How to Read and Analyze a Poem - “... from the general to the specific”
- Read the poem carefully and repeatedly if necessary.
- Read it out loud; this is how poetry should be read!
Analyzing the Poem:
- Try to establish the general idea or theme of the poem. Does it tell a
story? Does it paint a picture or feeling? What is its general
point of view?
[At this stage, don’t worry about understanding every single line or word!!]
Look for structural patterns, rhyme and meter (if any):
- Then look for individual poetic devices and techniques:
- Look for imagery, which usually connects to the dominant theme(s) in a poem
- vivid adjectives and descriptions
- Look for “meaning play” (e.g. figurative language, metaphor, simile, irony, etc.).
- Look for “word play” (e.g. alliteration, assonance, etc.).
Writing an Analysis:
- If you end up writing about the poem, organize the body of your response
in the same way as above.
- Include a thesis, an introduction that acknowledges the poem and poet, and
- For your thesis and conclusion, try to find a connection between the #1 and #2-3.
Does the structure or a poetic device, for example, reinforce the theme?