Simple Guidelines how to Write a Poetry Analysis Paper


While it may seem to be the bleeding obvious, your first step is to read the poem. You need to do this several times and you need to do this aloud. Some people believe that poetry should always be read aloud. You certainly need to become very familiar with the poem. You don't have to learn it by heart but you do have to know a great deal about it.

What if you can't understand the poem?


This is a very important point in writing a poetry analysis paper. Being able to recite the poem is good but being able to understand it is far, far better. If there is any word or line in the poem you do not understand, find out what it means. If this means asking your teacher or professor or seeking help elsewhere, do so.

Look for any unusual or key words. You can highlight these words and then spend time concentrating on their meaning and particularly their importance in the actual poem. You could even make a special list of these unusual or key words. Your analysis of the poem could well hinge on some if not all of these unusual words.

Look for any poetic tricks or devices such as imagery and the use of metaphor. Make a note where these devices occur. You can easily make a reference in your analysis to these devices.

What is the meaning of the poem? You should be able to answer that question in a single sentence. Remember that you are not there to judge the value of the poem but rather to give a commentary upon it. You are making an analysis of the poem.

When writing an essay you will be familiar with the expression of a thesis statement. In some ways you are looking for what the poet could be said to have written as far as a thesis statement is concerned. What is the poet trying to say? Only when you have established answers to the above questions will you be in a position to write a proper analysis.

Remember the reader of your paper will be looking to see [a] if you have clearly understood the poem and [b] your opinion or what you think of the work. You get points from the examiner of your paper for being able to explain the poem and being able to explain what you think about the poem. Both of these aspects will be assessed. Do not neglect either aspect. Get both correct and your poetry analysis paper could very well get a very high mark.

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