Steps to Writing a Poetry Analysis
Jana Sosnowski reports:
"Multiple readings of a poem may be necessary to fully understand its meaning and develop a reaction to the writing. Actively reading the poem includes taking notes while reading...Using a dictionary at this stage of developing the analysis helps to develop a broad understanding of the poem...Once the meaning of the words and phrases in the poem have been determined, develop an idea about the subject of the poem as a first step in creating an analysis of the overall theme...Determining the 'what' creates focus on the general topic or subject of the poem and can also be used to describe the plot of the poem. Answering the 'who' question is identifying the speaker of the poem. 'When' may refer to the time of day or the time in history the poem occurs. 'Where' refers to the physical location of the action in the poem, and 'why' answers the question of the author's purpose in writing the poem. The topic of the poem is used to develop the theme -- the overall message of the poem...Once the theme or overall idea of the poem has been determined, finding ways to support an argument about the theme will include elements of the writer's style. Tone and the mood evoked from the tone may be used as evidence in supporting the theme. Figurative language, including metaphors, similes, personification, hyperbole and symbolism, may add to the discussion of the theme of a poem. Additionally, word choice and the use of abstract or concrete details play a role in [the] theme of a poem...The structure of a poem can be used as an argument to support the overall message of the poem. Discussion of structure is included in a poetry analysis as evidence of the purpose of the poem. Formal poetic structures include sonnets, haikus and odes, which may be discussed in the analysis of a poem. Additionally, the number of stanzas and lines in the poem may contribute to its rhythm and overall tone and theme. Discussion of structure also includes sentence structure and punctuation use."
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