?

If you are free to choose the piece of writing you will base your poem analysis essay on, it is better to select the one you are already familiar with. This may be your favorite poem or one that you have read and analyzed before. In case you face difficulties choosing the subject area of a particular poem, then the best way will be to focus on the idea you feel most confident about. In such a way, you would be able to elaborate on the topic and describe it more precisely.

Now, when you are familiar with the notion of the poetry analysis essay, it’s high time to proceed to poem analysis essay outline. Follow the steps mentioned below to ensure a brilliant structure to your creative assignment.

Best Poem Analysis Essay Topics

  • Mother To Son Poem Analysis
  • We Real Cool Poem Analysis
  • Invictus Poem Analysis
  • Richard Cory Poem Analysis
  • Ozymandias Poem Analysis
  • Barbie Doll Poem Analysis
  • Caged Bird Poem Analysis
  • Ulysses Poem Analysis
  • Dover Beach Poem Analysis
  • Annabelle Lee Poem Analysis
  • Daddy Poem Analysis
  • The Raven Poem Analysis
  • The Second Coming Poem Analysis
  • Still I Rise Poem Analysis
  • If Poem Analysis
  • Fire And Ice Poem Analysis
  • My Papa’S Waltz Poem Analysis
  • Harlem Poem Analysis
  • Kubla Khan Poem Analysis
  • I Too Poem Analysis
  • The Juggler Poem Analysis
  • The Fish Poem Analysis
  • Jabberwocky Poem Analysis
  • Charge Of The Light Brigade Poem Analysis
  • The Road Not Taken Poem Analysis
  • Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus Poem Analysis
  • The History Teacher Poem Analysis
  • One Art Poem Analysis
  • The Wanderer Poem Analysis
  • We Wear The Mask Poem Analysis
  • There Will Come Soft Rains Poem Analysis
  • Digging Poem Analysis
  • The Highwayman Poem Analysis
  • The Tyger Poem Analysis
  • London Poem Analysis
  • Sympathy Poem Analysis
  • I Am Joaquin Poem Analysis
  • This Is Just To Say Poem Analysis
  • Sex Without Love Poem Analysis
  • Strange Fruit Poem Analysis
  • Dulce Et Decorum Est Poem Analysis
  • Emily Dickinson Poem Analysis
  • The Flea Poem Analysis
  • The Lamb Poem Analysis
  • Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night Poem Analysis
  • My Last Duchess Poetry Analysis

Poem Analysis Essay Outline

As has already been stated, a poetry analysis essay is considered one of the most challenging tasks for the students. Despite the difficulties you may face while dealing with it, the structure of the given type of essay is quite simple. It consists of the introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion. In order to get a better understanding of the poem analysis essay structure, check the brief guidelines below.

Introduction

This will be the first section of your essay. The main purpose of the introductory paragraph is to give a reader an idea of what the essay is about and what theses it conveys. The introduction should start with the title of the essay and end with the thesis statement.

The main goal of the introduction is to make readers feel intrigued about the whole concept of the essay and serve as a hook to grab their attention. Include some interesting information about the author, the historical background of the poem, some poem trivia, etc. There is no need to make the introduction too extensive. On the contrary, it should be brief and logical.

Body Paragraphs

The body section should form the main part of poetry analysis. Make sure you have determined a clear focus for your analysis and are ready to elaborate on the main message and meaning of the poem. Mention the tone of the poetry, its speaker, try to describe the recipient of the poem’s idea. Don’t forget to identify the poetic devices and language the author uses to reach the main goals. Describe the imagery and symbolism of the poem, its sound and rhythm.

Try not to stick to too many ideas in your body section, since it may make your essay difficult to understand and too chaotic to perceive. Generalization, however, is also not welcomed. Try to be specific in the description of your perspective.

Make sure the transitions between your paragraphs are smooth and logical to make your essay flow coherent and easy to catch.

In a nutshell, the essay conclusion is a paraphrased thesis statement. Mention it again but in different words to remind the readers of the main purpose of your essay. Sum up the key claims and stress the most important information. The conclusion cannot contain any new ideas and should be used to create a strong impact on the reader. This is your last chance to share your opinion with the audience and convince them your essay is worth readers’ attention.

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Poem Analysis Essay Examples 

A good poem analysis essay example may serve as a real magic wand to your creative assignment. You may take a look at the structure the other essay authors have used, follow their tone, and get a great share of inspiration and motivation.

Check several poetry analysis essay examples that may be of great assistance:

  • https://study.com/academy/lesson/poetry-analysis-essay-example-for-english-literature.html
  • https://www.slideshare.net/mariefincher/poetry-analysis-essay

Writing Tips for a Poetry Analysis Essay

If you read carefully all the instructions on how to write a poetry analysis essay provided above, you have probably realized that this is not the easiest assignment on Earth. However, you cannot fail and should try your best to present a brilliant essay to get the highest score. To make your life even easier, check these handy tips on how to analysis poetry with a few little steps.

  • In case you have a chance to choose a poem for analysis by yourself, try to focus on one you are familiar with, you are interested in, or your favorite one. The writing process will be smooth and easy in case you are working on the task you truly enjoy.
  • Before you proceed to the analysis itself, read the poem out loud to your colleague or just to yourself. It will help you find out some hidden details and senses that may result in new ideas.
  • Always check the meaning of words you don’t know. Poetry is quite a tricky phenomenon where a single word or phrase can completely change the meaning of the whole piece. 
  • Bother to double check if the conclusion of your essay is based on a single idea and is logically linked to the main body. Such an approach will demonstrate your certain focus and clearly elucidate your views. 
  • Read between the lines. Poetry is about senses and emotions – it rarely contains one clearly stated subject matter. Describe the hidden meanings and mention the feelings this has provoked in you. Try to elaborate a full picture that would be based on what is said and what is meant.

poetry analysis essay

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You may have hundreds of reasons why you can’t write a brilliant poem analysis essay. In addition to the fact that it is one of the most complicated creative assignments, you can have some personal issues. It can be anything from lots of homework, a part-time job, personal problems, lack of time, or just the absence of motivation. In any case, your main task is not to let all these factors influence your reputation and grades. A perfect way out may be asking the real pros of essay writing for professional help.

There are a lot of benefits why you should refer to the professional writing agencies in case you are not in the mood for elaborating your poetry analysis essay. We will only state the most important ones:

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  • You will get an absolutely unique plagiarism-free piece of writing that deserves the highest score.
  • All the authors are extremely creative, talented, and simply in love with poetry. Just tell them what poetry you would like to build your analysis on and enjoy a smooth essay with the logical structure and amazing content.
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As you see, there are a lot of advantages to ordering your poetry analysis essay from HandmadeWriting . Having such a perfect essay example now will contribute to your inspiration and professional growth in future.

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How to Write a Poetry Analysis Essay: Template, Topic, Sample

poetry analysis

Samuel Gorbold

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 writing 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.

how to title a poetry analysis essay

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.

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.

Introduction

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.

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.

Poetic Techniques

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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Introduction

You’ve been assigned a literary analysis paper—what does that even mean? Is it like a book report that you used to write in high school? Well, not really.

A literary analysis essay asks you to make an original argument about a poem, play, or work of fiction and support that argument with research and evidence from your careful reading of the text.

It can take many forms, such as a close reading of a text, critiquing the text through a particular literary theory, comparing one text to another, or criticizing another critic’s interpretation of the text. While there are many ways to structure a literary essay, writing this kind of essay follows generally follows a similar process for everyone

Crafting a good literary analysis essay begins with good close reading of the text, in which you have kept notes and observations as you read. This will help you with the first step, which is selecting a topic to write about—what jumped out as you read, what are you genuinely interested in? The next step is to focus your topic, developing it into an argument—why is this subject or observation important? Why should your reader care about it as much as you do? The third step is to gather evidence to support your argument, for literary analysis, support comes in the form of evidence from the text and from your research on what other literary critics have said about your topic. Only after you have performed these steps, are you ready to begin actually writing your essay.

Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

How to create a topic and conduct research:.

Writing an Analysis of a Poem, Story, or Play

If you are taking a literature course, it is important that you know how to write an analysis—sometimes called an interpretation or a literary analysis or a critical reading or a critical analysis—of a story, a poem, and a play. Your instructor will probably assign such an analysis as part of the course assessment. On your mid-term or final exam, you might have to write an analysis of one or more of the poems and/or stories on your reading list. Or the dreaded “sight poem or story” might appear on an exam, a work that is not on the reading list, that you have not read before, but one your instructor includes on the exam to examine your ability to apply the active reading skills you have learned in class to produce, independently, an effective literary analysis.You might be asked to write instead or, or in addition to an analysis of a literary work, a more sophisticated essay in which you compare and contrast the protagonists of two stories, or the use of form and metaphor in two poems, or the tragic heroes in two plays.

You might learn some literary theory in your course and be asked to apply theory—feminist, Marxist, reader-response, psychoanalytic, new historicist, for example—to one or more of the works on your reading list. But the seminal assignment in a literature course is the analysis of the single poem, story, novel, or play, and, even if you do not have to complete this assignment specifically, it will form the basis of most of the other writing assignments you will be required to undertake in your literature class. There are several ways of structuring a literary analysis, and your instructor might issue specific instructions on how he or she wants this assignment done. The method presented here might not be identical to the one your instructor wants you to follow, but it will be easy enough to modify, if your instructor expects something a bit different, and it is a good default method, if your instructor does not issue more specific guidelines.You want to begin your analysis with a paragraph that provides the context of the work you are analyzing and a brief account of what you believe to be the poem or story or play’s main theme. At a minimum, your account of the work’s context will include the name of the author, the title of the work, its genre, and the date and place of publication. If there is an important biographical or historical context to the work, you should include that, as well.Try to express the work’s theme in one or two sentences. Theme, you will recall, is that insight into human experience the author offers to readers, usually revealed as the content, the drama, the plot of the poem, story, or play unfolds and the characters interact. Assessing theme can be a complex task. Authors usually show the theme; they don’t tell it. They rarely say, at the end of the story, words to this effect: “and the moral of my story is…” They tell their story, develop their characters, provide some kind of conflict—and from all of this theme emerges. Because identifying theme can be challenging and subjective, it is often a good idea to work through the rest of the analysis, then return to the beginning and assess theme in light of your analysis of the work’s other literary elements.Here is a good example of an introductory paragraph from Ben’s analysis of William Butler Yeats’ poem, “Among School Children.”

“Among School Children” was published in Yeats’ 1928 collection of poems The Tower. It was inspired by a visit Yeats made in 1926 to school in Waterford, an official visit in his capacity as a senator of the Irish Free State. In the course of the tour, Yeats reflects upon his own youth and the experiences that shaped the “sixty-year old, smiling public man” (line 8) he has become. Through his reflection, the theme of the poem emerges: a life has meaning when connections among apparently disparate experiences are forged into a unified whole.

In the body of your literature analysis, you want to guide your readers through a tour of the poem, story, or play, pausing along the way to comment on, analyze, interpret, and explain key incidents, descriptions, dialogue, symbols, the writer’s use of figurative language—any of the elements of literature that are relevant to a sound analysis of this particular work. Your main goal is to explain how the elements of literature work to elucidate, augment, and develop the theme. The elements of literature are common across genres: a story, a narrative poem, and a play all have a plot and characters. But certain genres privilege certain literary elements. In a poem, for example, form, imagery and metaphor might be especially important; in a story, setting and point-of-view might be more important than they are in a poem; in a play, dialogue, stage directions, lighting serve functions rarely relevant in the analysis of a story or poem.

The length of the body of an analysis of a literary work will usually depend upon the length of work being analyzed—the longer the work, the longer the analysis—though your instructor will likely establish a word limit for this assignment. Make certain that you do not simply paraphrase the plot of the story or play or the content of the poem. This is a common weakness in student literary analyses, especially when the analysis is of a poem or a play.

Here is a good example of two body paragraphs from Amelia’s analysis of “Araby” by James Joyce.

Within the story’s first few paragraphs occur several religious references which will accumulate as the story progresses. The narrator is a student at the Christian Brothers’ School; the former tenant of his house was a priest; he left behind books called The Abbot and The Devout Communicant. Near the end of the story’s second paragraph the narrator describes a “central apple tree” in the garden, under which is “the late tenant’s rusty bicycle pump.” We may begin to suspect the tree symbolizes the apple tree in the Garden of Eden and the bicycle pump, the snake which corrupted Eve, a stretch, perhaps, until Joyce’s fall-of-innocence theme becomes more apparent.

The narrator must continue to help his aunt with her errands, but, even when he is so occupied, his mind is on Mangan’s sister, as he tries to sort out his feelings for her. Here Joyce provides vivid insight into the mind of an adolescent boy at once elated and bewildered by his first crush. He wants to tell her of his “confused adoration,” but he does not know if he will ever have the chance. Joyce’s description of the pleasant tension consuming the narrator is conveyed in a striking simile, which continues to develop the narrator’s character, while echoing the religious imagery, so important to the story’s theme: “But my body was like a harp, and her words and gestures were like fingers, running along the wires.”

The concluding paragraph of your analysis should realize two goals. First, it should present your own opinion on the quality of the poem or story or play about which you have been writing. And, second, it should comment on the current relevance of the work. You should certainly comment on the enduring social relevance of the work you are explicating. You may comment, though you should never be obliged to do so, on the personal relevance of the work. Here is the concluding paragraph from Dao-Ming’s analysis of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

First performed in 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest has been made into a film, as recently as 2002 and is regularly revived by professional and amateur theatre companies. It endures not only because of the comic brilliance of its characters and their dialogue, but also because its satire still resonates with contemporary audiences. I am still amazed that I see in my own Asian mother a shadow of Lady Bracknell, with her obsession with finding for her daughter a husband who will maintain, if not, ideally, increase the family’s social status. We might like to think we are more liberated and socially sophisticated than our Victorian ancestors, but the starlets and eligible bachelors who star in current reality television programs illustrate the extent to which superficial concerns still influence decisions about love and even marriage. Even now, we can turn to Oscar Wilde to help us understand and laugh at those who are earnest in name only.

Dao-Ming’s conclusion is brief, but she does manage to praise the play, reaffirm its main theme, and explain its enduring appeal. And note how her last sentence cleverly establishes that sense of closure that is also a feature of an effective analysis.

You may, of course, modify the template that is presented here. Your instructor might favour a somewhat different approach to literary analysis. Its essence, though, will be your understanding and interpretation of the theme of the poem, story, or play and the skill with which the author shapes the elements of literature—plot, character, form, diction, setting, point of view—to support the theme.

Academic Writing Tips : How to Write a Literary Analysis Paper. Authored by: eHow. Located at: https://youtu.be/8adKfLwIrVk. License: All Rights Reserved. License Terms: Standard YouTube license

BC Open Textbooks: English Literature Victorians and Moderns: https://opentextbc.ca/englishliterature/back-matter/appendix-5-writing-an-analysis-of-a-poem-story-and-play/

Literary Analysis

The challenges of writing about english literature.

Writing begins with the act of reading . While this statement is true for most college papers, strong English papers tend to be the product of highly attentive reading (and rereading). When your instructors ask you to do a “close reading,” they are asking you to read not only for content, but also for structures and patterns. When you perform a close reading, then, you observe how form and content interact. In some cases, form reinforces content: for example, in John Donne’s Holy Sonnet 14, where the speaker invites God’s “force” “to break, blow, burn and make [him] new.” Here, the stressed monosyllables of the verbs “break,” “blow” and “burn” evoke aurally the force that the speaker invites from God. In other cases, form raises questions about content: for example, a repeated denial of guilt will likely raise questions about the speaker’s professed innocence. When you close read, take an inductive approach. Start by observing particular details in the text, such as a repeated image or word, an unexpected development, or even a contradiction. Often, a detail–such as a repeated image–can help you to identify a question about the text that warrants further examination. So annotate details that strike you as you read. Some of those details will eventually help you to work towards a thesis. And don’t worry if a detail seems trivial. If you can make a case about how an apparently trivial detail reveals something significant about the text, then your paper will have a thought-provoking thesis to argue.

Common Types of English Papers Many assignments will ask you to analyze a single text. Others, however, will ask you to read two or more texts in relation to each other, or to consider a text in light of claims made by other scholars and critics. For most assignments, close reading will be central to your paper. While some assignment guidelines will suggest topics and spell out expectations in detail, others will offer little more than a page limit. Approaching the writing process in the absence of assigned topics can be daunting, but remember that you have resources: in section, you will probably have encountered some examples of close reading; in lecture, you will have encountered some of the course’s central questions and claims. The paper is a chance for you to extend a claim offered in lecture, or to analyze a passage neglected in lecture. In either case, your analysis should do more than recapitulate claims aired in lecture and section. Because different instructors have different goals for an assignment, you should always ask your professor or TF if you have questions. These general guidelines should apply in most cases:

  • A close reading of a single text: Depending on the length of the text, you will need to be more or less selective about what you choose to consider. In the case of a sonnet, you will probably have enough room to analyze the text more thoroughly than you would in the case of a novel, for example, though even here you will probably not analyze every single detail. By contrast, in the case of a novel, you might analyze a repeated scene, image, or object (for example, scenes of train travel, images of decay, or objects such as or typewriters). Alternately, you might analyze a perplexing scene (such as a novel’s ending, albeit probably in relation to an earlier moment in the novel). But even when analyzing shorter works, you will need to be selective. Although you might notice numerous interesting details as you read, not all of those details will help you to organize a focused argument about the text. For example, if you are focusing on depictions of sensory experience in Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale,” you probably do not need to analyze the image of a homeless Ruth in stanza 7, unless this image helps you to develop your case about sensory experience in the poem.
  • A theoretically-informed close reading. In some courses, you will be asked to analyze a poem, a play, or a novel by using a critical theory (psychoanalytic, postcolonial, gender, etc). For example, you might use Kristeva’s theory of abjection to analyze mother-daughter relations in Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved. Critical theories provide focus for your analysis; if “abjection” is the guiding concept for your paper, you should focus on the scenes in the novel that are most relevant to the concept.
  • A historically-informed close reading. In courses with a historicist orientation, you might use less self-consciously literary documents, such as newspapers or devotional manuals, to develop your analysis of a literary work. For example, to analyze how Robinson Crusoe makes sense of his island experiences, you might use Puritan tracts that narrate events in terms of how God organizes them. The tracts could help you to show not only how Robinson Crusoe draws on Puritan narrative conventions, but also—more significantly—how the novel revises those conventions.
  • A comparison of two texts When analyzing two texts, you might look for unexpected contrasts between apparently similar texts, or unexpected similarities between apparently dissimilar texts, or for how one text revises or transforms the other. Keep in mind that not all of the similarities, differences, and transformations you identify will be relevant to an argument about the relationship between the two texts. As you work towards a thesis, you will need to decide which of those similarities, differences, or transformations to focus on. Moreover, unless instructed otherwise, you do not need to allot equal space to each text (unless this 50/50 allocation serves your thesis well, of course). Often you will find that one text helps to develop your analysis of another text. For example, you might analyze the transformation of Ariel’s song from The Tempest in T. S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land. Insofar as this analysis is interested in the afterlife of Ariel’s song in a later poem, you would likely allot more space to analyzing allusions to Ariel’s song in The Waste Land (after initially establishing the song’s significance in Shakespeare’s play, of course).
  • A response paper A response paper is a great opportunity to practice your close reading skills without having to develop an entire argument. In most cases, a solid approach is to select a rich passage that rewards analysis (for example, one that depicts an important scene or a recurring image) and close read it. While response papers are a flexible genre, they are not invitations for impressionistic accounts of whether you liked the work or a particular character. Instead, you might use your close reading to raise a question about the text—to open up further investigation, rather than to supply a solution.
  • A research paper. In most cases, you will receive guidance from the professor on the scope of the research paper. It is likely that you will be expected to consult sources other than the assigned readings. Hollis is your best bet for book titles, and the MLA bibliography (available through e-resources) for articles. When reading articles, make sure that they have been peer reviewed; you might also ask your TF to recommend reputable journals in the field.

Harvard College Writing Program: https://writingproject.fas.harvard.edu/files/hwp/files/bg_writing_english.pdf

In the same way that we talk with our friends about the latest episode of Game of Thrones or newest Marvel movie, scholars communicate their ideas and interpretations of literature through written literary analysis essays. Literary analysis essays make us better readers of literature.

Only through careful reading and well-argued analysis can we reach new understandings and interpretations of texts that are sometimes hundreds of years old. Literary analysis brings new meaning and can shed new light on texts. Building from careful reading and selecting a topic that you are genuinely interested in, your argument supports how you read and understand a text. Using examples from the text you are discussing in the form of textual evidence further supports your reading. Well-researched literary analysis also includes information about what other scholars have written about a specific text or topic.

Literary analysis helps us to refine our ideas, question what we think we know, and often generates new knowledge about literature. Literary analysis essays allow you to discuss your own interpretation of a given text through careful examination of the choices the original author made in the text.

ENG134 – Literary Genres Copyright © by The American Women's College and Jessica Egan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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how to title a poetry analysis essay

Poetry Analysis: How to Analyze a Poem

how to title a poetry analysis essay

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:

Poetry Analysis 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.

Introduction

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).

Poetry Analysis_ How to Analyze a 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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is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

how to title a poetry analysis essay

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Poetry is a form of writing that touches a reader’s soul and evokes many emotions. The poet beautifully expresses a story or thought in a few lines that convey deep meanings.

People who love to read poetry prefer to research and write an in-depth analysis of the written piece to understand the whole idea behind the poem.

However, there is a process to write an analysis of a poem.

If you are wondering how to write a poem analysis, then you are in the right place. This article will discuss the necessary things to consider while analyzing a poem and list the 4 essential steps to follow to write a poetry analysis.

Check out the post to learn more.

Table of Contents

What is Poetry Analysis?

In literature, poetry is a type of writing that uses style, sound, and rhythm to stir a reader’s emotions, ideas, and imagination.

Poetry analysis is the process of decoding a poem to understand the overall message it is trying to convey. It includes examining the elements, word usage, content, format, tone, etc.

Analyzing a poem helps to comprehend the written piece, its context, themes, and ideas. Interpreting the poem leads to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the written work.

This type of writing explores ideas universally and covers many emotions so the readers become aware of their own sentiments and feel a more profound connection

How to Analyze a Poem?

Before you begin writing a poetry analysis, you need to know how to analyze a poem. You must thoroughly decipher the entire poem for an in-depth understanding of the subject and its background details.

The very first step is to read the poem aloud. Read it slowly and carefully.

I have listed some of the mandatory things to take into consideration for writing a well-articulated poem analysis essay.

Title of the Poem

Most poems have a dedicated title, and you must start from here. A poet chooses a title that aligns with the inner meaning of the poem, and decoding the connection will help to understand the overall message.

The title might tell the basic idea of the poem, so always look for a relation between the title and the content of the written work. You can find the hidden inner meanings.

Although a few poets play with the name of the poem, so ensure to catch the intention.

Background of the Poem

A thorough analysis of a poem needs a background study. The written work must have some story behind its creation, and determining it can help to understand the poem in detail.

Background study includes the period when the poem was written, the topic it is discussing, the author’s story or situation at that time, the motivation behind it, etc.

Maybe the poet was suffering and wrote a poem related to his experience, or he particularly wrote about world issues, war, or love.

This research will give you an idea about the poet’s intent and the poem’s overall meaning.

Structure of the Poem

The structure of the poem is also essential. The components of a structure are verse, rhyme, meter, and line break. Each poem has these elements in a different style.

The author decides the poem’s structure. A poem analysis includes an explanation of the structure, so it is necessary to understand the types before analyzing.

The tone of poems differs according to the mood or intention of the poets. Its analysis depends on the speaker and the recipient..

Language and Symbols

Poets use figurative language, symbols, and other techniques to make a poem more imaginative and descriptive.

Using metaphor, simile, personification, etc., is a way to make the poem realistic and give it an in-depth meaning so that readers can relate to it personally.

Various language forms and symbols convey intricate thoughts and experiences. The reader must know about these forms and techniques to understand the meaning in detail.

In poetic terms, music means the rhyme and rhythm of the written piece. All components of a poem, such as rhyme, line breaks, meter, rhythm, sound elements, words, etc., contribute together to give the poem a music of its own.

Observe these elements while analyzing to get a vision of the written work.

Purpose of the Poem

You cannot leave the motive behind writing a poem. Every piece is written for a particular purpose; as a reader, you must learn to find it.

The purpose of a poem can be to discuss societal issues, share life experiences, express deep emotions, and more. Reading and understanding the purpose will help to enhance the analysis.

How to Write a Poem Analysis in 4 Simple Steps

After analyzing the poem, you can now easily write a poem analysis. Following a structure will help to write a well-organized and detailed essay. Check out the 4 steps provided below for writing a poem analysis.

  • Step 1 : Read the poem
  • Step 2 : Analyze the poem thoroughly and note the necessary details
  • Title and Author
  • A thesis statement. Key elements to be analyzed
  • Background and theme
  • Detailed meaning of the poem
  • Structure and Tone 
  • Language forms
  • Symbols 
  • Sound Effects
  • Step 4 : Rectify any errors

Following these steps, you can write a good poetry analysis; however, adding your personal opinion about the poem is essential.

I hope this article on how to write a poem analysis will help you to create a well-detailed analysis of your favorite poem. 

Poems are a beautiful way to express emotions, and as readers, we enjoy reading beautiful poetry from famous poets. 

What is your favorite poem?

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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 .

Essay Papers Writing Online

A comprehensive guide to writing a poem analysis essay.

How to write a poem analysis essay

Delving into the intricate world of poetry analysis can be a rewarding and enlightening experience. A poem analysis essay allows you to explore the nuances of a poem, dissect its themes, and uncover the hidden meanings within its verses. It offers a unique opportunity to delve into the poet’s mind and understand their perspective.

When crafting a poem analysis essay, it is essential to approach the task with a critical eye and an open mind. Careful attention to detail, a keen understanding of poetic devices, and a thoughtful analysis of the poem’s structure are key components of a successful essay. By following a systematic approach and employing effective writing techniques, you can create a compelling and insightful analysis that showcases your literary prowess.

In this article, we will provide you with valuable tips and strategies to help you craft a thought-provoking poem analysis essay. From conducting a thorough analysis of the poem to structuring your essay effectively, we will guide you through the process of analyzing a poem with skill and finesse. By mastering the art of poetry analysis, you can unlock the deeper layers of meaning hidden within the lines of a poem and gain a deeper appreciation for the art of poetry.

Understand the Poem’s Context

When analyzing a poem, it’s essential to understand the context in which it was written. Consider the historical, cultural, and social background that influenced the poet and the poem itself. Research the time period in which the poem was written, the poet’s biography, and any significant events or movements that may have impacted the poet’s work.

Furthermore, pay attention to the poet’s intentions and motivations for writing the poem. Understanding the context can provide valuable insights into the poem’s themes, symbols, and stylistic choices. By delving into the context, you can deepen your interpretation and appreciation of the poem’s meaning.

Analyze the Poem’s Structure

Examining the structure of a poem is crucial in understanding the poet’s intentions and the overall impact of the work. Consider the poem’s form, including the stanza structure, line length, and rhyme scheme. Look for patterns in the organization of the poem, such as repetition, enjambment, or other structural techniques. Pay attention to the rhythm and meter of the poem, as this can contribute to the tone and mood of the piece. By analyzing the structure of the poem, you can uncover deeper meanings and insights that may not be immediately apparent.

Identify Key Themes and Symbols

Identify Key Themes and Symbols

One important aspect of crafting a poem analysis essay is identifying the key themes and symbols within the poem. Themes are recurring ideas or messages that the poet conveys through the poem, while symbols are objects, characters, or elements that represent deeper meanings.

When analyzing a poem, pay attention to the themes that emerge as you read. Consider what the poet is trying to communicate about topics such as love, nature, life, or death. Look for recurring symbols or images that carry symbolic meaning, such as birds symbolizing freedom or light symbolizing hope.

By identifying the key themes and symbols in a poem, you can gain a deeper understanding of the poet’s message and the significance of the poem as a whole. This analysis can help you craft a thoughtful and insightful essay that explores the poem’s meaning in depth.

Discuss the Poem’s Tone and Mood

One key aspect to consider when analyzing a poem is its tone and mood. The tone of a poem refers to the attitude or feelings that the poet expresses towards the subject matter. It can be playful, serious, sarcastic, melancholic, or any other emotion that the poet conveys through the language and imagery used in the poem. On the other hand, the mood of a poem is the overall feeling or atmosphere that the poem evokes in the reader. The mood can be somber, joyful, contemplative, or any other emotional response that the reader experiences when reading the poem. To analyze the tone and mood of a poem, pay attention to the language, imagery, and metaphors used by the poet, as these elements can reveal the underlying emotions and attitudes that the poet is trying to convey.

Provide Evidence from the Text

When analyzing a poem, it is crucial to support your interpretations with evidence directly from the text. This evidence can include specific lines, phrases, or stanzas that illustrate the themes, imagery, or language used by the poet.

For example: If you are discussing the theme of love in a poem, quote lines where the poet describes emotions, interactions, or relationships to demonstrate how the theme is developed throughout the poem.

Remember: Providing textual evidence not only strengthens your analysis but also shows your deep engagement with the poem and your ability to support your interpretations with concrete examples.

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How to write Poetry Analysis Essay?- Structure & Writing Tips

Home / Blog / How To Write Poetry Analysis Essay?- Structure & Writing Tips

poetry analysis essay

Introduction

Everything you need to know about writing a poetry analysis essay.

Poems are perhaps the most brilliant pieces of literature as they convey deep messages in just a few lines, often while maintaining a certain rhythm. It is quite obvious that you will require a certain level of skills to analyse poetry. If you are asked to develop a poetry analysis essay, there are a few things you need to know first.

What Is a Poetry Analysis Essay?

As you may have guessed already, poetry analysis can be defined as a critical review given on a poem, a reflection on the depth and significance of a poem. It generally revolves around different aspects of a poem, starting from the subject of a poem, its tone, theme, literary devices, the feeling of the poet, to how a reader feels about the poem.

It is not just the analysis of techniques used in the literary piece, but poetry analysis offers a broader and clearer picture of the poem, the hidden meanings between the lines, its reality, a study of the poet's mind, and the intention behind a poem. Through the poetry analysis, you need to investigate and review the poem.

Conduct some research on the poet, the era (time frame), the background behind the conceptualisation of the poem, and the possible reasons to develop an insightful poetry analysis essay.

Here You Can also Read About Essay Introduction

How to Structure a Poetry Analysis Essay? 

In order to produce a good poetry analysis essay, you need to plan out the structure of the content. It makes the writing services stage a lot easier and faster. Here are the major elements of a poetry analysis outline that you need to include in your essay :

  • Opening paragraph: Introduce the poem, title, poet (or author) and background.
  • Body paragraphs: Put across your analysis of the poem, linking ideas and referencing to the poem.
  • Conclusion: State one main idea, feelings and meanings.

Here is a detailed overview of the various elements of the poetry analysis essay structure:

  • Poetry analysis essay introduction:

You should start your essay by introducing your readers to the name of the poem and the author. You should also mention the year the poem was first published. To make the poem more comprehensive for the readers, you should also consider giving some background details and interesting facts or trivia about the poem or the poet (the author).

  • Poetry analysis essay body:

When you write the main body of the essay, you need to reference all ideas to the poem. Consider including a quotation box to back up the sentence. This is where you need to discuss what you analysed in the poem. You need to be very clear with your statements.

  • Poetry analysis essay conclusion:

In this segment, you need to take a step back from analysing the individual elements of the poem and work out its meaning as a whole. You need to combine the different elements of the analysis and highlight one main idea.

You will have to follow this outline to prepare your poetry analysis essay. However, if you haven’t prepared such an essay before, you will have to learn the steps of how to write a poetry analysis essay.

How to Write a Poetry Analysis Essay?

Now that you have a good understanding of the poetry analysis essay outline, follow the guide to develop a well-structured and insightful poetry analysis essay:

Choose a suitable poem:

If you are given the option to choose any poem for your analysis essay, use it to your advantage. Pick a poem that you find interesting and analyse it for the essay. It will be a lot easier to handle to task when you are familiar with the poem.

Read the text carefully:

The first thing you need to do after choosing the poem is to go through the poem carefully as many times as possible. You cannot miss any part of it, as you need to give a complete analysis of the whole text.

Always double-check the meanings:

When you are reading the chosen poem, do not forget to check for the meanings and significance of words and phrases. There can be hidden meanings to words and phrases that the poet (or author) wanted to convey. So, you need to identify those while reading the poem.

Collect all the necessary details:

To write a compelling essay, you need to have a good understanding of the poem's structure, content, main ideas, background details, and others. Note all those details for your essay and also collect relevant data about the author and the time when the poem was written.

Explore hidden meanings:

As mentioned before, you need to identify and explore the hidden meanings of words. You will have to look beyond the literal meanings of the words and find broader, hidden ideas that the author wanted to share through the poem.

Prepare an outline and draft the essay:

Once you are done gathering the necessary details and exploring the hidden meanings, it is time to prepare the outline for your poetry analysis essay and draft the content accordingly. Follow the similar outline discussed earlier in this blog. The outline will allow you to produce more structured and organised content for the analysis essay.

Proofread and edit:

Lastly, go through your essay a few times to ensure it covers all the necessary points and complies with all the major guidelines and instructions. Also, look for areas, which you believe could be written better and make the necessary changes.

This way, you can develop a quality poetry analysis essay on your own. However, if you want to look at a few examples of such essays, you can find such samples online. In fact, you won’t have to look anywhere else for essay-related assistance.

Here You Can also Read About  How To Conclude An Essay

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Humanities LibreTexts

12.14: Sample Student Literary Analysis Essays

  • Last updated
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  • Page ID 40514

  • Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap
  • City College of San Francisco via ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative

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The following examples are essays where student writers focused on close-reading a literary work.

While reading these examples, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the essay's thesis statement, and how do you know it is the thesis statement?
  • What is the main idea or topic sentence of each body paragraph, and how does it relate back to the thesis statement?
  • Where and how does each essay use evidence (quotes or paraphrase from the literature)?
  • What are some of the literary devices or structures the essays analyze or discuss?
  • How does each author structure their conclusion, and how does their conclusion differ from their introduction?

Example 1: Poetry

Victoria Morillo

Instructor Heather Ringo

3 August 2022

How Nguyen’s Structure Solidifies the Impact of Sexual Violence in “The Study”

Stripped of innocence, your body taken from you. No matter how much you try to block out the instance in which these two things occurred, memories surface and come back to haunt you. How does a person, a young boy , cope with an event that forever changes his life? Hieu Minh Nguyen deconstructs this very way in which an act of sexual violence affects a survivor. In his poem, “The Study,” the poem's speaker recounts the year in which his molestation took place, describing how his memory filters in and out. Throughout the poem, Nguyen writes in free verse, permitting a structural liberation to become the foundation for his message to shine through. While he moves the readers with this poignant narrative, Nguyen effectively conveys the resulting internal struggles of feeling alone and unseen.

The speaker recalls his experience with such painful memory through the use of specific punctuation choices. Just by looking at the poem, we see that the first period doesn’t appear until line 14. It finally comes after the speaker reveals to his readers the possible, central purpose for writing this poem: the speaker's molestation. In the first half, the poem makes use of commas, em dashes, and colons, which lends itself to the idea of the speaker stringing along all of these details to make sense of this time in his life. If reading the poem following the conventions of punctuation, a sense of urgency is present here, as well. This is exemplified by the lack of periods to finalize a thought; and instead, Nguyen uses other punctuation marks to connect them. Serving as another connector of thoughts, the two em dashes give emphasis to the role memory plays when the speaker discusses how “no one [had] a face” during that time (Nguyen 9-11). He speaks in this urgent manner until the 14th line, and when he finally gets it off his chest, the pace of the poem changes, as does the more frequent use of the period. This stream-of-consciousness-like section when juxtaposed with the latter half of the poem, causes readers to slow down and pay attention to the details. It also splits the poem in two: a section that talks of the fogginess of memory then transitions into one that remembers it all.

In tandem with the fluctuating nature of memory, the utilization of line breaks and word choice help reflect the damage the molestation has had. Within the first couple of lines of the poem, the poem demands the readers’ attention when the line breaks from “floating” to “dead” as the speaker describes his memory of Little Billy (Nguyen 1-4). This line break averts the readers’ expectation of the direction of the narrative and immediately shifts the tone of the poem. The break also speaks to the effect his trauma has ingrained in him and how “[f]or the longest time,” his only memory of that year revolves around an image of a boy’s death. In a way, the speaker sees himself in Little Billy; or perhaps, he’s representative of the tragic death of his boyhood, how the speaker felt so “dead” after enduring such a traumatic experience, even referring to himself as a “ghost” that he tries to evict from his conscience (Nguyen 24). The feeling that a part of him has died is solidified at the very end of the poem when the speaker describes himself as a nine-year-old boy who’s been “fossilized,” forever changed by this act (Nguyen 29). By choosing words associated with permanence and death, the speaker tries to recreate the atmosphere (for which he felt trapped in) in order for readers to understand the loneliness that came as a result of his trauma. With the assistance of line breaks, more attention is drawn to the speaker's words, intensifying their importance, and demanding to be felt by the readers.

Most importantly, the speaker expresses eloquently, and so heartbreakingly, about the effect sexual violence has on a person. Perhaps what seems to be the most frustrating are the people who fail to believe survivors of these types of crimes. This is evident when he describes “how angry” the tenants were when they filled the pool with cement (Nguyen 4). They seem to represent how people in the speaker's life were dismissive of his assault and who viewed his tragedy as a nuisance of some sorts. This sentiment is bookended when he says, “They say, give us details , so I give them my body. / They say, give us proof , so I give them my body,” (Nguyen 25-26). The repetition of these two lines reinforces the feeling many feel in these scenarios, as they’re often left to deal with trying to make people believe them, or to even see them.

It’s important to recognize how the structure of this poem gives the speaker space to express the pain he’s had to carry for so long. As a characteristic of free verse, the poem doesn’t follow any structured rhyme scheme or meter; which in turn, allows him to not have any constraints in telling his story the way he wants to. The speaker has the freedom to display his experience in a way that evades predictability and engenders authenticity of a story very personal to him. As readers, we abandon anticipating the next rhyme, and instead focus our attention to the other ways, like his punctuation or word choice, in which he effectively tells his story. The speaker recognizes that some part of him no longer belongs to himself, but by writing “The Study,” he shows other survivors that they’re not alone and encourages hope that eventually, they will be freed from the shackles of sexual violence.

Works Cited

Nguyen, Hieu Minh. “The Study” Poets.Org. Academy of American Poets, Coffee House Press, 2018, https://poets.org/poem/study-0 .

Example 2: Fiction

Todd Goodwin

Professor Stan Matyshak

Advanced Expository Writing

Sept. 17, 20—

Poe’s “Usher”: A Mirror of the Fall of the House of Humanity

Right from the outset of the grim story, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Edgar Allan Poe enmeshes us in a dark, gloomy, hopeless world, alienating his characters and the reader from any sort of physical or psychological norm where such values as hope and happiness could possibly exist. He fatalistically tells the story of how a man (the narrator) comes from the outside world of hope, religion, and everyday society and tries to bring some kind of redeeming happiness to his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher, who not only has physically and psychologically wasted away but is entrapped in a dilapidated house of ever-looming terror with an emaciated and deranged twin sister. Roderick Usher embodies the wasting away of what once was vibrant and alive, and his house of “insufferable gloom” (273), which contains his morbid sister, seems to mirror or reflect this fear of death and annihilation that he most horribly endures. A close reading of the story reveals that Poe uses mirror images, or reflections, to contribute to the fatalistic theme of “Usher”: each reflection serves to intensify an already prevalent tone of hopelessness, darkness, and fatalism.

It could be argued that the house of Roderick Usher is a “house of mirrors,” whose unpleasant and grim reflections create a dark and hopeless setting. For example, the narrator first approaches “the melancholy house of Usher on a dark and soundless day,” and finds a building which causes him a “sense of insufferable gloom,” which “pervades his spirit and causes an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart, an undiscerned dreariness of thought” (273). The narrator then optimistically states: “I reflected that a mere different arrangement of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression” (274). But the narrator then sees the reflection of the house in the tarn and experiences a “shudder even more thrilling than before” (274). Thus the reader begins to realize that the narrator cannot change or stop the impending doom that will befall the house of Usher, and maybe humanity. The story cleverly plays with the word reflection : the narrator sees a physical reflection that leads him to a mental reflection about Usher’s surroundings.

The narrator’s disillusionment by such grim reflection continues in the story. For example, he describes Roderick Usher’s face as distinct with signs of old strength but lost vigor: the remains of what used to be. He describes the house as a once happy and vibrant place, which, like Roderick, lost its vitality. Also, the narrator describes Usher’s hair as growing wild on his rather obtrusive head, which directly mirrors the eerie moss and straw covering the outside of the house. The narrator continually longs to see these bleak reflections as a dream, for he states: “Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building” (276). He does not want to face the reality that Usher and his home are doomed to fall, regardless of what he does.

Although there are almost countless examples of these mirror images, two others stand out as important. First, Roderick and his sister, Madeline, are twins. The narrator aptly states just as he and Roderick are entombing Madeline that there is “a striking similitude between brother and sister” (288). Indeed, they are mirror images of each other. Madeline is fading away psychologically and physically, and Roderick is not too far behind! The reflection of “doom” that these two share helps intensify and symbolize the hopelessness of the entire situation; thus, they further develop the fatalistic theme. Second, in the climactic scene where Madeline has been mistakenly entombed alive, there is a pairing of images and sounds as the narrator tries to calm Roderick by reading him a romance story. Events in the story simultaneously unfold with events of the sister escaping her tomb. In the story, the hero breaks out of the coffin. Then, in the story, the dragon’s shriek as he is slain parallels Madeline’s shriek. Finally, the story tells of the clangor of a shield, matched by the sister’s clanging along a metal passageway. As the suspense reaches its climax, Roderick shrieks his last words to his “friend,” the narrator: “Madman! I tell you that she now stands without the door” (296).

Roderick, who slowly falls into insanity, ironically calls the narrator the “Madman.” We are left to reflect on what Poe means by this ironic twist. Poe’s bleak and dark imagery, and his use of mirror reflections, seem only to intensify the hopelessness of “Usher.” We can plausibly conclude that, indeed, the narrator is the “Madman,” for he comes from everyday society, which is a place where hope and faith exist. Poe would probably argue that such a place is opposite to the world of Usher because a world where death is inevitable could not possibly hold such positive values. Therefore, just as Roderick mirrors his sister, the reflection in the tarn mirrors the dilapidation of the house, and the story mirrors the final actions before the death of Usher. “The Fall of the House of Usher” reflects Poe’s view that humanity is hopelessly doomed.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Fall of the House of Usher.” 1839. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library . 1995. Web. 1 July 2012. < http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/PoeFall.html >.

Example 3: Poetry

Amy Chisnell

Professor Laura Neary

Writing and Literature

April 17, 20—

Don’t Listen to the Egg!: A Close Reading of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”

“You seem very clever at explaining words, Sir,” said Alice. “Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called ‘Jabberwocky’?”

“Let’s hear it,” said Humpty Dumpty. “I can explain all the poems that ever were invented—and a good many that haven’t been invented just yet.” (Carroll 164)

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass , Humpty Dumpty confidently translates (to a not so confident Alice) the complicated language of the poem “Jabberwocky.” The words of the poem, though nonsense, aptly tell the story of the slaying of the Jabberwock. Upon finding “Jabberwocky” on a table in the looking-glass room, Alice is confused by the strange words. She is quite certain that “ somebody killed something ,” but she does not understand much more than that. When later she encounters Humpty Dumpty, she seizes the opportunity at having the knowledgeable egg interpret—or translate—the poem. Since Humpty Dumpty professes to be able to “make a word work” for him, he is quick to agree. Thus he acts like a New Critic who interprets the poem by performing a close reading of it. Through Humpty’s interpretation of the first stanza, however, we see the poem’s deeper comment concerning the practice of interpreting poetry and literature in general—that strict analytical translation destroys the beauty of a poem. In fact, Humpty Dumpty commits the “heresy of paraphrase,” for he fails to understand that meaning cannot be separated from the form or structure of the literary work.

Of the 71 words found in “Jabberwocky,” 43 have no known meaning. They are simply nonsense. Yet through this nonsensical language, the poem manages not only to tell a story but also gives the reader a sense of setting and characterization. One feels, rather than concretely knows, that the setting is dark, wooded, and frightening. The characters, such as the Jubjub bird, the Bandersnatch, and the doomed Jabberwock, also appear in the reader’s head, even though they will not be found in the local zoo. Even though most of the words are not real, the reader is able to understand what goes on because he or she is given free license to imagine what the words denote and connote. Simply, the poem’s nonsense words are the meaning.

Therefore, when Humpty interprets “Jabberwocky” for Alice, he is not doing her any favors, for he actually misreads the poem. Although the poem in its original is constructed from nonsense words, by the time Humpty is done interpreting it, it truly does not make any sense. The first stanza of the original poem is as follows:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogroves,

An the mome raths outgrabe. (Carroll 164)

If we replace, however, the nonsense words of “Jabberwocky” with Humpty’s translated words, the effect would be something like this:

’Twas four o’clock in the afternoon, and the lithe and slimy badger-lizard-corkscrew creatures

Did go round and round and make holes in the grass-plot round the sun-dial:

All flimsy and miserable were the shabby-looking birds

with mop feathers,

And the lost green pigs bellowed-sneezed-whistled.

By translating the poem in such a way, Humpty removes the charm or essence—and the beauty, grace, and rhythm—from the poem. The poetry is sacrificed for meaning. Humpty Dumpty commits the heresy of paraphrase. As Cleanth Brooks argues, “The structure of a poem resembles that of a ballet or musical composition. It is a pattern of resolutions and balances and harmonizations” (203). When the poem is left as nonsense, the reader can easily imagine what a “slithy tove” might be, but when Humpty tells us what it is, he takes that imaginative license away from the reader. The beauty (if that is the proper word) of “Jabberwocky” is in not knowing what the words mean, and yet understanding. By translating the poem, Humpty takes that privilege from the reader. In addition, Humpty fails to recognize that meaning cannot be separated from the structure itself: the nonsense poem reflects this literally—it means “nothing” and achieves this meaning by using “nonsense” words.

Furthermore, the nonsense words Carroll chooses to use in “Jabberwocky” have a magical effect upon the reader; the shadowy sound of the words create the atmosphere, which may be described as a trance-like mood. When Alice first reads the poem, she says it seems to fill her head “with ideas.” The strange-sounding words in the original poem do give one ideas. Why is this? Even though the reader has never heard these words before, he or she is instantly aware of the murky, mysterious mood they set. In other words, diction operates not on the denotative level (the dictionary meaning) but on the connotative level (the emotion(s) they evoke). Thus “Jabberwocky” creates a shadowy mood, and the nonsense words are instrumental in creating this mood. Carroll could not have simply used any nonsense words.

For example, let us change the “dark,” “ominous” words of the first stanza to “lighter,” more “comic” words:

’Twas mearly, and the churly pells

Did bimble and ringle in the tink;

All timpy were the brimbledimps,

And the bip plips outlink.

Shifting the sounds of the words from dark to light merely takes a shift in thought. To create a specific mood using nonsense words, one must create new words from old words that convey the desired mood. In “Jabberwocky,” Carroll mixes “slimy,” a grim idea, “lithe,” a pliable image, to get a new adjective: “slithy” (a portmanteau word). In this translation, brighter words were used to get a lighter effect. “Mearly” is a combination of “morning” and “early,” and “ringle” is a blend of “ring” and "dingle.” The point is that “Jabberwocky’s” nonsense words are created specifically to convey this shadowy or mysterious mood and are integral to the “meaning.”

Consequently, Humpty’s rendering of the poem leaves the reader with a completely different feeling than does the original poem, which provided us with a sense of ethereal mystery, of a dark and foreign land with exotic creatures and fantastic settings. The mysteriousness is destroyed by Humpty’s literal paraphrase of the creatures and the setting; by doing so, he has taken the beauty away from the poem in his attempt to understand it. He has committed the heresy of paraphrase: “If we allow ourselves to be misled by it [this heresy], we distort the relation of the poem to its ‘truth’… we split the poem between its ‘form’ and its ‘content’” (Brooks 201). Humpty Dumpty’s ultimate demise might be seen to symbolize the heretical split between form and content: as a literary creation, Humpty Dumpty is an egg, a well-wrought urn of nonsense. His fall from the wall cracks him and separates the contents from the container, and not even all the King’s men can put the scrambled egg back together again!

Through the odd characters of a little girl and a foolish egg, “Jabberwocky” suggests a bit of sage advice about reading poetry, advice that the New Critics built their theories on. The importance lies not solely within strict analytical translation or interpretation, but in the overall effect of the imagery and word choice that evokes a meaning inseparable from those literary devices. As Archibald MacLeish so aptly writes: “A poem should not mean / But be.” Sometimes it takes a little nonsense to show us the sense in something.

Brooks, Cleanth. The Well-Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry . 1942. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1956. Print.

Carroll, Lewis. Through the Looking-Glass. Alice in Wonderland . 2nd ed. Ed. Donald J. Gray. New York: Norton, 1992. Print.

MacLeish, Archibald. “Ars Poetica.” The Oxford Book of American Poetry . Ed. David Lehman. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. 385–86. Print.

Attribution

  • Sample Essay 1 received permission from Victoria Morillo to publish, licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International ( CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )
  • Sample Essays 2 and 3 adapted from Cordell, Ryan and John Pennington. "2.5: Student Sample Papers" from Creating Literary Analysis. 2012. Licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported ( CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 )

how to title a poetry analysis essay

How to Write a Poem Analysis: 6 Steps for Students and New Reviewers

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Elliot Riley

Emily Butler is a librarian and writer. You can discover more of their literary opinions on their YouTube channel, youtube.com/emilybutler, and follow them on Twitter @EmilyFButler1.

View All posts by Elliot Riley

If you’re a student or new reviewer first approaching the task, you may be wondering how to write a poem analysis. Fortunately, there are concrete steps you can take to analyze a poem or collection of poetry. Even if you do not plan on learning how to write a poem analysis essay, building a routine of analysis into your poetry reading can deepen your appreciation for the genre.

Poems have many layers of meaning. A particularly beautiful and well-crafted poem only becomes more enjoyable the more you increase your understanding of the decisions the poet made to craft it. The following steps outline the kinds of questions to ask yourself while writing a poem analysis.

Step 1: Read the Poem Aloud

Poetry has a long oral history. Poets often utilize sound techniques which are easier to detect when reading the poem aloud. Read it once without an analytical focus. Simply notice how you respond to the poem. Begin by asking yourself broad, simple questions such as: How did this make me feel? What do I think the poet is trying to say?

Jot some notes down about your initial impression. Analyzing a poem is a recursive process. You will read the poem several times, and these first impressions can provide interesting clues for what to focus on in your analysis.

Step 2: Identify the Type of Poem

There are several different types of poems, but all poems fall into three overarching categories: free verse, formal verse, and prose poems. Formal poetry itself comes in many more specific forms. Check out A Beginner’s Guide to Different Types of Poems.

There are certain analytical questions you can ask yourself depending on the type of the poem you’re reading. If this is a prose poem, ask yourself, what exactly makes this piece of writing a poem, as opposed to a short piece of prose? Recognizing a specific poetic form allows you to contextualize the poem in history. For example, if you’re reading a sonnet, consider how the poem you’re analyzing fits with or fights against the conventions of sonnets.

Step 3: Mark It Up

There is no one correct way to mark up a poem. You can underline lines which stand out to you. You can take notes in the margins identifying poetic techniques as you see them. You can scan the poem,  a method of marking stressed and unstressed syllables. You can circle words which seem important or stand out as surprising.

If you are reviewing an entire poetry collection, it’s a good idea to take notes in the margins about particular motifs or themes. That way, when you are finished with your first read, you can look for ideas which appeared in multiple poems.

Step 4: Consider Poetic Techniques

Read the poem several times, considering a single poetic technique at a time. For example, free verse and formal poems use line breaks. Read through the poem once, focusing on how the poet has broken lines, and the impact of those decisions. If the poem contains stanzas, do the same for stanzas. You can repeat this process with any poetic technique: similes, metaphors, imagery, assonance, consonance, alliteration. How do these poetic techniques support, enhance, or problematize the overall message of the poem? Your observations will prove crucial when you are ready to sit down and write a poem analysis.

Step 5: Pay Attention to the Turn(s)

In poetry, the term “volta,” sometimes called a “turn,” is a shift in the tone, meaning, or style of a poem. This is a common enough poetic technique that it warrants its own step in the analytic process. Nearly every sonnet contains a turn in the final two lines of the poem, but countless other types of poems contain some sort of shift.

Voltas are so common that if the poem you’re reading does not contain a volta, that is a decision worth incorporating into a poem analysis. You can always ask yourself whether or not a poem contains a turn, and how this impacts the poem overall. Focus on the final lines of a poem, since that is where the volta typically appears.

Step 6: Make an Argument

If you are reviewing an entire poetry collection you can use the above steps for each poem. Then consider the way that the poet has chosen to order the poems within the collection. Revisit the first and last poems, asking yourself how they might function as a kind of introduction and conclusion to the collection.

As with any other essay in the realm of literature, in order to write a poem analysis essay, you should formulate an argument and back it up with evidence. Different readers can have opposing ideas about how a poem or collection of poetry operates, and that’s okay, as long as both readers have evidence to support their claims. How do you back up your claims with evidence? Refer to your notes, especially your observations of poetic techniques. Whenever necessary, quote exact lines or stanzas and use them to support your argument.

Step 7: Consider the Audience

Writing a book review of a poetry collection is considerably different from writing an essay about it. That is because book reviews serve a different purpose than essays do. Individual readers, book buyers, and librarians read reviews in order to decide whether or not to purchase a book.

Ask yourself: what kind of reader might enjoy this collection? It’s always a good idea to compare and contrast to other collections of poetry. You can recommend the poetry collection you’re reviewing to fans of another poet, for example.

Book reviews tend to be considerably shorter than essays, often as short as two or three hundred words. For that reason, it’s important to be concise. Unlike reviewing fiction or nonfiction, you do not exactly need to “summarize” a poetry collection. Most poetry collections cannot be summarized the way that a novel or nonfiction book can. Instead, list some of the central thematic concerns of the collection and describe the poetic style. Tell your readers what kind of poems they will find in this collection. Are these prose poems, free verse, formal verse, or a combination? Are they simple, accessible poems, or complex poems with unusual syntax? Does the collection contain a lot of references?

In a book review, you will want to quote a line or two which represents some aspect of the poetry collection as a whole. Since you do not have a lot of space, choose something representative of the poet’s style. This will give readers an idea of whether or not this collection appeals to them. For more information about writing book reviews, check out How To Write a Book Review: Six Steps to Take .

how to title a poetry analysis essay

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AP® English Literature

How to get a 9 on poetry analysis frq in ap® english literature.

  • The Albert Team
  • Last Updated On: March 1, 2022

how_to_get_a_9_on_poetry analysis frq in AP® English literature

Are you taking the AP® English Literature and Composition exam? If you’re taking the course or self-studying, you know the exam is going to be tough. Of course, you want to do your best and score a five on the exam. To do well on the AP® English Literature and Composition exam, you’ll need to score high on the essays. For that, you’ll need to write a complete, efficient essay that argues an accurate interpretation of the work under examination in the Free Response Question section.

The AP® English Literature and Composition exam consists of two sections, the first being a 55-question multiple choice portion worth 45% of the total test grade. This section tests your ability to read drama, verse, or prose fiction excerpts and answer questions about them. The second section worth 55% of the total score requires essay responses to three questions, demonstrating your ability to analyze literary works: a poem analysis, a prose fiction passage analysis, and a concept, issue, or element analysis of a literary work.

From your course or review practices, you should know how to construct a clear, organized essay that defends a focused claim about the work under analysis. Your should structure your essay with a brief introduction that includes the thesis statement, followed by body paragraphs that further the thesis statement with detailed, well-discussed support, and a short concluding paragraph that reiterates and reinforces the thesis statement without repeating it. Clear organization, specific support, and full explanations or discussions are three critical components of high-scoring essays.

General Tips to Bettering Your Odds at a Nine on the AP® English Literature and Composition Exam.

Your teacher may have already told you how to approach the poetry analysis, but for the poetry essay, it’s important to keep the following in mind coming into the exam:

  • Carefully read, review, and underline key to-do’s in the prompt.
  • Briefly outline where you’re going to hit each prompt item–in other words, pencil out a specific order.
  • Be sure you have a clear thesis that includes the terms mentioned in the instructions, literary devices, tone, and meaning.
  • Include the author’s name and title of the poem in your thesis statement.
  • Use quotes—lots of them—to exemplify the elements throughout the essay.
  • Fully explain or discuss how your element examples support your thesis. A deeper, fuller, and focused explanation of fewer elements is better than a shallow discussion of more elements (shotgun approach).
  • Avoid vague, general statements for a clear focus on the poem itself.
  • Use transitions to connect sentences and paragraphs.
  • Write in the present tense with generally good grammar.
  • Keep your introduction and conclusion short, and don’t repeat your thesis verbatim in your conclusion.

The newly-released 2016 sample AP® English Literature and Composition exam questions, sample responses, and grading rubrics provide a valuable opportunity to analyze how to achieve high scores on each of the three Section II FRQ responses. However, for purposes of this examination, the Poetry Analysis strategies will be the focus. The poem for analysis in last year’s exam was “The Juggler” by Richard Wilbur, a modern American poet. Exam takers were asked to analyze the following:

  • how the speaker in the poem describes the juggler
  • what the description shows about the speaker
  • how the poet uses imagery, figurative language, and tone to convey meaning

When you analyze the components of an influential essay, it’s helpful to compare all three sample answers provided by the CollegeBoard: the high scoring (A) essay, the mid-range scoring (B) essay, and the low scoring (C) essay. All three provide a teaching opportunity for achieving a nine on the poetry analysis essay.

Start with a Succinct Introduction that Includes Your Thesis Statement

The first sample essay, the A essay, quickly and succinctly introduces the author, title, thesis, elements, and devices. The writer’s introduction sentences are efficient: they contain no waste and give the reader a sense of the cohesiveness of the argument, including the role of each of the analyzed components in proving the thesis. The specificity of the details in the introduction shows that the writer is in control, with phrases like “frequent alliteration,” “off-kilter rhyme”, and “diction evoking an almost spiritual level of power”. The writer leaves nothing to guesswork.

Essay1

The mid-range B essay introduction also cites some specific details in the poem, like “visual imagery (of the juggler and his balls), figurative language (the personification of the balls interacting with the juggler), and tone (the playful mood of the first two stanza)”. However, the writer wastes space and precious time (five whole lines!) with a vague and banal recitation of the prompt. The mid-range answer also doesn’t give the reader an understanding of an overarching thesis that he or she will use the elements and devices to support, merely a reference to the speaker’s “attitude”.

Essay2

The third sample lacks cohesiveness, a thesis statement, and organization. The sentences read like a shotgun spray of facts and descriptions that give no direction to the reader of the writer’s approach: how he or she will use the elements and details listed to prove a thesis. The short, choppy sentences don’t connect, and the upshot is something so commonplace as Wilbur describes a talented juggler, who is also a powerful teacher. That doesn’t respond to the prompt, which requires an argument about what the juggler’s description reveals about the speaker.

Essay3

To sum up, make introductions brief and compact, using specific details from the poem and a clear direction that address the call of the prompt. Writing counts. Short, choppy, disconnected sentences make an incoherent, unclear paragraph. Don’t waste time on sentences that don’t do the work ahead for you. Cut to the chase; be specific.

Use Clear Examples to Support Your Argument Points

The A answer first supports the thesis by pointing out that alliteration and rhyme scheme depict the mood and disconnection of both the speaker and the crowd. The writer does this by noting how alliteration appears when the juggler performs, but not before. The student also notes how the mood and connection to the crowd cohere when the juggler juggles, the balls defying gravity and uplifting the crowd with the balls. Then, the writer wraps up the first point about description, devices, and elements by concluding that the unusual rhyme scheme echoes the unusual feat of juggling and controlling the mood of the crowd.

Essay4

With a clear focus on attaching devices to individually quoted phrases and poem details, the student leads the reader through the first pass at proving the attitude of the poem’s speaker while commenting on possible meanings the tone, attitude, and devices suggest. Again, the student uses clear, logical, and precise quotes and references to the poem without wasting time on unsupported statements. Specific illustrations anchor each point.

For example, the student identifies the end rhyme as an unusual effect that mimics the unusual and gravity-defiant balls. Tying up the first paragraph, the student then goes on to thoroughly explain the connection between the cited rhyme scheme, the unique defiance of gravity, and the effect on the speaker. The organizational plan is as follows: point (assertion), illustration, and explanation.

The mid-range sample also cites specific details of the poem, such as the “sky-blue” juggler, a color that suggests playfulness, but then only concludes that euphony shows the speaker’s attitude toward the juggler without making that connection clear with an explanation. The writer simply concludes without proving that assertion. Without further explanation or exemplification, the author demonstrates no knowledge of the term “euphony”.

Essay5

Sample C also alludes to the “sky-blue” juggler but doesn’t explain the significance. In fact, the writer makes a string of details from the poem appear significant without actually revealing anything about the details the writer notes. They’re merely a string of details.

Discussion is Crucial to Connect Your Quotes and Examples to Your Argument Points

Rather than merely noting quoted phrases and lines without explanation, the A response takes the time to thoroughly discuss the meaning of the quoted words, phrases, and sentences used to exemplify his or her assertions. For example, the second paragraph begins with an assertion that the speaker’s view of the world is evident through the diction used when describing the juggler and the juggler’s act. Immediately, the writer supplies proof by directing the reader to the first and last stanzas to find “lens,” “dusk”, and “daily dark”.

The selection of these particular diction choices demonstrates the writer’s knowledge of the term “diction” and how to support a conclusion the student will make by the end of the sentence that the speaker’s attitude toward the world around him is “not the brightest”. The writer gives a follow-up sentence to further convince the reader of the previous point about the speaker’s dim view by adding, “All the words and phrases used just fall flat, filled with connotations of dullness…”

Using the transition, “however”, the A response goes on to further explain that the juggler’s description contrasts with that of the speaker’s in its lightness, by again providing both specifically-quoted words and complete one or two full sentence follow-ups to the examples. In that way, the writer clarifies the connection between the examples and their use and meaning. Nothing is left unexplained–unlike the B response, which claims Wilbur uses personification, then gives a case of a quoted passage about the balls not being “lighthearted”.

After mentioning the term, the B essay writer merely concludes that Wilbur used personification without making the connection between “lighthearted” and personification. The writer might have written one additional sentence to show that balls as inanimate objects don’t have the emotions to be cheery nor lighthearted, only humans do. Thus, Wilbur personifies the balls. Likewise short of support, the writer concludes that the “life” of the balls through personification adds to the mystery and wonder–without further identifying the wonder or whose wonder and how that wonder results from the life of the balls.

Write a Brief Conclusion

While it’s more important to provide a substantive, organized, and clear argument throughout the body paragraphs than it is to conclude, a conclusion provides a satisfying rounding out of the essay and last opportunity to hammer home the content of the preceding paragraphs. If you run out of time for a conclusion because of the thorough preceding paragraphs, that is not as fatal to your score as not concluding or not concluding as robustly as the A essay sample (See the B essay conclusion).

The A response not only provides a quick but sturdy recap of all the points made throughout the body paragraphs (without repeating the thesis statement) but also reinforces those points by repeating them as the final parting remarks to the reader. The writer demonstrates not only the points made but the order of their appearance, which also showcases the overall structure of the essay.

Essay6

Finally, a conclusion compositionally rounds out a gracious essay–polite because it considers the reader. You don’t want your reader to have to work hard to understand any part of your essay. By repeating recapped points, you help the reader pull the argument together and wrap up.

Essay7

Write in Complete Sentences with Proper Punctuation and Compositional Skills

Though pressed for time, it’s important to write an essay with clear, correctly punctuated sentences and properly spelled words. Strong compositional skills create a favorable impression to the reader, like using appropriate transitions or signals (however, therefore) to tie sentences and paragraphs together, making the relationships between sentences clear (“also”–adding information, “however”–contrasting an idea in the preceding sentence).

Starting each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that previews the main idea or focus of the paragraph helps you the writer and the reader keep track of each part of your argument. Each section furthers your points on the way to convincing your reader of your argument. If one point is unclear, unfocused, or grammatically unintelligible, like a house of cards, the entire argument crumbles. Good compositional skills help you lay it all out orderly, clearly, and fully.

For example, the A response begins the first body paragraph with “In the first and last stanzas, no alliteration beyond ‘daily dark’ appears, evoking a tone that could hardly be described as cheerful”. The sentence, with grammatically-correct commas inserted to section off the lead-in phrase, “In the first and last stanzas,” as well as the dependent clause at the sentence’s end, “evoking a tone that…,” gives a road map to the reader as to the paragraph’s design: alliteration, tone, darkness. Then the writer hits all three of those with a complete explanation.

The next paragraph begins with a rather clunky, unwieldy sentence that nevertheless does the same as the first–keys the reader to the first point regarding the speaker’s view of the world and the devices and elements used to do so. It’s clear the writer tackles the speaker’s view, the juggler’s depiction, and diction choice–both as promised from the beginning in the thesis statement of the introductory paragraph and per the prompt. The writer uses the transition “In the first and last stanzas”, to tie the topic sentence to the examples he or she will use to prove the topic sentence; then the writer is off to do the same in the next paragraph.

So by the time the conclusion takes the reader home, the writer has done all of the following:

  • followed the prompt
  • followed the propounded thesis statement in exact order promised
  • provided a full discussion with examples
  • included quotes proving each assertion
  • used clear, grammatically correct sentences
  • wrote paragraphs ordered by a thesis statement
  • created topic sentences for each paragraph
  • ensured each topic sentence furthered the ideas presented in the thesis statement

Have a Plan and Follow it

It’s easier than it sounds. To get a 9 on the poetry analysis essay in the AP® Literature and Composition exam, practice planning a response under strict time deadlines. Write as many practice essays as you can. Follow the same procedure each time.

First, be sure to read the instructions carefully, highlighting the parts of the prompt you absolutely must cover. Then map out a scratch outline of the order you intend to cover each point in support of your argument. Try and include not only a clear thesis statement, written as a complete sentence but the topic sentences to each paragraph followed by the quotes and details you’ll use to support the topic sentences. Then follow your map faithfully.

Be sure to give yourself enough time to give your essay a brief re-read to catch mechanical errors, missing words, or necessary insertions to clarify an incomplete or unclear thought. With time, an organized approach, and plenty of practice, earning a nine on the poetry analysis is manageable. Be sure to ask your teacher or consult other resources, like albert.io’s Poetic Analysis practice essays, if you’re unsure how to identify poetic devices and elements in poetry, or need more practice writing a poetry analysis.

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How to write a poetry essay

Picture of Duygu Demiröz

  • August 26, 2023

Whether you love literature or are just curious, this guide will help you understand, enjoy, and talk about poetry. So, let’s start exploring the world of lines and symbols, where each one tells a story to discover.

Here are the steps on writing a poetry essay.

Choose a poem

The first step is, of course, to choose a poem to write your essay . 

It should be one that you find interesting, thought-provoking, or emotionally resonant. It’s important to select a poem that you can engage with and analyze effectively.

  • Choose a poem that genuinely captures your interest. Look for poems that evoke emotions, thoughts, or curiosity when you read them.
  • Consider the themes addressed in the poem. It should offer ample material for analysis.

When choosing a poem

So for this guide, let’s choose Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I could not stop for Death.” You’ll see a short excerpt of this poem for your understanding. 

Poem example for poetry essay

Because i couldn not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson

       Because I could not stop for Death –        He kindly stopped for me –        The Carriage held but just Ourselves –        And Immortality.        We slowly drove – He knew no haste        And I had put away        My labor and my leisure too,        For His Civility –        We passed the School, where Children strove        At Recess – in the Ring –        We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –        We passed the Setting Sun –        The poem continues....

This poem is intriguing due to its exploration of mortality, the afterlife, and eternity. The imagery and language in the poem provide ample material for analysis, making it a suitable choice for a comprehensive essay.

After carefully choosing the poem that interests you, understanding the poem is the biggest key to writing an effective and nice poetry essay.

Understand the poem

Reading the poem several times to grasp its meaning is the most important part of a good analysis. You must first analyze the structure, rhyme scheme , meter and literary tools used in the poem.

For a solid understanding, you should:

  • Read the poem multiple times to familiarize yourself with its content. Each reading may reveal new insights.
  • Identify the central themes or messages the poem conveys.
  • Study the rhyme scheme and meter (rhythmic pattern) of the poem.
  • Consider how the structure, including its stanzas, lines, and breaks, contributes to the poem's meaning and impact.

For example

Remember, understanding the poem thoroughly is the foundation for a well-informed analysis. Take your time to grasp the poem’s various elements before moving on to the next steps in your essay.

Now that we have a clear understanding of the poem, let’s move into writing the introduction. 

Write a catchy introduction

  • Begin with an attention-grabbing hook sentence that piques the reader's interest.
  • Provide the necessary information about the poem and its author. Mention the poet's name and title of the poem.
  • Offer some context about the poem's time period, literary movement, or cultural influences.
  • Present your thesis statement , which outlines the main argument or focus of your essay.

Poetry essay introduction example

Introduction

Thesis statement for poetry essays

A thesis statement is a clear and concise sentence or two that presents the main argument or point of your essay . It provides a roadmap for your reader, outlining what they can expect to find in your essay.

In the case of a poetry essay, your thesis statement should capture the central message, themes, or techniques you’ll be discussing in relation to the poem.

Why is the thesis important for a poetry essay?

By reading your thesis statement, your audience should have a clear idea of what to expect from your poem analysis essay.

When creating a thesis statement, keep these in mind: 

  • Start by identifying the key elements of the poem that you want to discuss. These could be themes, literary devices, emotions conveyed, or the poet's intentions.
  • Based on the key elements you've identified, formulate a central argument that encapsulates your main analysis. What is the poem trying to convey? What are you trying to say about the poem?
  • Your thesis should be specific and focused. Avoid vague or broad statements. Instead, provide a clear direction for your analysis.

Poetry essasy thesis statement example

....(introduction starts) ....(introduction continues) ....(introduction continues) In "Because I could not stop for Death," Emily Dickinson employs vivid imagery, personification, and an unconventional perspective on mortality to explore the transcendence of death and the eternity of the soul. Thesis statement, which is usually the last sentence of your introduction

Analyze language and imagery

Language and image analysis in poetry involves a close examination of the words, phrases and literary devices used by the poet. In this step you must uncover the deeper layers of meaning, emotion and sensory experiences conveyed by the poet’s choice of language and imagery.

Why language and imagery?

  • Start by identifying and listing the literary devices present in the poem. These could include metaphors, similes, personification, symbolism, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and more.
  • For each identified device, explain its significance. How does it contribute to the poem's meaning, mood, or tone?
  • Analyze how the literary devices interact with the context of the poem. How do they relate to the themes, characters, or situations presented in the poem?
  • Discuss how the use of specific language and imagery influences the reader's emotional response and understanding of the poem.

Continuing with Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death,” let’s analyze the use of imagery:

Language and imagery analysis example

Lines chosen for analysis

Discuss themes in body paragraphs

Exploring themes helps you grasp the deeper meaning of the poem and connect it to broader human experiences. Understanding the themes allows you to uncover what the poet is attempting to convey and how the poem relates to readers on a universal level.

In this step, you will likely dedicate multiple body paragraphs to the analysis of various aspects of language and imagery. Each body paragraph should focus on a specific literary device, phrase, or aspect of language and imagery.

Here’s how you can structure the body paragraphs.

Poetry essay body paragraphs example

Body Paragraph 1: Identify and Explain Literary Devices

Body Paragraph 2: Context and Interaction with Themes

Body Paragraph 3: Reader's emotional response and understanding

Provide evidence from the poem

Providing evidence involves quoting specific lines or stanzas from the poem to support the points you’re making in your analysis. These quotes serve as concrete examples that demonstrate how the poet uses language, imagery, or literary devices to convey specific meanings or emotions.

  • Select lines or stanzas from the poem that directly relate to the point you're making in your analysis.
  • Introduce each quote with context, explaining the significance of the lines and how they contribute to your analysis.
  • Use quotation marks to indicate that you're using the poet's language.
  • After providing the quote, interpret its meaning. Explain how the language, imagery, or devices used in the quoted lines contribute to your analysis.

Providing evidence example

In your essay, you should include several quotes and interpret them to reinforce your points. Quoting specific lines from the poem allows you to showcase the poet’s language while demonstrating how these lines contribute to the poem’s overall expression.

Write a conclusion

Conclusion paragraph is the last sentence of your poem analysis essay. It reinforces your thesis statement and emphasizes your insights.

Additionally, the conclusion offers a chance to provide a final thought that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. In your conclusion, make sure to:

  • Start by rephrasing your thesis statement. Remind the reader of the main argument you've made in your essay.
  • Provide a concise summary of the main points. Avoid introducing new information; focus on the key ideas.
  • Discuss the broader significance or implications. How does the poem's message relate to readers beyond its specific context?
  • End with a thoughtful reflection, observation, or question that leaves the reader with something to ponder.

Poetry essay conclusion example

In your essay, the conclusion serves as a final opportunity to leave a strong impression on the reader by summarizing your analysis and offering insights into the poem’s broader significance.

Now, it’s time to double check what you’ve written.

Proofread and revise your essay

Edit your essay for clarity, coherence, tense selection , correct headings , etc. Ensure that your ideas flow logically and your analysis is well-supported. Remember, a poetry essay is an opportunity to delve into the nuances of a poem’s language, themes, and emotions.

  • Review each paragraph to ensure ideas flow logically from one to the next.
  • Check for grammar and punctuation errors.
  • Verify that your evidence from the poem is accurately quoted and explained.
  • Make sure your language is clear and effectively conveys your analysis.

By proofreading and revising, you can refine your essay, improving its readability and ensuring that your insights are communicated accurately.

So this was the last part, you’re now ready to write your first poem analysis (poetry) essay. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should i include in the introduction of a poetry essay.

In the introduction, provide background information about the poem and poet. Include the poem’s title, publication date, and any relevant context that helps readers understand its significance.

Can I include my emotional responses in a poetry essay?

Yes, you can discuss your emotional responses, but ensure they are supported by your analysis of the poem’s literary elements. Avoid focusing solely on personal feelings.

Is it important to understand the poet's background when writing a poetry essay?

While it can provide context, your focus should be on analyzing the poem itself. If the poet’s background is relevant to the poem’s interpretation, mention it briefly.

What's the best way to conclude a poetry essay?

In the conclusion, summarize your main points and tie them together. Offer insights into the poem’s broader significance, implications, or lasting impact.

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  1. How to Write a Poetry Essay (Complete Guide)

    Main Paragraphs. Now, we come to the main body of the essay, the quality of which will ultimately determine the strength of our essay. This section should comprise of 4-5 paragraphs, and each of these should analyze an aspect of the poem and then link the effect that aspect creates to the poem's themes or message.

  2. How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

    Step 3: Writing a title and introduction. To start your literary analysis paper, you'll need two things: a good title, and an introduction. The title. Your title should clearly indicate what your analysis will focus on. It usually contains the name of the author and text(s) you're analyzing. Keep it as concise and engaging as possible.

  3. ‌How to Title an Essay with Literary Analysis Examples

    For example, an essay about the symbolic villages of East and West Egg in "The Great Gatsby" might be titled "The Eggs Came First: Settings as Symbols in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby.'. You can be assured your teacher, or whoever is viewing your paper, is going to sift through many boring and unoriginal essay titles, so making sure ...

  4. How to Write a Poetry Analysis Essay: Step-By-Step-Guide

    The central section of a literary analysis essay is going to contain all the studies you've carried out. A good idea would be to divide the body into three or four paragraphs, each presenting a new idea. When writing an outline for your essay, determine that in the body part, you will describe: The central idea.

  5. Poetry Analysis Essay: Expert Guide with Examples and Tips

    Provide the title, poet's name, and publication date. Add brief background information about the poet and the poem's context. State your main argument or poem interpretation. Poem analysis essay example: 'Robert Frost's poem 'The Road Not Taken,' published in 1916, is a widely celebrated piece of American literature.

  6. Poem Analysis Essay Guide: Outline, Template, Structure

    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.

  7. A Full Guide to Writing a Perfect Poem Analysis Essay

    Body Paragraphs. The body section should form the main part of poetry analysis. Make sure you have determined a clear focus for your analysis and are ready to elaborate on the main message and meaning of the poem. Mention the tone of the poetry, its speaker, try to describe the recipient of the poem's idea.

  8. How to Write a Poetry Analysis Essay: Template, Topic, Sample

    July 15, 2020. 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 ...

  9. Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

    Well, not really. A literary analysis essay asks you to make an original argument about a poem, play, or work of fiction and support that argument with research and evidence from your careful reading of the text. It can take many forms, such as a close reading of a text, critiquing the text through a particular literary theory, comparing one ...

  10. How to Analyze a Poem With Joy and Success: Full Guide

    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."

  11. How to Write a Poem Analysis in 4 Steps

    Following a structure will help to write a well-organized and detailed essay. Check out the 4 steps provided below for writing a poem analysis. Step 1: Read the poem. Step 2: Analyze the poem thoroughly and note the necessary details. Step 3: Create an outline. Introduction. Title and Author.

  12. PDF A Simplified Guide for Analyzing Poetry

    The third step to analyzing a poem is to use steps one and two to analyze the poem's meaning. Questions to ask: 1. How does the format of the poem affect the poem's meaning? 2. Does the rhyme scheme add to the overall effect of the poem? 3. How does the language used affect the overall meaning of the poem? Enjambed vs. End Stop Lines:

  13. Writing About Poetry

    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.

  14. Tips for Crafting a Poem Analysis Essay

    A poem analysis essay allows you to explore the nuances of a poem, dissect its themes, and uncover the hidden meanings within its verses. It offers a unique opportunity to delve into the poet's mind and understand their perspective. When crafting a poem analysis essay, it is essential to approach the task with a critical eye and an open mind.

  15. A Beginner's Guide to Poetry Analysis Essay Writing

    Here are the major elements of a poetry analysis outline that you need to include in your essay: Opening paragraph: Introduce the poem, title, poet (or author) and background. Body paragraphs: Put across your analysis of the poem, linking ideas and referencing to the poem. Conclusion: State one main idea, feelings and meanings.

  16. PDF HOW TO WRITE A LITERARY ANALYSIS ESSAY

    The term regularly used for the development of the central idea of a literary analysis essay is the body. In this section you present the paragraphs (at least 3 paragraphs for a 500-750 word essay) that support your thesis statement. Good literary analysis essays contain an explanation of your ideas and evidence from the text (short story,

  17. 12.14: Sample Student Literary Analysis Essays

    Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap. City College of San Francisco via ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative. Table of contents. Example 1: Poetry. Example 2: Fiction. Example 3: Poetry. Attribution. The following examples are essays where student writers focused on close-reading a literary work.

  18. How to Write a Poem Analysis: 6 Steps for Students and New Reviewers

    Step 4: Consider Poetic Techniques. Read the poem several times, considering a single poetic technique at a time. For example, free verse and formal poems use line breaks. Read through the poem once, focusing on how the poet has broken lines, and the impact of those decisions. If the poem contains stanzas, do the same for stanzas.

  19. How to Get a 9 on Poetry Analysis FRQ in AP® English Literature

    To get a 9 on the poetry analysis essay in the AP® Literature and Composition exam, practice planning a response under strict time deadlines. Write as many practice essays as you can. Follow the same procedure each time. First, be sure to read the instructions carefully, highlighting the parts of the prompt you absolutely must cover.

  20. How to Analyze Poetry: 10 Steps for Analyzing a Poem

    How to Analyze Poetry: 10 Steps for Analyzing a Poem. From flowing words to rhythmic beats, poems have a lyrical quality that is pleasing to the ear. But to truly understand poetry, you must unpack it—examine each element on its own to discover what a poem means.

  21. Writing a Great Poetry Essay (Steps & Examples)

    Crafting a strong introduction for your poetry essay requires some certain steps. Begin with an attention-grabbing hook sentence that piques the reader's interest. Provide the necessary information about the poem and its author. Mention the poet's name and title of the poem.

  22. Poetry Foundation

    Poems, readings, poetry news and the entire 110-year archive of POETRY magazine. Poems, readings, poetry news and the entire 110-year archive of POETRY magazine. Skip to Content. Show Menu ... Essay. Like the Thinking of Trees. By Ilya Kaminsky On reading Tomaž Šalamun. Poem of the Day ...