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Writing About Poetry
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This section covers the basics of how to write about poetry, including why it is done, what you should know, and what you can write about.
Writing about poetry can be one of the most demanding tasks that many students face in a literature class. Poetry, by its very nature, makes demands on a writer who attempts to analyze it that other forms of literature do not. So how can you write a clear, confident, well-supported essay about poetry? This handout offers answers to some common questions about writing about poetry.
What's the Point?
In order to write effectively about poetry, one needs a clear idea of what the point of writing about poetry is. When you are assigned an analytical essay about a poem in an English class, the goal of the assignment is usually to argue a specific thesis about the poem, using your analysis of specific elements in the poem and how those elements relate to each other to support your thesis.
So why would your teacher give you such an assignment? What are the benefits of learning to write analytic essays about poetry? Several important reasons suggest themselves:
- To help you learn to make a text-based argument. That is, to help you to defend ideas based on a text that is available to you and other readers. This sharpens your reasoning skills by forcing you to formulate an interpretation of something someone else has written and to support that interpretation by providing logically valid reasons why someone else who has read the poem should agree with your argument. This isn't a skill that is just important in academics, by the way. Lawyers, politicians, and journalists often find that they need to make use of similar skills.
- To help you to understand what you are reading more fully. Nothing causes a person to make an extra effort to understand difficult material like the task of writing about it. Also, writing has a way of helping you to see things that you may have otherwise missed simply by causing you to think about how to frame your own analysis.
- To help you enjoy poetry more! This may sound unlikely, but one of the real pleasures of poetry is the opportunity to wrestle with the text and co-create meaning with the author. When you put together a well-constructed analysis of the poem, you are not only showing that you understand what is there, you are also contributing to an ongoing conversation about the poem. If your reading is convincing enough, everyone who has read your essay will get a little more out of the poem because of your analysis.
What Should I Know about Writing about Poetry?
Most importantly, you should realize that a paper that you write about a poem or poems is an argument. Make sure that you have something specific that you want to say about the poem that you are discussing. This specific argument that you want to make about the poem will be your thesis. You will support this thesis by drawing examples and evidence from the poem itself. In order to make a credible argument about the poem, you will want to analyze how the poem works—what genre the poem fits into, what its themes are, and what poetic techniques and figures of speech are used.
What Can I Write About?
Theme: One place to start when writing about poetry is to look at any significant themes that emerge in the poetry. Does the poetry deal with themes related to love, death, war, or peace? What other themes show up in the poem? Are there particular historical events that are mentioned in the poem? What are the most important concepts that are addressed in the poem?
Genre: What kind of poem are you looking at? Is it an epic (a long poem on a heroic subject)? Is it a sonnet (a brief poem, usually consisting of fourteen lines)? Is it an ode? A satire? An elegy? A lyric? Does it fit into a specific literary movement such as Modernism, Romanticism, Neoclassicism, or Renaissance poetry? This is another place where you may need to do some research in an introductory poetry text or encyclopedia to find out what distinguishes specific genres and movements.
Versification: Look closely at the poem's rhyme and meter. Is there an identifiable rhyme scheme? Is there a set number of syllables in each line? The most common meter for poetry in English is iambic pentameter, which has five feet of two syllables each (thus the name "pentameter") in each of which the strongly stressed syllable follows the unstressed syllable. You can learn more about rhyme and meter by consulting our handout on sound and meter in poetry or the introduction to a standard textbook for poetry such as the Norton Anthology of Poetry . Also relevant to this category of concerns are techniques such as caesura (a pause in the middle of a line) and enjambment (continuing a grammatical sentence or clause from one line to the next). Is there anything that you can tell about the poem from the choices that the author has made in this area? For more information about important literary terms, see our handout on the subject.
Figures of speech: Are there literary devices being used that affect how you read the poem? Here are some examples of commonly discussed figures of speech:
- metaphor: comparison between two unlike things
- simile: comparison between two unlike things using "like" or "as"
- metonymy: one thing stands for something else that is closely related to it (For example, using the phrase "the crown" to refer to the king would be an example of metonymy.)
- synecdoche: a part stands in for a whole (For example, in the phrase "all hands on deck," "hands" stands in for the people in the ship's crew.)
- personification: a non-human thing is endowed with human characteristics
- litotes: a double negative is used for poetic effect (example: not unlike, not displeased)
- irony: a difference between the surface meaning of the words and the implications that may be drawn from them
Cultural Context: How does the poem you are looking at relate to the historical context in which it was written? For example, what's the cultural significance of Walt Whitman's famous elegy for Lincoln "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed" in light of post-Civil War cultural trends in the U.S.A? How does John Donne's devotional poetry relate to the contentious religious climate in seventeenth-century England? These questions may take you out of the literature section of your library altogether and involve finding out about philosophy, history, religion, economics, music, or the visual arts.
What Style Should I Use?
It is useful to follow some standard conventions when writing about poetry. First, when you analyze a poem, it is best to use present tense rather than past tense for your verbs. Second, you will want to make use of numerous quotations from the poem and explain their meaning and their significance to your argument. After all, if you do not quote the poem itself when you are making an argument about it, you damage your credibility. If your teacher asks for outside criticism of the poem as well, you should also cite points made by other critics that are relevant to your argument. A third point to remember is that there are various citation formats for citing both the material you get from the poems themselves and the information you get from other critical sources. The most common citation format for writing about poetry is the Modern Language Association (MLA) format .
Essays About Poetry: 5 Interesting Examples and Topic Ideas
Let’s look at some examples of essays about poetry and topics to use as a starting point for your poetry essay.
To many, poetry is like a massage for the soul. Deep lyrics, interesting connections, and reflections on the commonalities that connect all humans make poetry a language that can connect us all.
From Walt Whitman to Edgar Allen Poe, poetry has long been recognized as a form of literary art. Different from visual art, poetry allows authors to use diction, rhyme scheme, and literary devices to paint a picture for the reader. Some poets work to describe physical scenes or events with great detail, while others use language that makes the emotion they’re describing feel real to the reader.
There are many different kinds of poetry, from epic poems to lyric essays. Each poet must decide what poetry format works best to get their point across to their reader. It’s important to note that popular styles of poetry change over time, and readers can expect a different style from an eighteenth-century poet than from a poem written from a modernist perspective.
For help with your essays, check out our round-up of the best essay checkers
Examples Of Essays About Poetry
- 1. How Poetry Changed My Life By Shuly Cawood
- 2. 8 Reasons Why Poetry Is Good For The Soul By Kim Barkley
- 3. Top 20 Best Poets Of All Time By Bizhan Romani
- 4. Walt Whitman’s Guide To A Thriving Democracy By Mark Edmundson
- 5. “What Might Have Been And What Has Been”: How T. S. Eliot Looked At Lives By Lyndall Gordon
Topic Ideas For Essays About Poetry
1. who is the greatest american poet of all time, 2. what’s the purpose of poetry, 3. who was the most impactful poet of the twentieth century, 4. what makes a good poem, 5. social standing and poetry, 6. how does gender influence poetry, 7. working through trauma: how poetry and other creative writing can help, 8. poetry and social justice, 9. amanda gorman: who is the national youth poet laureate, 1. how poetry changed my life by shuly cawood.
It was Dr. David Citino who let me into his poetry writing seminar, Dr. David Citino who taught me how to take sentimentality out, Dr. David Citino who made it possible for me to stay in my journalism program and finish. Poetry kept me from quitting. This is one of the reasons that when National Poetry Month comes around every year, I can’t help but celebrate. Poetry did not just save me from quitting my journalism degree: poetry has been my constant companion and has guided me through upheavals, emotions, and changes and has helped me cope, understand, and let go.
Halfway through her master’s degree program in journalism, Cawood wanted to give up on her degree. She felt called to study poetry but knew that her journalism degree would give her the career opportunities she wanted after graduation. In this essay, Cawood celebrates Dr. Citino, her poetry professor, who helped give her the strength to finish her master’s program while learning more about the literature she loved.
2. 8 Reasons Why Poetry Is Good For The Soul By Kim Barkley
Have you ever sat there and not known what to write? Picking up poetry, reading through different excerpts from classic poets can blossom ideas you never knew existed. Reading and writing poetry makes you think of new ideas, but can also dramatically change the way you perceived old ones. It is a way to process experiences, visual descriptions, and emotions.
One of the most common arguments about poetry is that it doesn’t serve a literary purpose or educate readers on important topics. Barkley (rightfully) argues that this isn’t the case. Poetry can help children develop reading skills, open the imagination, and provide a safe space for authors to express difficult emotions that can be difficult to convey using traditional prose.
3. Top 20 Best Poets Of All Time By Bizhan Romani
Like art, poetry can be highly subjective as much of its worth lies in the emotional connection felt by its audience. It can therefore be difficult to judge poetry on its technical merits alone or to rank one poet against another. With that said, there are some poets that have made outstanding achievements in different forms of poetry, influenced literary movements, or left a lasting impression on pop culture.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your essay about poetry or you’re simply looking for a good jumping-off point to begin reading poetry in general, Romani’s list is an excellent compilation of some of the best poets of all time, including Sylvia Plath, Sappho, Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, Pablo Neruda, and more.
4. Walt Whitman’s Guide To A Thriving Democracy By Mark Edmundson
“Song of Myself,” arguably Whitman’s greatest work, can be seen as a vision quest. In the original version, which had no title when it was published in 1855, in the first edition of Leaves of Grass, Whitman begins as an everyday workingman. He is “one of the roughs,” the tough, laboring type who is depicted on the book’s frontispiece —shirt open, hat tilted to the side, a calmly insouciant expression on his face. Through a series of poetic and spiritual encounters he gains in experience and wisdom to become a representative democratic individual, one who can show his countrymen and countrywomen the way to a thriving and joyous life.
One of the most well-known and well-respected poets in American history, Walt Whitman is known not just for his descriptive, personal poetic style but also for helping to shape pre-abolition America. In this essay, Edmundson doesn’t just dig into Whitman’s life as he wrote his most famous works—he also discusses how Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Wordsworth influenced Whitman. Poetry is full of both original ideas and borrowed thoughts, and Edmundson works to explain how Whitman’s greatness was due to both his literary prowess and his respect for other greats of his time.
5. “What Might Have Been And What Has Been”: How T. S. Eliot Looked At Lives By Lyndall Gordon
Eliot acknowledges the routine plot of existence—“in my beginning is my end”—but he will reverse this: “in my end is my beginning.” Though, of course, this looks to eternal life beyond death, he is thinking also of the life of his ancestor, Andrew Eliott, sailing in 1669 from East Coker, Somerset, across the North Atlantic—a dangerous, three-month voyage—to Salem, Massachusetts. Here is one model life: the risk taker who can begin again in middle age, who takes off for a new life in the New World. This risk mirrors Eliot’s move in middle age to remake his private life during the thirties.
Twentieth-century poet T. S. Eliot seemed to have visions of a perfect life. Since he died in the mid-1960s, many people have been surprised to discover proverbial skeletons in the closet of the poet’s earliest works, including elitism and anti-Semitism present in his early poetry. Today, many wonder how Eliot’s poetry has remained ever-present in today’s literary culture. In this essay, the author suggests that despite Eliot’s unacceptable beginnings, his words—specifically those about how people do not begin to reflect on a person’s life until their death—remain relevant to today’s society.
Exploring the greatest American poets can be fun to delve into different poets’ styles, including Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Edgar Allen Poe, and Sylvia Plath. As you explain your opinion on which poet you believe is the best of all time, explain why you feel the poet you chose stands out among their peers. You may also want to explore current poets and discuss whether it’s possible that the greatest American poet of all time is still alive and writing.
There’s no doubt about it—poetry is art. Musings on the purpose of poetry can provide solid insight into how words can portray emotion. If you decide to write about the purpose of poetry, be sure to explain to your readers how poetry has influenced your life. Share examples of poems that have had a significant impact on you, and explain how poetry contributes to the betterment of society. Be sure to include quotes from well-known poets about the purpose of their work and why they believe they’ve been able to impact society by sharing their creative gifts positively.
Poetry doesn’t just provide poets with an outlet to express themselves—it can also have a significant impact on society and make the world a better place. In an essay on the most impactful poets of the twentieth century, please explain why you feel the poet you selected stands out from their peers. From Maya Angelou to e.e. cummings, you’ll have myriad opportunities to discuss poetic excellence. Explain how the poet you chose affected people, social movements, and history.
While this essay topic is subject to opinion, you can write about what you believe to be a good poem and provide examples from your favorites to support your thesis. You may feel that epic poems that allow the author to tell a detailed story are superior to other forms of poetry, or you may feel that lyrical essays that describe deep human truths are key to the literary world. No matter what argument you choose for what makes a good poem, support your argument with quotes, and don’t rely too much on stories of how a particular form of poetry affected you personally.
Poetry can break down barriers and, in many cases, provide a common language based on shared experiences from people of varying social standing. In your essay about social standing and poetry, explore how poetry has been used throughout history to connect people in various economic situations. You may also want to delve into how poetry can be used to help people understand the experiences of others (for example, explain how poetry can help a person who grew up in poverty express their experience to someone who grew up in a different situation).
Male and female poets both have incredibly valuable offerings to the literary world, and it can be interesting to explore themes of gender within poetry. In your essay on how gender influences poetry, explore both poems about gender and how the idea of gender can influence a poet’s work. Discuss how societal expectations that go with traditional gender roles are a theme in the work of many poets and how rallying against traditional gender roles can cause issues, both in a poet’s personal and professional life.
Writing can be therapeutic, and many people depend on journaling to help them process difficult and traumatic events. In an essay on how writing can help people work through trauma, dig into the latest research on therapeutic writing. You may also want to interview a therapist or counselor about how they use journaling or writing in their practice to help their clients work through difficult issues. If you have personally been able to work through trauma with the help of writing or journaling, it’s fine to use a personal anecdote to begin or end your essay. Be careful that you don’t lean on anecdotes to carry the body of your essay, however. You’ll want to provide research-driven proof that writing can be used to impact mental health positively.
Social justice movements have been used to change the course of history repeatedly. In many cases, poetry has served as an important part of social justice movements, providing a voice to those deemed voiceless. In your essay about poetry and social justice, talk about social justice movements both currently and in the past, and refer to poems that have worked to inform others about social issues and create positive change. In your essay, you can focus on one facet of social justice (such as racism or sexism) or look at how poetry and social justice interact with a wider lens.
National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman took the world by storm with her poem The Hill We Climb, which she read aloud at President Biden’s 2021 inauguration ceremony. In your essay on Gorma, be sure to talk about her past, her education (a Harvard graduate), her rise to fame, and her goals for the future–she has her eyes set on a future presidential run.
If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips !
Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.
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A Full Guide to Writing a Perfect Poem Analysis Essay
01 October, 2020
14 minutes read
Author: Elizabeth Brown
Poem analysis is one of the most complicated essay types. It requires the utmost creativity and dedication. Even those who regularly attend a literary class and have enough experience in poem analysis essay elaboration may face considerable difficulties while dealing with the particular poem. The given article aims to provide the detailed guidelines on how to write a poem analysis, elucidate the main principles of writing the essay of the given type, and share with you the handy tips that will help you get the highest score for your poetry analysis. In addition to developing analysis skills, you would be able to take advantage of the poetry analysis essay example to base your poetry analysis essay on, as well as learn how to find a way out in case you have no motivation and your creative assignment must be presented on time.
What Is a Poetry Analysis Essay?
A poetry analysis essay is a type of creative write-up that implies reviewing a poem from different perspectives by dealing with its structural, artistic, and functional pieces. Since the poetry expresses very complicated feelings that may have different meanings depending on the backgrounds of both author and reader, it would not be enough just to focus on the text of the poem you are going to analyze. Poetry has a lot more complex structure and cannot be considered without its special rhythm, images, as well as implied and obvious sense.
While analyzing the poem, the students need to do in-depth research as to its content, taking into account the effect the poetry has or may have on the readers.
Preparing for the Poetry Analysis Writing
The process of preparation for the poem analysis essay writing is almost as important as writing itself. Without completing these stages, you may be at risk of failing your creative assignment. Learn them carefully to remember once and for good.
Thoroughly read the poem several times
The rereading of the poem assigned for analysis will help to catch its concepts and ideas. You will have a possibility to define the rhythm of the poem, its type, and list the techniques applied by the author.
While identifying the type of the poem, you need to define whether you are dealing with:
- Lyric poem – the one that elucidates feelings, experiences, and the emotional state of the author. It is usually short and doesn’t contain any narration;
- Limerick – consists of 5 lines, the first, second, and fifth of which rhyme with one another;
- Sonnet – a poem consisting of 14 lines characterized by an iambic pentameter. William Shakespeare wrote sonnets which have made him famous;
- Ode – 10-line poem aimed at praising someone or something;
- Haiku – a short 3-line poem originated from Japan. It reflects the deep sense hidden behind the ordinary phenomena and events of the physical world;
- Free-verse – poetry with no rhyme.
The type of the poem usually affects its structure and content, so it is important to be aware of all the recognized kinds to set a proper beginning to your poetry analysis.
Find out more about the poem background
Find as much information as possible about the author of the poem, the cultural background of the period it was written in, preludes to its creation, etc. All these data will help you get a better understanding of the poem’s sense and explain much to you in terms of the concepts the poem contains.
Define a subject matter of the poem
This is one of the most challenging tasks since as a rule, the subject matter of the poem isn’t clearly stated by the poets. They don’t want the readers to know immediately what their piece of writing is about and suggest everyone find something different between the lines.
What is the subject matter? In a nutshell, it is the main idea of the poem. Usually, a poem may have a couple of subjects, that is why it is important to list each of them.
In order to correctly identify the goals of a definite poem, you would need to dive into the in-depth research.
Check the historical background of the poetry. The author might have been inspired to write a poem based on some events that occurred in those times or people he met. The lines you analyze may be generated by his reaction to some epoch events. All this information can be easily found online.
Choose poem theories you will support
In the variety of ideas the poem may convey, it is important to stick to only several most important messages you think the author wanted to share with the readers. Each of the listed ideas must be supported by the corresponding evidence as proof of your opinion.
The poetry analysis essay format allows elaborating on several theses that have the most value and weight. Try to build your writing not only on the pure facts that are obvious from the context but also your emotions and feelings the analyzed lines provoke in you.
How to Choose a Poem to Analyze?
If you are free to choose the piece of writing you will base your poem analysis essay on, it is better to select the one you are already familiar with. This may be your favorite poem or one that you have read and analyzed before. In case you face difficulties choosing the subject area of a particular poem, then the best way will be to focus on the idea you feel most confident about. In such a way, you would be able to elaborate on the topic and describe it more precisely.
Now, when you are familiar with the notion of the poetry analysis essay, it’s high time to proceed to poem analysis essay outline. Follow the steps mentioned below to ensure a brilliant structure to your creative assignment.
Best Poem Analysis Essay Topics
- Mother To Son Poem Analysis
- We Real Cool Poem Analysis
- Invictus Poem Analysis
- Richard Cory Poem Analysis
- Ozymandias Poem Analysis
- Barbie Doll Poem Analysis
- Caged Bird Poem Analysis
- Ulysses Poem Analysis
- Dover Beach Poem Analysis
- Annabelle Lee Poem Analysis
- Daddy Poem Analysis
- The Raven Poem Analysis
- The Second Coming Poem Analysis
- Still I Rise Poem Analysis
- If Poem Analysis
- Fire And Ice Poem Analysis
- My Papa’S Waltz Poem Analysis
- Harlem Poem Analysis
- Kubla Khan Poem Analysis
- I Too Poem Analysis
- The Juggler Poem Analysis
- The Fish Poem Analysis
- Jabberwocky Poem Analysis
- Charge Of The Light Brigade Poem Analysis
- The Road Not Taken Poem Analysis
- Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus Poem Analysis
- The History Teacher Poem Analysis
- One Art Poem Analysis
- The Wanderer Poem Analysis
- We Wear The Mask Poem Analysis
- There Will Come Soft Rains Poem Analysis
- Digging Poem Analysis
- The Highwayman Poem Analysis
- The Tyger Poem Analysis
- London Poem Analysis
- Sympathy Poem Analysis
- I Am Joaquin Poem Analysis
- This Is Just To Say Poem Analysis
- Sex Without Love Poem Analysis
- Strange Fruit Poem Analysis
- Dulce Et Decorum Est Poem Analysis
- Emily Dickinson Poem Analysis
- The Flea Poem Analysis
- The Lamb Poem Analysis
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night Poem Analysis
- My Last Duchess Poetry Analysis
Poem Analysis Essay Outline
As has already been stated, a poetry analysis essay is considered one of the most challenging tasks for the students. Despite the difficulties you may face while dealing with it, the structure of the given type of essay is quite simple. It consists of the introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion. In order to get a better understanding of the poem analysis essay structure, check the brief guidelines below.
This will be the first section of your essay. The main purpose of the introductory paragraph is to give a reader an idea of what the essay is about and what theses it conveys. The introduction should start with the title of the essay and end with the thesis statement.
The main goal of the introduction is to make readers feel intrigued about the whole concept of the essay and serve as a hook to grab their attention. Include some interesting information about the author, the historical background of the poem, some poem trivia, etc. There is no need to make the introduction too extensive. On the contrary, it should be brief and logical.
The body section should form the main part of poetry analysis. Make sure you have determined a clear focus for your analysis and are ready to elaborate on the main message and meaning of the poem. Mention the tone of the poetry, its speaker, try to describe the recipient of the poem’s idea. Don’t forget to identify the poetic devices and language the author uses to reach the main goals. Describe the imagery and symbolism of the poem, its sound and rhythm.
Try not to stick to too many ideas in your body section, since it may make your essay difficult to understand and too chaotic to perceive. Generalization, however, is also not welcomed. Try to be specific in the description of your perspective.
Make sure the transitions between your paragraphs are smooth and logical to make your essay flow coherent and easy to catch.
In a nutshell, the essay conclusion is a paraphrased thesis statement. Mention it again but in different words to remind the readers of the main purpose of your essay. Sum up the key claims and stress the most important information. The conclusion cannot contain any new ideas and should be used to create a strong impact on the reader. This is your last chance to share your opinion with the audience and convince them your essay is worth readers’ attention.
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Poem Analysis Essay Examples
A good poem analysis essay example may serve as a real magic wand to your creative assignment. You may take a look at the structure the other essay authors have used, follow their tone, and get a great share of inspiration and motivation.
Check several poetry analysis essay examples that may be of great assistance:
Writing Tips for a Poetry Analysis Essay
If you read carefully all the instructions on how to write a poetry analysis essay provided above, you have probably realized that this is not the easiest assignment on Earth. However, you cannot fail and should try your best to present a brilliant essay to get the highest score. To make your life even easier, check these handy tips on how to analysis poetry with a few little steps.
- In case you have a chance to choose a poem for analysis by yourself, try to focus on one you are familiar with, you are interested in, or your favorite one. The writing process will be smooth and easy in case you are working on the task you truly enjoy.
- Before you proceed to the analysis itself, read the poem out loud to your colleague or just to yourself. It will help you find out some hidden details and senses that may result in new ideas.
- Always check the meaning of words you don’t know. Poetry is quite a tricky phenomenon where a single word or phrase can completely change the meaning of the whole piece.
- Bother to double check if the conclusion of your essay is based on a single idea and is logically linked to the main body. Such an approach will demonstrate your certain focus and clearly elucidate your views.
- Read between the lines. Poetry is about senses and emotions – it rarely contains one clearly stated subject matter. Describe the hidden meanings and mention the feelings this has provoked in you. Try to elaborate a full picture that would be based on what is said and what is meant.
Write a Poetry Analysis Essay with HandmadeWriting
You may have hundreds of reasons why you can’t write a brilliant poem analysis essay. In addition to the fact that it is one of the most complicated creative assignments, you can have some personal issues. It can be anything from lots of homework, a part-time job, personal problems, lack of time, or just the absence of motivation. In any case, your main task is not to let all these factors influence your reputation and grades. A perfect way out may be asking the real pros of essay writing for professional help.
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The Poetry issue
The Shape of the Void: Toward a Definition of Poetry
“Poetry leaves something out,” our columnist Elisa Gabbert says. But that’s hardly the extent of it.
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By Elisa Gabbert
I once heard a student say poetry is language that’s “coherent enough.” I love a definition this ambiguous. It’s both helpful (there’s a limit to coherence, and the limit is aesthetic) and unhelpful (enough for what, or whom?). It reminds me of a dictionary entry for “detritus” that I copied down in a notebook: “the pieces that are left when something breaks, falls apart, is destroyed, etc.” That seemed so artfully vague to me, so uncharacteristically casual for a dictionary. It has a quality of distraction, of trailing off, of suggesting you already know what detritus means. Part of me resists the question of what poetry is, or resists the answer — you already know what it means.
But let’s answer it anyway, starting with the obvious: If the words have rhyme and meter, it’s poetry. Nonwords with rhyme and meter, as in “Jabberwocky,” also are poetry. And since words in aggregate have at least some rhyme and rhythm, which lines on the page accentuate, any words composed in lines are poetry. There’s something to be said for the obvious. Virginia Woolf wrote of E.M. Forster: “He says the simple things that clever people don’t say; I find him the best of critics for that reason. Suddenly out comes the obvious thing one has overlooked.”
Is there much else? I think so. I think poetry leaves something out. All texts leave something out, of course — otherwise they’d be infinite — but most of the time, more is left out of a poem. Verse, by forcing more white space on the page, is constantly reminding you of what’s not there. This absence of something, this hyper-present absence, is why prose poems take up less space than other prose forms; the longer they get, the less they feel like poems. It’s why fragments are automatically poetic: Erasure turns prose into poems. It’s why any text that’s alluringly cryptic or elusive — a road sign, assembly instructions — is described as poetic. The poetic is not merely beauty in language, but beauty in incoherence, in resistance to common sense. The missingness of poetry slows readers down, making them search for what can’t be found. The encounter is almost inherently frustrating, as though one could not possibly pay enough attention. This is useful: Frustration is erotic.
“What is poetry?” is not the same question, quite, as “What is a poem?” How many poems did Emily Dickinson write? It depends what you count. In “Writing in Time,” the scholar Marta Werner writes, of Dickinson’s so-called Master letters, “At their most fundamental, ontological level, we don’t know what they are.” Perhaps my favorite poem of Dickinson’s is not, perhaps, a poem — it’s an odd bit of verse in the form of a letter to her sister-in-law, ending with the loveliest, slantest of rhymes: “Be Sue, while/I am Emily —/Be next, what/you have ever/been, Infinity.” Are the “breaks” really breaks? The letter is written on a small, narrow card; the words go almost to the edge of the paper. I think, too, of Rilke’s letters, which often read like poems. In 1925, he wrote to his Polish translator: “We are the bees of the Invisible. We wildly gather the honey of the visible, in order to store it in the great golden hive of the Invisible.” In these letter-poems, poetry reveals itself as more a mode of writing, a mode of thinking, even a mode of being , than a genre. The poem is not the only unit of poetry; poetic lines in isolation are still poetry. The poem is a vessel; poetry is liquid.
From time to time I’m asked, with bewilderment or derision, if this or that poem isn’t just “prose chopped into lines.” This idea of the free verse poem as “chopped” prose comes from Ezra Pound via Marjorie Perloff, who quotes Pound in her influential essay “The Linear Fallacy,” published in 1981. The essay encourages an oddly suspicious, even paranoid reading of most free verse as phony poetry, as prose in costume. The line, in Perloff’s view, in these ersatz poems, is a “surface device,” a “gimmick.” She removes all the breaks from a C.K. Williams poem to make the case that a stanza without the intentional carriage returns is merely a paragraph.
I find this baffling — as if chopping up prose has no effect. It does have an effect, the way putting more panes in a window changes the view. The architect Christopher Alexander thought big plate glass windows were a mistake, because “they alienate us from the view”: “The smaller the windows are, and the smaller the panes are, the more intensely windows help connect us with what is on the other side. This is an important paradox.” To state the Forsterian obvious again, adding breaks to a paragraph is not always going to make an interesting poem — but most poets don’t write that way. They write in the line , in the company of the void. That changes how you write — and more profoundly, how you think, and even how you are, your mode of being. When you write in the line, there is always an awareness of the mystery, of what is left out. This is why, I suppose, poems can be so confounding. Empty space on the page, that absence of language, provides no clues. But it doesn’t communicate nothing — rather, it communicates nothing . It speaks void, it telegraphs mystery.
By “mystery” I don’t mean metaphor or disguise. Poetry doesn’t, or shouldn’t, achieve mystery only by hiding the known, or translating the known into other, less familiar language. The mystery is unknowing, the unknown — as in Jennifer Huang’s “Departure”: “The things I don’t know have stayed/In this home.” The mystery is the missing mountain in Shane McCrae’s “The Butterflies the Mountain and the Lake”:
the / Butterflies monarch butterflies huge swarms they Migrate and as they migrate south as they Cross Lake Superior instead of flying
South straight across they fly South over the water then fly east still over the water then fly south again / And now biologists believe they turn to avoid a mountain
That disappeared millennia ago.
The missing mountain is still there. As for what is on the page, the language that changes the shape of the void, I’m of the opinion it can be almost anything. One of my favorite books that no one has heard of is “Survey Says!,” by Nathan Austin. It’s just a list of guesses ventured by contestants on “Family Feud,” arranged, most ingeniously, in alphabetical order by their second letter, so you get sequences like this: “A bra. Abraham Lincoln. A building. Scaffolding. Scalpel. A car. A card game. A cat. A cat. Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream.” We get the answers; the questions are missing. “Get a manicure. Get a toupee. Get drunk. Retirement fund. Get out of bed. Get ready! Let’s go with manuals. Get sick in there. Let’s say a pet. Let’s say shoes. Bette Davis.” The poetry seems to perform hypnosis, the found rhymes and assonance and anaphora enacting an enchantment, a bewitchery; it seems to be giving subconscious advice. Get ready! You must change your life.
Elisa Gabbert is the author of five collections of poetry, essays and criticism, most recently “ The Unreality of Memory & Other Essays .” Her On Poetry columns appear four times a year.
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How to Write a Poem Analysis: 6 Steps for Students and New Reviewers
Emily Butler is a librarian and writer. You can discover more of their literary opinions on their YouTube channel, youtube.com/emilybutler, and follow them on Twitter @EmilyFButler1.
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If you’re a student or new reviewer first approaching the task, you may be wondering how to write a poem analysis. Fortunately, there are concrete steps you can take to analyze a poem or collection of poetry. Even if you do not plan on learning how to write a poem analysis essay, building a routine of analysis into your poetry reading can deepen your appreciation for the genre.
Poems have many layers of meaning. A particularly beautiful and well-crafted poem only becomes more enjoyable the more you increase your understanding of the decisions the poet made to craft it. The following steps outline the kinds of questions to ask yourself while writing a poem analysis.
Step 1: Read the Poem Aloud
Poetry has a long oral history. Poets often utilize sound techniques which are easier to detect when reading the poem aloud. Read it once without an analytical focus. Simply notice how you respond to the poem. Begin by asking yourself broad, simple questions such as: How did this make me feel? What do I think the poet is trying to say?
Jot some notes down about your initial impression. Analyzing a poem is a recursive process. You will read the poem several times, and these first impressions can provide interesting clues for what to focus on in your analysis.
Step 2: Identify the Type of Poem
There are several different types of poems, but all poems fall into three overarching categories: free verse, formal verse, and prose poems. Formal poetry itself comes in many more specific forms. Check out A Beginner’s Guide to Different Types of Poems.
There are certain analytical questions you can ask yourself depending on the type of the poem you’re reading. If this is a prose poem, ask yourself, what exactly makes this piece of writing a poem, as opposed to a short piece of prose? Recognizing a specific poetic form allows you to contextualize the poem in history. For example, if you’re reading a sonnet, consider how the poem you’re analyzing fits with or fights against the conventions of sonnets.
Step 3: Mark It Up
There is no one correct way to mark up a poem. You can underline lines which stand out to you. You can take notes in the margins identifying poetic techniques as you see them. You can scan the poem, a method of marking stressed and unstressed syllables. You can circle words which seem important or stand out as surprising.
If you are reviewing an entire poetry collection, it’s a good idea to take notes in the margins about particular motifs or themes. That way, when you are finished with your first read, you can look for ideas which appeared in multiple poems.
Step 4: Consider Poetic Techniques
Read the poem several times, considering a single poetic technique at a time. For example, free verse and formal poems use line breaks. Read through the poem once, focusing on how the poet has broken lines, and the impact of those decisions. If the poem contains stanzas, do the same for stanzas. You can repeat this process with any poetic technique: similes, metaphors, imagery, assonance, consonance, alliteration. How do these poetic techniques support, enhance, or problematize the overall message of the poem? Your observations will prove crucial when you are ready to sit down and write a poem analysis.
Step 5: Pay Attention to the Turn(s)
In poetry, the term “volta,” sometimes called a “turn,” is a shift in the tone, meaning, or style of a poem. This is a common enough poetic technique that it warrants its own step in the analytic process. Nearly every sonnet contains a turn in the final two lines of the poem, but countless other types of poems contain some sort of shift.
Voltas are so common that if the poem you’re reading does not contain a volta, that is a decision worth incorporating into a poem analysis. You can always ask yourself whether or not a poem contains a turn, and how this impacts the poem overall. Focus on the final lines of a poem, since that is where the volta typically appears.
Step 6: Make an Argument
If you are reviewing an entire poetry collection you can use the above steps for each poem. Then consider the way that the poet has chosen to order the poems within the collection. Revisit the first and last poems, asking yourself how they might function as a kind of introduction and conclusion to the collection.
As with any other essay in the realm of literature, in order to write a poem analysis essay, you should formulate an argument and back it up with evidence. Different readers can have opposing ideas about how a poem or collection of poetry operates, and that’s okay, as long as both readers have evidence to support their claims. How do you back up your claims with evidence? Refer to your notes, especially your observations of poetic techniques. Whenever necessary, quote exact lines or stanzas and use them to support your argument.
Step 7: Consider the Audience
Writing a book review of a poetry collection is considerably different from writing an essay about it. That is because book reviews serve a different purpose than essays do. Individual readers, book buyers, and librarians read reviews in order to decide whether or not to purchase a book.
Ask yourself: what kind of reader might enjoy this collection? It’s always a good idea to compare and contrast to other collections of poetry. You can recommend the poetry collection you’re reviewing to fans of another poet, for example.
Book reviews tend to be considerably shorter than essays, often as short as two or three hundred words. For that reason, it’s important to be concise. Unlike reviewing fiction or nonfiction, you do not exactly need to “summarize” a poetry collection. Most poetry collections cannot be summarized the way that a novel or nonfiction book can. Instead, list some of the central thematic concerns of the collection and describe the poetic style. Tell your readers what kind of poems they will find in this collection. Are these prose poems, free verse, formal verse, or a combination? Are they simple, accessible poems, or complex poems with unusual syntax? Does the collection contain a lot of references?
In a book review, you will want to quote a line or two which represents some aspect of the poetry collection as a whole. Since you do not have a lot of space, choose something representative of the poet’s style. This will give readers an idea of whether or not this collection appeals to them. For more information about writing book reviews, check out How To Write a Book Review: Six Steps to Take .
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How to Write a Poem: A Step-by-Step Guide
Poetry is . . . song lyrics without the music? Writing that rhymes? A bunch of comparisons and abstract imagery that feels like a code for the reader to decipher?
The answer to all of the above is yes, but poetry encompasses much more. Poetry is a broad literary category that covers everything from bawdy limericks to unforgettable song lyrics to the sentimental couplets inside greeting cards. Poetry’s lack of rules can make it feel hard to define but is also what makes poetry enjoyable for so many to write.
If you’ve ever wondered how to write a poem, read on. Writing poetry doesn’t have to be daunting—we’re going to demystify the process and walk you through it, one step at a time.
Write confidently Grammarly helps you choose the perfect words Write with Grammarly
What is a poem?
A poem is a singular piece of poetry.
Poems don’t have to rhyme; they don’t have to fit any specific format; and they don’t have to use any specific vocabulary or be about any specific topic. But here’s what they do have to do: use words artistically by employing figurative language . With a poem, the form is as important as the function—perhaps even more so.
In contrast, prose is writing that follows the standard sentence and paragraph structure. Prose, while it takes many different forms and tones, largely mimics human speech patterns.
The purpose of a poem
Poetry expresses emotions and conveys ideas, but that’s not all it can do. Poets tell stories, teach lessons, and even communicate hidden messages through poetry. When you listen to music with lyrics, you’re listening to poetry.
When you’re writing poetry, keep your goal in mind. Are you writing to evoke emotion? To perform your poem at an open mic night? To get a good grade on your assignment? Although there aren’t any hard and fast rules for writing poetry, there are some fundamental guidelines to keep in mind:
- Show, don’t tell. The goal is to provoke an emotion in the reader.
- Less can be more. While it’s perfectly acceptable to write long, flowery verse, using simple, concise language is also powerful. Word choice and poem length are up to you.
- It’s OK to break grammatical rules when doing so helps you express yourself.
Elements of poetry
The key elements that distinguish poetry from other kinds of literature include sound, rhythm, rhyme, and format. The first three of these are apparent when you hear poetry read aloud. The last is most obvious when you read poetry.
One thing poetry has in common with other kinds of literature is its use of literary devices. Poems, like other kinds of creative writing , often make use of allegories and other kinds of figurative language to communicate themes.
In many cases, poetry is most impactful when it’s listened to rather than read. With this in mind, poets often create sound, whether to be pleasing, jarring, or simply highlight key phrases or images through words. Read this short poem “The Cold Wind Blows” by Kelly Roper aloud and listen to the sounds the letters and words make:
Who knows why the cold wind blows
Or where it goes, or what it knows.
It only flows in passionate throes
Until it finally slows and settles in repose.
Do you hear the repeated “ose” sound and how it mimics the sound of wind gusts? Poets create sound in a variety of ways, like alliteration , assonance, and consonance.
Poetry has rhythm. That’s what often makes it so attractive to set to music.
A poem’s rhythmic structure is known as its meter . Meter refers to:
- The number of syllables in each line
- The stressed and unstressed syllables in each line
These syllables are grouped together to form feet , units that make up a line of poetry. A foot is generally two or three syllables, and each combination of two or three stressed and unstressed syllables has a unique name.
You probably recognize the term iambic pentameter from English class. It comes up a lot in high school English classes because Shakespeare wrote in it frequently, and Shakespeare is frequently read in high school English classes. An iamb is a two-syllable foot where the second syllable is stressed: duh-DUH. Pentameter means that each line in the poem has five feet or ten total syllables.
Iambic pentameter is just one of the many kinds of rhythm a poem can have . Other types of feet include the trochee , two syllables where the first syllable is stressed (DUH-duh), and dactyl , three syllables where only the first is stressed (DUH-duh-duh). When a poem only has one foot per line, it’s in monometer; when there are two feet per line, it’s in dimeter; and so on.
Stressed and unstressed syllables aren’t the only way you can create rhythm in your poetry. Another technique poets frequently embrace is repetition. Repetition underscores the words being repeated, which could be a phrase or a single word. In her poem “Still I Rise”, Maya Angelou repeats the phrase “I rise” with increasing frequency as the poem progresses, changing it from “I’ll rise” in the first stanzas to a repeated “I rise” toward the ending, to emphasize her unbreakable spirit:
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
With poetry, rhythm and rhyme go hand in hand. Both create musicality in the poem, making it pleasurable to recite and listen to.
Rhymes can appear anywhere in a poem, not just at the ends of alternating lines. Take a look at all the places Lewis Carrol uses rhymes in this excerpt from “Jabberwocky”:
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
When you’re reading poetry, one of the first things you’ll likely notice is its formatting. Simply put, poems just aren’t formatted the same way as prose. Sentences end in weird places, there are blank lines between the different sections, one word might have a line all to itself, or the words might be arranged in a shape that makes a picture on the page.
One of poetry’s defining characteristics is that it doesn’t adhere to the same formatting that prose does. You (most likely) won’t find sentences and paragraphs in poetry. Instead, you’ll find stanzas, lines, and line breaks.
A stanza is the poetic equivalent of a paragraph. It’s a group of lines that (usually) adheres to a specific rhyme or rhythm pattern. For example, a quatrain is a four-line stanza in which the second and fourth lines rhyme. An isometric stanza is a stanza of any length where each line has the same meter.
Literary devices aren’t limited to prose—many, perhaps even most, poems incorporate one or more literary devices. Literary devices commonly found in poetry include:
- Figurative language
Often, poets use literary devices in conjunction with other poetic elements. One famous example of a poem that layers multiple literary devices is Margaret Atwood’s “[you fit into me]”:
you fit into me
like a hook into an eye
a fish hook
an open eye
In the first stanza, Atwood uses a simile, a type of figurative language , to create an initially pleasant image: a hook and eye closure, a small metal hook that neatly fits into an appropriately sized metal loop to fasten clothing. Then the second stanza juxtaposes this with a jarring image: a fish hook plunged into an eyeball. These images together, formatted as two stark sections separated by a break, express the poem’s uncomfortable, visceral theme.
Types of poetic forms
There are many different types of poems. Some have very strict style rules, while others are classified according to the topics they cover rather than their structure. When you’re writing poetry, keep the form you’re writing in mind as you brainstorm—with forms that involve rhyming or require a specific number of syllables, you’ll probably want to jot down a list of go-to words that fit into your chosen format before you start writing.
A haiku is a three-line poem that always fits this format: The first and third lines contain five syllables and the second line contains seven syllables.
A limerick is a five-line poem that follows a strict AABBA rhyme scheme. Though they often discuss humorous subjects, this isn’t a requirement—the only requirement is that it fits this precise rhyme pattern.
A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem that was often used by Shakespeare and Petrarch. Although a sonnet’s exact rhyme scheme varies from poem to poem, each sonnet has some kind of consistent rhyme pattern.
Here’s a tip: Grammarly’s Citation Generator ensures your essays have flawless citations and no plagiarism. Try it for citing sonnets in Chicago , MLA , and APA styles.
Blank verse poetry is written in a specific meter that, as a rule, does not rhyme. Although this specific meter is often iambic pentameter, that isn’t a requirement for blank verse poetry—the only requirements are that it does not stray from its meter (whichever meter the poet chose) and that it doesn’t rhyme.
With free verse, anything goes. When you read a poem that doesn’t appear to fit any specific format, you’re reading free verse poetry.
An ode is a poem that celebrates a person, an event, or even an object. An ode uses vivid language to describe its subject.
Elegies are poems that, like odes, pay tribute to specific subjects. However, rather than being purely celebratory, an elegy is generally a reflection on its subject’s death and includes themes of mourning and loss.
How to write a poem
Writing a poem isn’t the same as writing a short story , an essay, an email, or any other type of writing. While each of these other kinds of writing requires a unique approach, they all have one thing in common: they’re prose.
Poetry isn’t prose, as we explained above. And that’s what makes it feel like the wildcard of creative writing.
With poetry, going through the standard writing process can feel like a creativity killer. That doesn’t mean you should just sit down, scrawl out a poem, and call it a day. On the contrary, when you’re writing poetry, you might find that skipping one or more stages in the traditional writing process will help you be more creative.
Of course, you might also find that following the writing process helps you explore and organize your thoughts before you start to write. The usefulness of starting with brainstorming, then moving onto outlining, then starting to write only once you’ve got an outline varies from poet to poet and even poem to poem. Sometimes, inspiration strikes and the words just start flowing out of your mind and onto the page.
Here are a few tips to help you get started and write your next poem:
1 Decide what you want to write about
Unless you’ve been assigned to write a poem about a specific topic, the first step in writing a poem is determining a topic to write about. Look for inspiration around you, perhaps in nature, your community, current events, or the people in your life. Take notes on how different things make you feel and what they drive you to think about.
Freewriting can be a helpful exercise when you’re searching for the perfect topic to write a poem about. You can use a writing prompt as a jumping-off point for your freewriting or just jot down a word (or a few) and see where your mind guides your pen, stream-of-consciousness style.
Once you have a topic and a theme in mind, the next step is to determine which kind of poem is the best way to express it.
2 Determine the best format for your topic
Your poem doesn’t have to adhere to any specific format, but choosing a format and sticking to it might be the way to go. By opting to write in a particular format, like a sonnet or a limerick, for example, you constrain your writing and force yourself to find a way to creatively express your theme while fitting that format’s constraints.
3 Explore words, rhymes, and rhythm
If you’ve decided to write your poem in a specific format, read other poems in that format to give yourself a template to follow. A specific rhythm or rhyme scheme can highlight themes and clever wordplay in your poem. For example, you might determine that a limerick is the most effective way to make your readers laugh at your satirical poem because the format feels like it has a built-in punchline.
4 Write the poem
Now it’s time to write! Whether you opt for using a pen and paper, typing on a laptop, or tapping on your phone, give yourself some uninterrupted time to focus on writing the poem.
Don’t expect to write something perfect on the first try. Instead, focus on getting your words out. Even if your lines don’t rhyme perfectly or you’ve got too many or too few syllables to fit the format you chose, write what’s on your mind. The theme your words are expressing is more important than the specific words themselves, and you can always revise your poem later.
5 Edit what you’ve written
Once you have a draft, the next step is to edit your poem. You don’t have to jump right from writing to editing—in fact, it’s better if you don’t. Give yourself a break. Then in a day or two, come back to your poem with a critical eye. By that, we mean read it again, taking note of any spots where you can replace a word with a stronger one, tighten your rhythm, make your imagery more vivid, or even remove words or stanzas that aren’t adding anything to the poem. When you do this, you might realize that the poem would work better in another form or that your poem would be stronger if it rhymed . . . or if it didn’t.
Reading your poem aloud can help you edit it more effectively because when you listen to it, you’ll hear the poem’s rhythm and quickly notice any spots where the rhythm doesn’t quite work. This can help you move words around or even completely restructure the poem.
If you’re comfortable sharing your poetry with others, have somebody else read your poem and give you feedback on ways you can improve it. You might even want to join a writing group, online or off, where you can workshop your poetry with other writers. Often, other people can spot strengths and weaknesses in your work that you might not have noticed because your perspective is too close to the poem. A more distanced perspective, as well as perspectives from readers and writers of different backgrounds, can offer up ways to make your writing stronger that you hadn’t considered before.
Give your writing extra spark
When you’re writing poetry, you’re allowed to break the rules. In fact, you’re encouraged to break the rules. Breaking the rules artistically is one of the key differences between writing poetry and writing prose.
But making mistakes isn’t the same as breaking the rules. Mistakes in your poetry, like misspelled words and incorrect punctuation, can distract readers from what you’re communicating through your words. That’s where Grammarly comes in. Grammarly catches any mistakes or tone inconsistencies in your work and suggests ways you can make your writing stronger. The outcome: writing with confidence and getting better at breaking the rules on purpose.
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12.4: Sample essay on a poem
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Example: Sample essay written on a Langston Hughes' poem
The following essay is a student’s analysis of Langston Hughes’ poem “I, Too” (poem published in 1926) I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then. Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed — I, too, am America.
Last name 1
Creating Change by Changing Minds
When I log onto Facebook nowadays and scroll through my feed, if it's not advertisements, it's posts talking about the injustices of the world, primarily from racism. These posts are filled with anger and strong hostility. I'm not saying anger is the wrong emotion to feel when faced with injustice, but when that hostility is channeled into violence, this does not bring about justice or change. Long lasting and effective change can only be made through non-violent methods, which is demonstrated by Langston Huges in his poem, "I, Too." In this short poem, Hughes gives many examples of how to effectively and on-violently address and combat racism.
Huges first uses people's religious morality to enlist his readers to resist racism. He starts the poem with his black narrator asserting, "I am the darker brother" (2). Brother to whom? In the Christian religion, a predominate religion during the times of slavery in the U.S and beyond, the terms brother and sister are used to show equality and kinship, and this human connection transcends race. Everyone is equal as children of God, and are all heirs to the promises of divine love and salvation. Simply by the black narrator calling himself a brother, Hughes is attempting to appeal to white Christian Americans, and to deny this connection is to go against the teachings in the Bible about brotherhood. This is very powerful in multiple ways. Firstly, establishing a sense of brotherhood and camaraderie should make anyone who tarnishes that unity feel ashamed. Secondly if anyone truly wishes to receive God's mercy, they would have to treat everyone as equals, or be punished by God, or even be denied eternal life in heaven all together. This technique is effective and long-lasting because the fear or violence inflicted on a person is temporary, but damnation is eternal.
Hughes further combats racism, not through threats of uprisings or reprisals, but rather by transforming hatred into humor and positivity. In response to his segregation, the narrator says, "They send me to eat in the kitchen/When company comes,/But I laugh,/And eat well/And grow strong" (3-7). With this, Hughes rises about racial exclusion and asks his reader to see it for what it is, ridiculous. He also shows how to effectively combat this injustice which is to learn from it and to feel empowered by not letting racists treatment from others hurt, define or hold you back. Additionally, this approach is an invitation to Hughes' white readers to be "in on the joke" and laugh at the mindless and unwarranted exclusion of this appealing and relatable person who is full of confidence and self-worth. Through his narrator, Hughes diffuses racial tensions in an inclusive and non-threatening way, but the underlying message is clear: equality is coming soon. We know he believes this when the poem's speaker states, "Tomorrow,/I'll be at the table/When company comes" (8-10). There is a strong assertion here that racism will not be permitted to continue, but the assertion is not a threat. Hughes carefully navigates the charged issue of racial unity here, particularly at the time he wrote this poem when segregation was in many places in the U.S. the law. The different forms of segregation-emotional, physical, financial, social-that blacks have suffered has and continues to result in violence, but Hughes here shows another path. Highes shows that despite it all, we can still make amends and site down at a table together. As a human family, we can overcome our shameful past by simply choosing to peacefully come together.
Finally Hughes uses American patriotism as a powerful non-violent method to unite his readers to combat racism. The poem concludes, "Besides,/They'll see how beautiful I am/And be ashamed-/I, too, am American" (15-18). Notice how he uses the word American and not American. He is not simply just an inhabitant of America he IS American in that he represents the promise, the overcoming of struggle, and the complicated beauty that makes up this country. He is integral to America's past, present and future. He is, as equally as anyone else, a critical piece in America's very existence and pivotal to its future. As Hughes united his readers through religion and the use of "brother," here he widens the net beyond religion and appeals to all Americans. As we say in our pledge of allegiance, we stand "indivisible with liberty and justice for all." To hate or exclude someone based on race, therefore, is to violate the foundational and inspirational tenants of this country. Hughes does not force or attack in his poem, and he does not promise retribution for all the harms done to blacks. He simple shows that racism in incompatible and contradictory to being truly American, and this realization, this change of heart, is what can bring about enduring change.
It has been shown over and over that violence leads to more violence. Violence might bring about change temporarily, but when people are stripped of choice, violence will reassert itself. Some of the most dramatic social movements that have brought about real change have used non-violent means as seen in Martin Luther King Jr's non-violent protests helping to change U.S. laws and ensure Civil Rights for all, as seen in Gandhi's use of non-violent methods to rid India of centuries of oppressive British rule, and as seen in Nelson Mandela's persistent and non-violent approaches of finally removing Apartheid from South Africa. However, we are not these men. Mos tof us are not leaders of movements, but we are each important and influential. We as individuals can be immensely powerful if we choose to be. We can choose to apply the examples and advice from enlightened minds like Hughes, King, Gandhi, and Mandela. When we see on Facebook or in the news on in-person people targeting or excluding others, or inciting violence againist a person or group based on race, or sexual orientation, or religion, or any other arbitrary difference selected to divide and pit us against one another, we can choose instead to respond with kindness, with humor, with positivity, and with empathy because this leads to the only kind of change that matters.
Hughes, Langston. "I, Too." African-American Poetry: An Anthology 1773-1927 , edited by Joan R.
Sherman, Dover Publications, Inc. Mineola, New York. 1997, p. 74.
Poetry - Free Essay Samples And Topic Ideas
Poetry, a form of literary expression that emphasizes aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language, often explores emotions, ideas, and imagery. Essays on poetry could delve into the exploration of different genres, styles, and structures of poetry, and the analysis of significant poets and their works. Discussions might also explore the historical evolution of poetry, the role of cultural and societal themes in poetic expressions, and the modern manifestations of poetry in digital mediums. Furthermore, analyzing the enduring appeal of poetry, its therapeutic value, and its educational importance can provide a holistic understanding of the poetic form and its ability to encapsulate the human experience. We have collected a large number of free essay examples about Poetry you can find at PapersOwl Website. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.
The Hidden Truth of Victorian Marriage between the Lines of Oscar Wilde’s Poetry
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Billy Collins Writter Poetry
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Explication of the Poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes
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Analysis of Poetry Analysis by Langston Hughes
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“I, Too” by Langston Hughes Poetry Analysis
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The Road not Taken Poem Analysis
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Poem Analysis Essay Guide: Outline, Template, Structure
Poetry analysis, which is similar to poetry review, involves analyzing the language and figures of speech used by a poet. It also entails sharing personal views regarding the poem and breaking down the poetic instruments utilized by the said poet. However, it’s not just about the words used (Headrick, 2014). It entails reading between the lines and understanding what made the poet come up with a particular poem. So it may require some background research on the author and history behind the creation of the poem.
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What Is A Poetry Analysis?
Poetry analysis may define as a critical review given on a poem, a reflection on the depth and gravity of a poem. It revolves around multiple aspects of a poem starting from the subject of a poem, its theme (meaning), tone, literary devices or speech figures, form to the feeling of the poet to how a reader feels about the poem. It is not only the analysis of techniques used in a poem, but poetry analysis provides a broader and wider picture of the poem, its reality, its hidden meanings between the lines, a study of poet’s mind, feeling and intention behind a poem. Different techniques used in poetry analysis are helpful tools in investigating and reviewing the poem. Behind every review or analysis vital research on poet (author), era (time frame), possible reasons, the background behind the conceptualization poem is vital.
One should read, understand and develop a thesis. Writing services also recommend researching more on the poet and his past works to understand the root of this particular idea.
If you have been asked to write a poem analysis essay, then it means to examine the piece and further dissect it into key elements including its form, techniques used and historical value. Then further appreciating the poem and highlighting to others these points, and gaining a better understanding.
It is also important to show as many ideas as possible that relate to the poem and then create conclusions on this.
To start writing a poetry analysis essay let's look at the prewriting stage.
How to Choose a Topic for a Poetry Analysis Essay?
- In the subject of the poem we mainly focus on the reasons such as why is the poem written or what is it all about?
- What is the context, the central content of the poem?
- Who wrote the poem and why?
- When and where the poet did write the poem, what or who has influenced the poet and what are the key features of the poem?
A topic should be chosen based on the theme you want to write. The theme is the message that the poem is trying to convey. You need to look therefore for concepts and notions that pop up in the poem and come up with an appropriate theme based on those perceptions or "feelings". If you can’t still figure out what topic you should choose for your analysis, it is recommended that you go through other poems similar poems and get a suitable topic for your analysis. Don’t also forget to cite your poem well. And also use in-text citations while quoting from the poem.
Related: COMING UP WITH ESSAY TOPIC IDEAS .
Poem Analysis Essay Outline
To create a good essay, it is needed to plan out the structure of a poem analysis essay so the writing stage will be easier and faster.
Here is an outline of a poem analysis essay to use:
Opening paragraph - Introduce the Poem, title, author and background.
Body of text - Make most of the analysis, linking ideas and referencing to the poem.
Conclusion - State one main idea, feelings and meanings.
Poem Analysis Essay Introduction
To start an introduction to a poem analysis essay, include the name of the poem and the author . Other details like the date of when it was published can also be stated. Then some background information and interesting facts or trivia regarding the poem or author can also be included here.
Poem Analysis Essay Body
When writing the main body of text keep in mind you have to reference all ideas to the poem so include a quotation to back up the sentence, otherwise, it will be a wasted comparison and not count. Be clear with your statements.
Poem Analysis Essay Conclusion
Now, this is where you should take a step back from analyzing the individual elements of the poem and work out its meaning as a whole. Combine the different elements of the analysis and put forward one main idea.
What is the poet trying to say, and how is it enforced and with what feeling? Then look at the meaning and what timeframe does this evolve over?
For example, is it obvious from the start, or does it gradually change towards the end? The last few lines can be very significant within a poem and so should be included in the poem analysis essay conclusion and commented on the impact on the piece.
Remember that you can always send us a " write an essay for me " text and have your assignment done for you.
How to Analyze a Poem?
Before even thinking about your first draft, read the poem as much as possible. If it's possible, listen to it in the original form. This depends on many factors which include if the poet is still alive?
Also reading aloud can help identify other characteristics that could be missed and even to a friend or colleague will give a chance to more insight. It is important to remember that poetry is a form of art painted with only words, this said it could take time to fully appreciate the piece. So take note of any first thoughts you have about the poem, even if they are negative.
Your opinions can change over time but still mark these first thoughts down.
So that to analyze a poem properly, you have to pay attention to the following aspects:
Title of the Poem
So let's go deeper into the poem analysis essay and look at the title. The poet may have spent a lot of time thinking about naming the piece so what can be observed from this and what further questions can be asked?
- What are your expectations? For example, the poem could be titled “Alone” written by Edgar Allan Poe and from this it is natural to assume it will be sad. After reading further does the reality turn out to be different?
- What is the literature style used? So for example, the work could be called “His last sonnet” by John Keats. From appearance, it is possible to deduce that it could be in sonnet form and if not why did the poet choose to mislead the audience?
- What is the poem about? In the poem, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” by Elizabeth Barrett, it already states what could be included and what to expect but if it differs from the title what would this suggest?
Literal Meaning of the Poetry
According to our to fully appreciate a piece, it is needed to understand all the words used. So, for example, get a good dictionary and look up all the unknown words. Then go through partly known words and phrases and check these too. Also, maybe check the meaning of words that are used a lot, but remember some text may have had a different meaning a century ago, so use the internet to look up anything that is not clear. Furthermore, people and places and any cultural relevance of the time should be researched too to get a deeper look at the poet's attitude towards the piece. Patterns might become visible at this point and maybe the theme of the poem.
Structure of the Poem
When looking at the structure of the piece this will reveal more information so pay close attention to this. Look at the organization and sections, this will unlock more questions:
- What does each part discuss?
- How do the parts relate to each other?
- Can you see formal separations?
- What logical sense does it have?
- Is there emotional sense that can be evaluated?
- Does having a strict format say anything about the poet?
- Also failing to have a strict structure does this reveal something?
Once you have observed the structure, it is possible to go deeper into the poem analysis essay and investigate how the speaker communicates the poem to the reader.
Tone and Intonation of the Poetry
So now it is possible to look at the poet and see what details can be obtained from them. Is it possible to see the gender or age of the speaker? Is there some race or religious references to pick up on? Then can we see if the speaker is directly communicating their thoughts and ideas to the reader? If not, what is the character the poet has created to convey the ideas or messages? Does the poet's persona differ to the character created and what can be analyzed from this? Also the mood of the speaker could be available now, are they happy or sad, and how can you find out this from the poem?
Once the poet is understood it is possible to move onto who or what the poem is designed for. Then you can see the purpose of the poetry, what does the poet want from the reader? It is also possible that the poet does not desire a response from the audience and is simply making a statement or expressing themselves.
For example, a poem about spring could just be a happy statement that winter has ended. Looking from the other side, this could be an attempt to attract someone's attention or maybe just an instruction to plow the field.
Purpose of the Poem
The subject of the poem can help identify the purpose, as this usually will be what the poet is describing. Then the theme can be identified also, and what does it say about the work? Are there any links between the theme and the subject and what can analyzed from that? The timeframe is also an important factor to consider, for example, the poet's goal back when it was written, may have changed and why? Furthermore, has the original purpose survived the test of time and can it be said to be the best indicator of success?
Language and Imagery of the Poetry
Until this point it was only possible to analyze the literal information available which is the denotative meaning.’ Now let's look at the imagery, symbolism and figures of speech, this is the connotative meaning.
This is where you should look for pictures described within the text and analyze why they have been depicted? So for example, if the poet thas decided to describe the moon this could set the time in the work or maybe the mood of the poem. Also look for groups of images described and patterns within this, what can be deducted from that?
So when looking for symbolism within the text this could be an event or physical object, including people and places that represent non-physical entities like an emotion or concept. For example, a bird flying through the air can be seen as freedom and escaping usual conforms.
In your analysis you will look at techniques like metaphors, similes, personification and alliteration to include just a few. It's important to identify the actual device used and why it was chosen. For example, when comparing something within the text using a metaphor then look at how they are connected and in what way they are expressed? Try to use all available clues to gain better insight into the mind of the poet.
Music of the Poem
Poetry and music have deep connections and can be compared together due to the history and uses throughout the ages.
Here are some things to look out for to help with those comparisons:
- Meter - This can be available to investigate in different ways, for example, iambic pentameter has a strict five beats per line just like a musical score if used what does it say?
- Rhythm - Just like with music, poem can have a rhythm but if there is no given meter, it is needed to look closer and observe what this does to the work. For example, a particular beat that is fast could make the poem happy.
- Special effects - Looking for not so obvious signs where the poet has written in a way so you take longer to pronounce words. Also it is possible to grab your attention in other ways, for what reason has the writer done that?
- Rhyme - There are many different types of rhyming techniques used within poetry, once identified look at how it impacts on the work like make it humorous for example? Be careful to look for unusual patterns for example rhymes within the lines and not just at the end of the sentences, even reading out aloud might help find these and then what does it this say about the poem?
- Sound effects - The depiction of different sounds can be powerful and also using different voices, look at what impact this has on the piece and why?
- Breaking Rules - Rhyme and meter for example can have very specific rules but what if the poet decided to break these conventional techniques and make something new, what does this add to the work and why
How to Write a Poem Analysis Essay?
Below you will find a compelling guide on how to analyze poetry with handy writing tips:
- Choose a suitable poem - If possible, before you start, pick the main subject of your essay, a poem that you would like to analyze. The more you find it interesting, the easier it will be to handle the task.
- Read it fully - If you are wondering how to analyse poetry, the first step you can’t go without is carefully reading the chosen poem multiple times and, preferably, out loud.
- Always double-check the meanings - When reading a poem, don’t forget to check for the meanings of unknown (and known as well) words and phrases.
- Collect all the details you need - To write a compelling essay, you need to study the poem’s structure, contents, main ideas, as well as other background details.
- Explore hidden meanings - When analyzing poem, be sure to look beyond the words. Instead, focus on finding broader, hidden ideas that the author wanted to share through his piece.
- Make an outline - Once you have analyzed poem, outline your essay and write it following the plan.
- Proofread and edit - Finally, once your essay is ready, take your time to revise and polish it carefully.
Poetry Analysis Template
To write a winning poem analysis essay, use the template below or order an essay from our professionals.
- Name of Poem
- Name of Poet
- Date of Publication
- Background or any relevant information
Form of poem
- Structure of poem
- Rhyme of poem
Meaning of poem
- Overall meaning
- How can we relate the poem to our life
- Literary devices
Form of the Poem
Poems are written in some ways, here one need to identify which structure the poet has used for the poem. The forms of poems broadly are stanzas, rhythm, punctuation and rhymes. Carefully analyze the length and number of stanzas , does the rhythm impacts the meaning of the poem, is there many punctuations or little, either the rhyme is consistent, or it’s breaking and what is the rhyme contributing to the meaning of the poem or is it random.
Theme, Meaning or Message of the Poem
In this part, we focus on the topic, main issue or idea of the poem. There are layers of meaning hidden in a poem.
- Meaning: surface meaning that what is actually or physically happening in the poem which a reader can sense.
- Deeper Meaning: the central idea of the poem or what is it actually about.
- Theme: in poetry, there is always a hidden meaning in every line, which depicts the message about life.
Numerous topics can be covered in poems such as love, life, death, birth, nature, memory, war, age, sexuality, experience, religion, race, faith, creator and many others.
Tone of the Poem
The tone of the poem shows attitude or mood of the language used by the poet. Analyze the different shades of the language used in the poem for example; is it formal, judgmental, informal, critical, positive, bitter, reflective, solemn, frustrated, optimistic, ironic, scornful, regretful or morbid.
Literary Device used in the Poem
Find out what the different literary devices are or what sort of figures of speech is used by the poet . Analyze these techniques and suggest their use in the poem by the poet. The poem can contain a symbol, similes, metaphor, alliteration, allegories, oxymoron, assonances, dissonances, repetition, hyperbole, irony.
Conclusion or Feel of the Poem
Lastly, analyze the emotions and feelings linked with the poem; of the poet and what do you feel when you read the poem. This is the very critical part of reviewing a poem because we analyze the inner depth of the poem, the intention & feelings of the poet, the targeted audience, does the poem reflect the poet’s persona, perspective or it does not match with the poet.
Poetry Analysis Essay Example
Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s Poem “Annabel Lee”
Written in 1849 and first published after the author’s death, Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe is a beautiful story of true love that goes beyond life. In the poem, the author is commemorating the girl named Annabel Lee, whom he knew since childhood. Despite the young age, the love between the narrator and Annabel was so deep and true that even angels were jealous, and, according to Edgar Allan Poe, their jealousy was so severe that they killed the love of his life. The poem ends with young Annabel Lee being buried in a tomb, leaving the readers with a feeling that the author kept holding on to his love for her for many years after her death.
The two evident topics in the poem are love and loss. The entire narration revolves around the author’s agonizing memory, at the same time demonstrating to the readers the purity and power of true love that makes him cherish the memory of his beloved one even after she is gone. Apart from that, Edgar Allan Poe also discusses such issues of love as jealousy and envy. The author states that the love of the two teens was so strong that even angels in heaven were not half as happy as Annabel and Edgar, which caused them to invade the teens’ romantic “kingdom by the sea” and kill the girl.
The topics discussed in the poem, as well as the style of narration itself, give the poem a very romantic atmosphere. It follows the main principles of the romantic era in poetry in the 18th and 19th centuries, which Edgar Allan Poe was representing. At the same time, the author also gives his poem a sense of musicality and rhythm. The poem’s rhyme scheme puts emphasis on the words “Lee”, “me”, and “sea”. The repetition of these words gives the poem a song-like sound.
A significant role in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem is played by imagery, which emphasizes the author’s unique style. The main imagery used by Allan Poe in Annabel Lee is the Kingdom. The author uses this imagery to set the right tone for his poem and give it a sort of a fairytale feel. At the same time, this imagery is used to take the reader to a different place, though not specifying what exactly this place is. To confirm this - the author uses the phrase “the kingdom by the sea” multiple times in his piece, never specifying its meaning. This trick enables the readers to leave this to their own imagination.
Apart from the Kingdom, the author also operates with the imagery of angels and demons. The narrator blames them for their envy for their deep love, which resulted in the death of Annable Lee. Thus, the author gives a negative attitude towards this imagery. This brings us to another big topic of good and evil discussed in the poem.
Nevertheless, even though the angels’ intervention seems to be clear to the reader from what the author says, Poe’s choice of words doesn’t directly implicate their responsibility for the girl’s death. The narrator blames everybody for his loss. However, he does this in a very tactical and covert way.
In conclusion, it becomes clear that the narrator in Annabel Lee did not only pursue a goal to share his pain and loss. He also emphasizes that true love is everlasting by stating that his love for the gone girl lives with him after all these years. With all its deep topics, imagery, and musicality, Annabel Lee is now considered one of the best works by Edgar Allan Poe.
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Poem Analysis Essay
Writing a poetry analysis essay is not an easy feat but it is a very rewarding experience to undergo. Read on to know how to write a paper about a poem. Analyzing poetry will require you to approach the poem with an open mind (and heart). You need to be as objective as possible when trying to decipher the meaning behind the poet’s words, even if you do not fully understand what he or she is trying to express.
A few pointers in writing your poem analysis essay that can help you get started:
- Read through the poem several times and study each word carefully. Pay special attention to particular lines or verses which seem interesting or confusing. Take notes on each reading, underlining key words and phrases so that they can be easily referenced at a later date. Remember: taking good notes will help prevent ambiguity during your essay writing stage.
- How has the author used imagery, figurative language and other literary devices to develop this particular poem? Try to draw your own conclusions; you may be pleasantly surprised with your findings! Write them down in a logical order so that they clearly support one another, either by conjunction or contrast.
- What type of mood is the poet trying to convey through his/her writing? You can discover this by figuring out what emotions are being targeted: joy, fear, anger…etc. Use quotations from the text as illustrations here if necessary. Next, determine whether these feelings are being expressed successfully. If not, how could the author have improved upon it? Examples are always important for supporting points made so give examples where applicable.
- What is the overall mood of the poem? Does it seem very positive or negative, happy or sad? Give examples to support your opinion and include any evidence you think would bolster your argument.
- Is there a theme in this poem that can be used as a catalyst for writing an essay on? Look at all possibilities closely; find similarities and differences between various poems if necessary.
- Try not to jump into conclusions too soon – remember to weigh all options before choosing one that really makes sense.
Let us now define what your lecturer mean by a poem analysis.
short story essay
- Personal Observation essay
- How to write a thematic essay + examples
- How to format an essay
- How to Write a Conclusion For An Essay (Examples and template)
What is a poem analysis essay.
A poem analysis essay in literature is a piece of writing that looks at one or more poems in depth. The purpose of such essays is to give the writer an understanding of the poetry they are studying so they can be able to write about it with greater skill and insight. This makes these types of essays particularly useful for English students because many pupils will need them if they choose to study poetry at University level .
In order to write this type of essay , it is necessary for you clearly to identify what you want to achieve in your essay and formulate clear thesis statement on which to build your research and analysis. It is also important for you think carefully about how best to construct your paragraphs so they do not confuse the reader but rather communicate your points effectively and logically If you do this, then you will be able to write a poem analysis essay that effectively explores the poems you are studying while at the same time gives your reader a greater understanding of them.
A poem analysis essay must clearly state everything it intends to achieve and what its aim is before proceeding with the actual analysis itself.
- Read more about: poem explication essay .
In order to do this properly, you will need to state the purpose of your poem analysis essay at the beginning. This part of your essay should be just one paragraph long and it should clearly explain what you intend to do in your research. You might, for example, want to show how an author uses a particular literary technique or structure in their work.
Another reason why you might be asked to write a poem analysis essay is that you wish to argue about something connected with poetry such as whether there are gender differences between poetry written by men or women and what these differences are.
You must also take care when writing a poem analysis essay because you could be writing about any type of verse from sonnets (14 lines) through haikus (3 lines) to limericks (5 lines). Your topic might, for example, be a piece of free verse that is written in blank verse.
You might also need to write about how an author uses poetic techniques such as alliteration or metaphor in their work. If you do this then you will have to study and understand these key concepts. You should also consider the tone used by the poet in their poem because it can tell you a lot about what they are trying to achieve through their writing.
It is vitally important that when you write your essay, you include plenty of examples from the poetry itself of what you are discussing so that your essay makes more sense to your reader. You also have to remember that when you write about poetry, you should go into as much detail as is necessary in order to analyse the work effectively.
Poem analysis essays need to be well-researched so if you are looking for free information online regarding a particular poem you are studying and its author, then make sure what you find has been written by an authoritative source such as a University or College website.
It is also vitally important that before writing your essay or even starting any research on it that you read the poem first several times over. This will help ensure your essay conveys all of the relevant details clearly and accurately.
How to start a poetry analysis paper
A poetry analysis paper is about the literary form and aesthetic qualities of a poem. It also entails an interpretation of the poet’s attitude, thoughts, or emotions based on the text. In addition to a comprehensive analysis, you may also include your own response to the poem. In any case, a poetry analysis essay is centered on the poem alone.
Poetry analysis essays vary in length depending on the specific assignment and your writing style. You may want to follow some suggestions in order to make your paper more organized and easier to write.
First, pick out all of the important information from the poem you are analyzing. This will help you structure your paragraphs clearly and logically as you compose your paper’s body–essentially creating an outline which will then guide your overall writing. Once you have this basic framework built, fill it in with details about how the poet conveys his/her message by making use of different literary devices like rhyme scheme, metaphor, etc., using examples from the text itself as needed. When you are done, you will have a complete and authentic poetry analysis essay.
There’s no definite formula for writing a winning poetry analysis essay. You can create an original piece of work as long as you follow your teacher’s guidelines and include the needed information he/she provided (if any). As this is a subjective assignment, it may be challenging to find specific writing tips that apply to every student.
However, given below are some general pointers that should help:
First, read the poem several times over to get familiar with it before proceeding with your research. Try to relate what you understand about the poetic form with its overall meaning (also try to remember the moods or emotions conveyed by the poem while doing this). This will help you gain a better understanding of the whole.
Once you’ve read it enough times, try to understand the perspective and point-of-view of the poet by viewing it from different angles. Then look into some background information about the poem such as its publication history and any criticisms or reviews written about it. This will give you an idea of what readers have felt while reading that particular piece.
Then make a list of all literary devices used inside the poem (mainly ones which can help reveal the author’s message). Discuss why they are chosen; also include general observations about how these tools were utilized strategically within the text in order to represent certain meanings or ideas effectively.
You should also look at other poems in this collection to get more specific ideas on how the poet writes. Poets may also belong to a specific poetic movement or school of thought and you should make brief comments on that as well.
You can also give your own thoughts about the poem if you like, however, it is not required in order for you to get an excellent grade. You may ask yourself questions like: How does this make me feel? Or what emotions do I associate with this text? Your responses will definitely come from your heart and are most likely very genuine (which will help readers relate with your analysis better).
In any case, remember that the final decision remains exclusively with your instructor when he/she evaluates and grades your essay based on his/her own standards and preferences. If you follow the above guidelines, you will get a good grade without having to worry too much.
You should also make sure that you cite any sources from where you found these background details by including notations at the end of your paper. It is important to credit them since they helped you expand your understanding while writing this analysis.
If you are still struggling with the topic sentence and thesis statement, then look for examples in other student essays which may help give you some ideas on how to present a well-structured paper that follows an ideal format (i.e., deciding whether or not to use quotes is one such decision that can be easier with prior knowledge). Once again, depending on what type of paper you have been asked to write will help your understanding greatly.
With the right tools and enough experience, you will be able to write excellent poetry analysis essays on your own in no time at all. Remember that it is better if you understand what your instructor expects before writing. If not, check out this example of a good poetry analysis essay for some ideas: poem analysis essay sample .
Good luck with your essay! Are there any specific problems or questions that you would like to ask? Post your task now for help now!
Poem analysis essay structure
A poem analysis essay should have an introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction includes the poet, title of poem, and why it is significant to you or society. The body should include a summary of the poem with specific examples that show how it relates to your thesis statement (a claim about what you will prove by analyzing the poem). In addition, there should be evidence from the text that supports this claim. The final paragraph of the essay should talk about how this body evidence supports your thesis as well as restate what your thesis was in order to finish off on a strong closing claim.
Here is an example on how to structure a poem analysis essay :
Sample Poem Analysis Essay Outline: “Autumnal Equinox” By Robert Frost
Robert Frost was born in 1874 and died 1961. He was an American poet. The poem “Autumnal Equinox” describes the beauty of man and nature interacting with each other in perfect harmony.
Summary: The poem tells a story about two men walking down a road on their way to work. They encounter two women who are doing the same thing. One woman is dressed modestly, carrying her lunch basket. The other one is more provocative, wearing shorts and flirting with the men as they walk by her. The first man (with whom you identify) admires then ignores the sensuous looker because he has Mary, his wife at home to love him honestly for himself; while the second man lusts after her because he is married to a woman who does not appreciate him for who he is. The first man then imagines what it would be like if people were able to see through the characters they present and bestow upon them the love that they deserve.”
Evidence: When you meet a stranger/person you may give your true self or a façade of yourself. You may also have an effect on other people through your personality, body language and style. This poem illustrates the different types of love humans can experience by showing two men encounter two women dressed differently on their way to work in nature, where we are meant to feel whole without pretense: “And each kept wholly to himself” (lines 13-14). One man admires her sensuous look, while the other ignores her all together. Then you are invited to imagine what it would be like if we could see through the characters that people present and discover who they truly are in order to grant them love: “But as he drew her near/ To touch his arm she went” (lines 17-18).
Robert Frost is excellent at describing how people interact with each other without pretense because nature is where we feel whole. You could not tell by looking at this woman or man that she was mean or generous, a loving person or one seeking pleasure; but when either of them came close enough for someone else to touch their arms, you discovered who they were and gave them true love. In conclusion, people need to look at each other past the exteriors and see who they are on the inside before judging others.
Poem analysis essay format / outline
Format for poem analysis essay should include:
- Introduction: background information on the poem
- Body / Analysis of poem: discuss the layout and style of writing (analyze poetic devices, imagery, etc.) This is where you get down to actual criticism. This can be a minimum of one page. An essay about one page long with no additional examples cited supporting your claims is fine.
- Conclusion : To conclude a poem analysis essay, the following may be helpful: Summarize your critical findings and discuss how you interpret the poet’s intended meaning and to whom it is directed.
- Works Cited / Reference Page (At least two sources must be cited.) Use a citation style specific to your discipline when citing sources in an essay.
Read: how to structure an essay .
Summary of poem analysis essay format:
The introduction is only one paragraph, but, to gain credit for an introductory paragraph, provide background information on the topic and specific title of work being studied. The important thing about this section is that it sets up the rest of the paper by explaining why someone would want to study the topic and what you hope to show by writing your paper.
The meat of the essay is in its body, which should be a minimum of one page. Each paragraph should have some kind of transition sentence or phrase at the beginning so that it is clear how each new aspect will relate to previous information. One of the most common mistakes made when writing papers is not tying together all parts with transitions between paragraphs and sentences; don’t make this mistake!
Your conclusion can summarize what was accomplished in the essay or further explore ideas presented throughout the piece. If you use an outside source for research, cite it using a proper citation style.
In short, poem analysis essays are longer than opinion papers because they require greater research and depth as to content. They include a lot of information on the poet, work being analyzed and your understanding of said content.
Poem analysis essay outline example:
Introduction (Background Information) : “The Great Depression” by John Steinbeck is an autobiographical account of the author’s experiences during The Great Depression which occurred from 1929 to 1939 in the United States. An estimated 33 million Americans were unemployed during that period due to low demand for goods and services which greatly hurt many families financially. This event caused many people to be homeless or live below subsistence level conditions until World War II began pulling the nation out of its economic slump with military spending placing many people back in jobs earning high wages and purchasing new consumer goods like cars, electric appliances even though many were just barely scraping by.
Body (In-depth Analysis):
The writer’s style is clear and simple which allows the reader to focus on the content of the poem rather than trying to understand complex vocabulary or difficult sentence structure.
Description: To describe an event, place or person, it is helpful to start with details that are specific and concrete like colors, shapes, sizes.
It is also important to include comparisons (e.g., larger than a pencil) that help fully envision what you are describing; this draws in your audience so they can see for themselves what you are talking about instead of having to make it up in their imagination or skim over the passage while trying to guess what it might be. Imagery:
Imagery is when words suggest sensory information like smells, tastes and sights. The use of “yellow” to describe a sunrise implies that the sun appears yellow when it first rises in the morning sky.
In other poems (like “Ode on a Grecian Urn”), imagery serves another purpose by introducing symbolism which is when objects refer to ideas beyond their physical properties (e.g., the urn refers not only to a pot for holding ashes but also to an idea of love being untouchable).
Conclusion: Steinbeck’s true personality comes out in this poem as he recounts his own experiences with poverty and how much they affect many people’s lives. It shows how valuable one event can be even when it triggers a chain reaction to other events that have no purpose other than causing further disaster.
Poetry Analysis Essay Example
This is a sample poem analysis essay. The poem in question here is “Lost” by Alexander Pope. This essay was submitted as a sample by a student after using Tutlance to lean how to structure a poem analysis essay from our tutors. You can use this sample to write
The poem, “Lost” by Alexander Pope, tells the story about a man who is searching for his lost love: “Whilst she from Him still hears some faithful fame/ And thousand kisses to her name addressed…he grows old alone.” (Pope 8). He does not know where she went and what happened to her. In this piece of literature, he describes how much he misses his love. Aside from that, Pope tells us something else. He put aside his love for his friend and he chose to be faithful to that woman: “And thousand kisses to her name addressed.” The poet wants us to understand how much he loves the girl; it is very true of a man who had loved his mate. Although he misses the love of his life, he feels lonely without her: “…when thou art gone where none but gossips come…” (Pope 16). He believes that she will never come back; it is impossible for them to meet again because she has left him too long ago. He remembers how they first met each other until here in this place, but then everything was lost when she disappeared. This hidden meaning reveals itself as we read further in the poem: “…and I feel thy want reviving my pains as much as ever.” (Pope 19). He thinks that if she is in the place where he or any person cannot see her, there will be no feelings of love between them.
In this poem, Pope uses several literary devices used to achieve his purpose; these devices are the metaphor, repetition and rhyme scheme. When she left him, it was like losing a part of himself. In the first two stanzas of this poem, Pope describes how lonely he felt without her. He explains that when he goes out with friends, they do not understand what happened to him but his heart: “But then your absence makes me all too known/ How steep that hill with steps how high you drawn!”(Pope 10-11). The poet is saying that when she left him, it was like climbing the highest mountain in the world. Pope wants us to understand how much he loves her. He uses these images of mountains and steps “to describe how difficult it is to be apart from his love.”
In this poem, Alexander Pope uses repetition three times because it helps create a rhythm and rhyme scheme. In the first stanza, he repeats an image: “…my dull eyes with wandering to and fro…” (Pope 1). Then he repeats what he said before: “…and make delays as lovers do…”(Pope 2) The last time Pope repeats words are when we read the last two lines of each stanzas: “…come live with me and be my love… …let us make haste to live…” (Pope 3-4). The poet makes no change when he repeats this twice.
“…when she from Him still hears some faithful fame/ And thousand kisses to her name addressed.” (Pope 8)
The last quotation of this poem is the most important one because it tells how much Pope loves his beloved: “…when thou art gone where none but gossips come…”(Pope 16). In this line, Pope uses onomatopoeia for several times. He describes that she has disappeared a long time ago, but she hasn’t lost someone who really loves her so deeply inside of him; it is like he knows what happened to her just by intuition: “…But gossips all my faith would have betrayed…”(Pope 16). Even though he could not see her, Pope is still faithful to his love.
This poem tells us that we should value and appreciate the things around us because they are gone forever if we do not do anything about it. Since you’ve read this article, you probably understand that in life there will come a time when we lose something or someone very important to ourselves; I was sure that this topic must be important for everybody no matter who you are or where you come from: “Lose something every day… Accept the flusteration.” (Stevens). This piece of literature can teach us how to face all problems in our lives. We will find solutions to all problems as long as we focus our minds and hearts on it.
I also would like to recommend you to read the other works of Pope; he is an amazing writer, so his work is very interesting for any reader. It was one of my favourite poets, and I’m sure that after reading this article not only you but others will love him too.
Poetry Analysis Essay Example 2: Analysis of “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
Poetry is a form of literature that uses language in a creative and expressive way to convey emotions, ideas, and images. It is a powerful tool that has the ability to capture the essence of human experiences and communicate them to others. In this essay, we will analyze the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, exploring its themes, symbols, and poetic devices.
“The Road Not Taken” is a poem that explores the theme of choices and their consequences. The speaker is faced with a fork in the road and must decide which path to take. He reflects on the fact that both paths look equally appealing and that he can only choose one. He ultimately chooses the road “less traveled by” and remarks that this choice has made all the difference in his life.
The poem is full of symbols that reinforce its central theme. The two roads represent the choices we make in life, while the “yellow wood” symbolizes the uncertainty and ambiguity that often accompany such choices. The speaker’s decision to take the road “less traveled by” represents his willingness to take risks and make unconventional choices, which sets him apart from others who choose to follow the crowd.
The poem also makes use of several poetic devices. Frost uses repetition to emphasize the importance of the speaker’s choice, as seen in the repetition of the phrase “I took the one less traveled by” in the final stanza. He also employs imagery to paint a vivid picture of the speaker’s surroundings, such as the “yellow wood” and the “bent in the undergrowth.”
Furthermore, Frost’s use of rhyme and meter creates a musical quality to the poem that adds to its emotional impact. The use of iambic tetrameter, where each line has four stressed syllables, creates a rhythm that is both steady and flowing, while the rhyme scheme (ABAAB) provides a sense of closure to each stanza.
In conclusion, “The Road Not Taken” is a thought-provoking poem that explores the theme of choices and their consequences. Through its use of symbols, poetic devices, and powerful imagery, the poem encourages us to think about the choices we make in our own lives and the impact they can have on our future. It reminds us that sometimes the path less traveled can lead to unexpected and rewarding outcomes.
How to write a poem evaluation essay
In a poem evaluation essay, you will be offering a critical analysis of the artwork (usually a poem) you are evaluating. You will also be revealing your opinion on this art form, provide an explanation for your conclusion and suggest what else can be done to improve upon it.
Critical analysis is a literary technique that involves the examination and evaluation of an artwork.
In a poem (or any form of art) evaluation essay, you are expected to analyze the qualities of various aspects or elements within the work of art. The problem with writing such an essay is that it may be quite difficult to decide exactly where to begin analyzing the work.
You will need to do some research on your own before beginning your essay and draft out an outline for your essay . Once you have done this, try working on each section individually before adding them all together into one cohesive piece.
How to structure a poetry analysis essay?
This is a difficult question, because poetry can be written in many different ways. However, I’ll share some ideas that might work.
First, you could discuss the use of language in the poem and how it shapes meaning. You could talk about the tone of the poem, and how it changes over time. When discussing structure you might consider: where the poem moves from one idea to another (how does a transition happen?), how much time passes or changes between two sections of a poem, or what causes an action to start? You could also talk about how a particular technique shapes meaning in a poem–for example, when line length affects meaning. This would be relevant for poems with fixed line lengths (like haiku) but might not apply to free verse. Another technique to discuss would be rhyme–both the kinds of rhyming used in a poem (and why it’s chosen) and how meaning is affected by using different types of rhymes.
As for style, this could take many forms as well. For instance, you might consider: what kind of language or diction is the poem written in? How are these words arranged on the page, and how does that affect meaning? To examine syntax, you might look at how lines are connected–how do they flow together when read aloud? Is there repetition within a section or between sections; what causes one part to end and another part to begin? You could also consider imagery–what images are presented and how they might affect meaning.
All of these elements are important to poetry, and this is just a short list I’ve compiled. For more ideas you could look at this list of poetic terms from a university level coursework help (though it focuses on poems in English).
These are some useful terms to know when writing a poem analysis essay: form, structure, style, tone, imagery, syntax and diction. You should also keep in mind that there’s no strict definition for what a poem “is”–for example, some genres break rules or mix together different kinds of language. This means that you can talk about why poets would make such choices even if the poem isn’t strictly following traditional expectations.
As far as sources go, you might look at the poems themselves. There’s also a wide variety of academic sources about poetry (you could search for them using keywords like “poetry analysis” to find more). It might be helpful to read through some examples of poem analysis, as they’ll give you practice on how to structure your own essay. You should always use credible sources. If you’ve found a useful book or article, it will probably have a Works Cited in its back matter which lists where the author got her information from–and this is an important part of an academic paper.
You can often find these online by searching for a title and author; if not, the library can help you locate one that matches.
Poem Analysis Essay Writing help
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- How to write a literary analysis essay | A step-by-step guide
How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay | A Step-by-Step Guide
Published on January 30, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 14, 2023.
Literary analysis means closely studying a text, interpreting its meanings, and exploring why the author made certain choices. It can be applied to novels, short stories, plays, poems, or any other form of literary writing.
A literary analysis essay is not a rhetorical analysis , nor is it just a summary of the plot or a book review. Instead, it is a type of argumentative essay where you need to analyze elements such as the language, perspective, and structure of the text, and explain how the author uses literary devices to create effects and convey ideas.
Before beginning a literary analysis essay, it’s essential to carefully read the text and c ome up with a thesis statement to keep your essay focused. As you write, follow the standard structure of an academic essay :
- An introduction that tells the reader what your essay will focus on.
- A main body, divided into paragraphs , that builds an argument using evidence from the text.
- A conclusion that clearly states the main point that you have shown with your analysis.
Table of contents
Step 1: reading the text and identifying literary devices, step 2: coming up with a thesis, step 3: writing a title and introduction, step 4: writing the body of the essay, step 5: writing a conclusion, other interesting articles.
The first step is to carefully read the text(s) and take initial notes. As you read, pay attention to the things that are most intriguing, surprising, or even confusing in the writing—these are things you can dig into in your analysis.
Your goal in literary analysis is not simply to explain the events described in the text, but to analyze the writing itself and discuss how the text works on a deeper level. Primarily, you’re looking out for literary devices —textual elements that writers use to convey meaning and create effects. If you’re comparing and contrasting multiple texts, you can also look for connections between different texts.
To get started with your analysis, there are several key areas that you can focus on. As you analyze each aspect of the text, try to think about how they all relate to each other. You can use highlights or notes to keep track of important passages and quotes.
Consider what style of language the author uses. Are the sentences short and simple or more complex and poetic?
What word choices stand out as interesting or unusual? Are words used figuratively to mean something other than their literal definition? Figurative language includes things like metaphor (e.g. “her eyes were oceans”) and simile (e.g. “her eyes were like oceans”).
Also keep an eye out for imagery in the text—recurring images that create a certain atmosphere or symbolize something important. Remember that language is used in literary texts to say more than it means on the surface.
- Who is telling the story?
- How are they telling it?
Is it a first-person narrator (“I”) who is personally involved in the story, or a third-person narrator who tells us about the characters from a distance?
Consider the narrator’s perspective . Is the narrator omniscient (where they know everything about all the characters and events), or do they only have partial knowledge? Are they an unreliable narrator who we are not supposed to take at face value? Authors often hint that their narrator might be giving us a distorted or dishonest version of events.
The tone of the text is also worth considering. Is the story intended to be comic, tragic, or something else? Are usually serious topics treated as funny, or vice versa ? Is the story realistic or fantastical (or somewhere in between)?
Consider how the text is structured, and how the structure relates to the story being told.
- Novels are often divided into chapters and parts.
- Poems are divided into lines, stanzas, and sometime cantos.
- Plays are divided into scenes and acts.
Think about why the author chose to divide the different parts of the text in the way they did.
There are also less formal structural elements to take into account. Does the story unfold in chronological order, or does it jump back and forth in time? Does it begin in medias res —in the middle of the action? Does the plot advance towards a clearly defined climax?
With poetry, consider how the rhyme and meter shape your understanding of the text and your impression of the tone. Try reading the poem aloud to get a sense of this.
In a play, you might consider how relationships between characters are built up through different scenes, and how the setting relates to the action. Watch out for dramatic irony , where the audience knows some detail that the characters don’t, creating a double meaning in their words, thoughts, or actions.
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Your thesis in a literary analysis essay is the point you want to make about the text. It’s the core argument that gives your essay direction and prevents it from just being a collection of random observations about a text.
If you’re given a prompt for your essay, your thesis must answer or relate to the prompt. For example:
Essay question example
Is Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” a religious parable?
Your thesis statement should be an answer to this question—not a simple yes or no, but a statement of why this is or isn’t the case:
Thesis statement example
Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” is not a religious parable, but a story about bureaucratic alienation.
Sometimes you’ll be given freedom to choose your own topic; in this case, you’ll have to come up with an original thesis. Consider what stood out to you in the text; ask yourself questions about the elements that interested you, and consider how you might answer them.
Your thesis should be something arguable—that is, something that you think is true about the text, but which is not a simple matter of fact. It must be complex enough to develop through evidence and arguments across the course of your essay.
Say you’re analyzing the novel Frankenstein . You could start by asking yourself:
Your initial answer might be a surface-level description:
The character Frankenstein is portrayed negatively in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein .
However, this statement is too simple to be an interesting thesis. After reading the text and analyzing its narrative voice and structure, you can develop the answer into a more nuanced and arguable thesis statement:
Mary Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.
Remember that you can revise your thesis statement throughout the writing process , so it doesn’t need to be perfectly formulated at this stage. The aim is to keep you focused as you analyze the text.
Finding textual evidence
To support your thesis statement, your essay will build an argument using textual evidence —specific parts of the text that demonstrate your point. This evidence is quoted and analyzed throughout your essay to explain your argument to the reader.
It can be useful to comb through the text in search of relevant quotations before you start writing. You might not end up using everything you find, and you may have to return to the text for more evidence as you write, but collecting textual evidence from the beginning will help you to structure your arguments and assess whether they’re convincing.
To start your literary analysis paper, you’ll need two things: a good title, and an introduction.
Your title should clearly indicate what your analysis will focus on. It usually contains the name of the author and text(s) you’re analyzing. Keep it as concise and engaging as possible.
A common approach to the title is to use a relevant quote from the text, followed by a colon and then the rest of your title.
If you struggle to come up with a good title at first, don’t worry—this will be easier once you’ve begun writing the essay and have a better sense of your arguments.
“Fearful symmetry” : The violence of creation in William Blake’s “The Tyger”
The essay introduction provides a quick overview of where your argument is going. It should include your thesis statement and a summary of the essay’s structure.
A typical structure for an introduction is to begin with a general statement about the text and author, using this to lead into your thesis statement. You might refer to a commonly held idea about the text and show how your thesis will contradict it, or zoom in on a particular device you intend to focus on.
Then you can end with a brief indication of what’s coming up in the main body of the essay. This is called signposting. It will be more elaborate in longer essays, but in a short five-paragraph essay structure, it shouldn’t be more than one sentence.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.
Some students prefer to write the introduction later in the process, and it’s not a bad idea. After all, you’ll have a clearer idea of the overall shape of your arguments once you’ve begun writing them!
If you do write the introduction first, you should still return to it later to make sure it lines up with what you ended up writing, and edit as necessary.
The body of your essay is everything between the introduction and conclusion. It contains your arguments and the textual evidence that supports them.
A typical structure for a high school literary analysis essay consists of five paragraphs : the three paragraphs of the body, plus the introduction and conclusion.
Each paragraph in the main body should focus on one topic. In the five-paragraph model, try to divide your argument into three main areas of analysis, all linked to your thesis. Don’t try to include everything you can think of to say about the text—only analysis that drives your argument.
In longer essays, the same principle applies on a broader scale. For example, you might have two or three sections in your main body, each with multiple paragraphs. Within these sections, you still want to begin new paragraphs at logical moments—a turn in the argument or the introduction of a new idea.
Robert’s first encounter with Gil-Martin suggests something of his sinister power. Robert feels “a sort of invisible power that drew me towards him.” He identifies the moment of their meeting as “the beginning of a series of adventures which has puzzled myself, and will puzzle the world when I am no more in it” (p. 89). Gil-Martin’s “invisible power” seems to be at work even at this distance from the moment described; before continuing the story, Robert feels compelled to anticipate at length what readers will make of his narrative after his approaching death. With this interjection, Hogg emphasizes the fatal influence Gil-Martin exercises from his first appearance.
To keep your points focused, it’s important to use a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph.
A good topic sentence allows a reader to see at a glance what the paragraph is about. It can introduce a new line of argument and connect or contrast it with the previous paragraph. Transition words like “however” or “moreover” are useful for creating smooth transitions:
… The story’s focus, therefore, is not upon the divine revelation that may be waiting beyond the door, but upon the mundane process of aging undergone by the man as he waits.
Nevertheless, the “radiance” that appears to stream from the door is typically treated as religious symbolism.
This topic sentence signals that the paragraph will address the question of religious symbolism, while the linking word “nevertheless” points out a contrast with the previous paragraph’s conclusion.
Using textual evidence
A key part of literary analysis is backing up your arguments with relevant evidence from the text. This involves introducing quotes from the text and explaining their significance to your point.
It’s important to contextualize quotes and explain why you’re using them; they should be properly introduced and analyzed, not treated as self-explanatory:
It isn’t always necessary to use a quote. Quoting is useful when you’re discussing the author’s language, but sometimes you’ll have to refer to plot points or structural elements that can’t be captured in a short quote.
In these cases, it’s more appropriate to paraphrase or summarize parts of the text—that is, to describe the relevant part in your own words:
The conclusion of your analysis shouldn’t introduce any new quotations or arguments. Instead, it’s about wrapping up the essay. Here, you summarize your key points and try to emphasize their significance to the reader.
A good way to approach this is to briefly summarize your key arguments, and then stress the conclusion they’ve led you to, highlighting the new perspective your thesis provides on the text as a whole:
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By tracing the depiction of Frankenstein through the novel’s three volumes, I have demonstrated how the narrative structure shifts our perception of the character. While the Frankenstein of the first volume is depicted as having innocent intentions, the second and third volumes—first in the creature’s accusatory voice, and then in his own voice—increasingly undermine him, causing him to appear alternately ridiculous and vindictive. Far from the one-dimensional villain he is often taken to be, the character of Frankenstein is compelling because of the dynamic narrative frame in which he is placed. In this frame, Frankenstein’s narrative self-presentation responds to the images of him we see from others’ perspectives. This conclusion sheds new light on the novel, foregrounding Shelley’s unique layering of narrative perspectives and its importance for the depiction of character.
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Body paragraphs, write poetry: what is a verse paragraph and how to write a poetry essay.
A poem analysis essay evaluates a poem in a literary analysis. It analyzes the words, sounds, feelings and topics that the poet uses in the poem. A poetry analysis essay should include analysis of the topic, message, rhythm and word choice. It should have both an introduction and a conclusion, similar to normal essay writing or research paper.
Introduce your poem with an introductory paragraph that includes your thesis statement in the topic sentence. Write the title of the poem and its author. Paraphrase the poem’s contents without going too in depth. A brief summary on Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven," for example, would state that the speaker of the poem is longing for his lost love and becomes beguiled by a raven that speaks only one word, "nevermore."
Write about the poetic language and imagery. Does the poet use precise and vivid vocabulary to create detailed images? What literary devices are used to enhance meanings? Answer these questions by explaining and analyzing specific examples from the poem. Tell how the poet creates those images. A good example of this would be the poetry essay found at Bookstove.com . The poetry essay analyzes Poe's use of simile and metaphor in "The Raven."
Write about sound and sense. Does the poet use rhythm and meter to create meaningful sounds in the poem or is it free verse? Does the poet use iambic pentameter or alliteration? Which word sounds does the poet use to create pictures? Does the poet use figurative language? Answer these questions by explaining in your poetry essay how the poet’s choice of words creates meaningful sound. For example, a poetry essay on Poe's "Raven" would show how the ABCBBB rhyme scheme helps to create a deeper sense of melancholy.
Write about emotion and feeling. Is the poet creating a feeling or mood? Does the poem evoke an emotional response? Do they use personification in their writing process or any figures of speech? Answer these questions in your poetry essay by explaining what kind of response the poet is trying to evoke in his audience through a particular poem. A poetry essay on "The Raven" would describe how the use of melancholy word choices and repetition, coupled with the creepy raven and mourning for the lost Lenore, create a deep sense of sadness and despair for the reader.
Write a conclusion to your poetry essay. Explain the author’s intent, point of view, writing style, and poetic techniques with the poem and whether or not he or she achieved that goal. Support your opinion with details from the poem. Also, do some research on background information. Is there a cultural context or historical context the poet is writing from? This could give the reader a better understanding of the poem.
Make sure to use quotation marks when quoting lines of poetry
You can use a writing service to check your spelling and grammar
Home / Essay Samples / Literature / Literary Genres / Poetry
Poetry Essay Examples
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Poetry (from the Greek poiesis, "making"), is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language − such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre − to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, a prosaic ostensible meaning.
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