Poetry Analysis: How to Analyze a Poem Step-by-Step

Poetry analysis refers to the process used when reviewing the functional, structural and multiple artistic pieces making up a poem.  The review is written as a literary analysis paper. For you to write one, you must take an in-depth look and analyze the choices made by the poet and their impact. 

What is poetry analysis?

Poetry expresses complicated feelings and always has a deeper meaning than what you see in the words.  You have to examine every word and phrase based on the rhythm, images, obvious purpose, implied meaning, and sound. Check on repetition to understand the theme in the context. 

Poetry Analysis Steps

For effortless poetry analysis questions and answers, you should break the poem into several steps, just the way an engineering problem is handled. Here are steps to help you analyze a poem and get yourself an excellent grade.

Read the Poem Loudly

Most people read poems silently, but poems are meant to be read loudly. Poems are composed using rhythms, rhymes and, and they all have a meaning in the poem. So, you have to listen to the pun for you to identify it. The same thing applies to rhymes and rhythms; you must hear or speak them out. You should never assume you can do poetry analysis essay assignment by just scanning through it. 

Understand What the Poem is Talking About

Poems describe feelings or simply convey a narrative. However, there are exceptions though this does not happen in an exam and you will mostly find them in poetry analysis worksheet online. What you have to do is understand what the poem is talking about; check the narrative, and you will decipher its meaning.  Here is what you should do:

  • Check proper nouns and pronouns used in the poem. They tell you about the characters. If the poem has “I,” it’s a personal representation and refers to the figure being depicted in the poem. 
  • The punctuation in a poem is important. But don’t be too quick to jump into conclusions. When writing a poetry analysis essay, it’s easy to think a poem using enjambment or appears to be in an unusual form has broken grammar rules. To avoid such, break the stanzas into simple sentences. By doing this; you can quickly locate all punctuation marks. 
  • Motifs such as symbols and images are crucial when seeking to know what a poem means. They are related to a poem directly and provide you will essential clues revealing the message in the poem.  

The Poem’s Rhythm 

Every poem has a rhythm and traditionally, the major difference between poetry and regular literature is the use of meter and rhythm. The meter of a poem lies in the rhythm it adopts. However, modern poetry doesn’t stick to the old meter conventions, but that does not lower the importance of poetry meter studied in school and poetry analysis strategies.  Poets use a meter to add rhythms in poems. Here are tips to help you with a poem’s rhythm:

  • You shouldn’t worry about the different names for rhythms. You do not have to identify all rhythms, a few of them are fine to discuss in your poetry analysis essay. 
  • Discuss the poem’s meaning according to what you can find in the rhythm. Even without identifying the name of the rhythm, just discussing it will increase your chances of scoring a high grade. 

Check for Enjambment 

Enjambment is one of the essential techniques used in poetry to develop some meaning.  It is cited in most cases but often misunderstood. Enjambment occurs when a sentence has no punctuation o cap it, and so it spills over into the next one. They are punctuated with marks such as a dash, a comma, colon or semi-colon. When checking for enjambment in a poem, be sure to observe the following:

  • Never assume the presence of enjambment by just scanning through the article. Read the poem and listen to hear what impact it has on the poem lines. 
  • Discuss what is given attention by the enjambment. Does it contrast ideas or represent the relationship of characters in the poem?  Bring it out while supporting it with rich points from the poem; you can check how to do this in poetry analysis example.

Check for Techniques

By checking the techniques used by the composer, you get the meaning of the poem as intended by the writer.  Every technique has a meaning, and so you should try to identify them and understand what they represent. The techniques include:

  • Simile
  • Metaphor
  • Motifs
  • Repetition

Look at the Poetic Form

Poetic forms include sonnets, ballads, and many others. They usually have an implicit meaning; for example, haikus is associated with philosophy and sonnets with love. Having a lot of knowledge in poetry forms helps in poetry analysis, and you can easily discuss the effects or challenges of the forms.  You can miss out on this in poetry analysis sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare. Here is what you have to put in mind:

•    Never assume a free version poem doesn’t have any poetry forms.

•    Always try to identify form used in a poem.

Bottom Line

Now, you know how to write poetry analysis essay outline. You can find different poetry analysis websites to read various types of poems created from multiple places and poets.  Practice poetry analysis and share work with teachers or fellow students. This will help you when writing your poetry analysis papers. Our Ph.D. poem experts are ready to tackle any questions. Contact our support to find the best poetry solutions. 

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