Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How to Write A Poetry Analysis

Steps that will help you in the process of understanding how to write a proper poetry analysis:

Step 1: Read the poem several times – to yourself and aloud
• What words are unfamiliar or interesting?
• What do each of these words mean?

Step 2: Read for Overall Meaning/ Content – “The Big Picture”
• Is there a story in the poem?
• Are there characters?
• Who is the speaker?
• Who is being addressed?
• What is being described?
• What happens in the poem?
• What is the topic or main idea of the poem?
• What is the tone or attitude of the speaker? Does it change?
• What is the mood of the poem? Does it change?

Step 3: Research the poet and / or time period
• Who was the poet?
• When did they live?
• Does the poem reflect any poetic or artistic movements?
• How this poem compare to other poems by the same poet?
• Does the poem reflect a moment in the poet’s life?

Step 4: Identify the effects of poetic devices and/or form
• What significant figurative images are used by the poet?
• How do the figurative images have a effect on the main message or mood of the poem?
• What significant aural images (alliteration, rhyme, etc.) are used by the poet?
• How do the aural images have a effect on the main message or mood of the poem?
• What is the form? (free verse, sonnet, rhyme schemes etc.)


Ideas for paragraphs…

I. Dramatic Situation
i. Who is speaking?
ii. To whom is the speaker speaking to?
iii. What is the situation?
iv. What is the speaker’s tone?

II. Imagery

III. Theme

IV. Diction (Word Choice)
i. Connotation (suggested meaning)
ii. Denotation (actual literal meaning)
iii. Abstract (can only be understood intellectually)
iv. Concrete (words describing physical objects)
v. Kinds of Language
Figurative: metaphor, simile, personification
Rhetorical: irony, hyperbole, allusion, pun, paradox, oxymoron (self contradictory terms)

V. Syntax (Sentence Structure)
i. Length
ii. Unusual Elements
iii. Form (rhyme scheme, meter)
How do these aspects affect the poem’s message/story overall?

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