Poetry analysis is one of the main areas you will face when writing literary assignments. But poems, unlike other literary assignments, can be more challenging due to their greater need for strong analytical skills. This complexity demands that you get necessary instructions before tackling such an assignment. That is why this article will enlighten you through these principles on how to write an essay on a poem.
What is a poetry analysis essay?
But before we delve into the details of how to write a poem analysis, it is necessary to understand what a poetry analysis essay is. A poetry analysis is a process that reviews different dimensions that constitute a poem’s structure, function, and artistry.
You need a keen analytical instinct to look fully into the various components of the poem so you can make an accurate interpretation. This way, you can accurately come up with your accurate arguments regarding those interpretations. With accurate arguments in place, you can also develop a thesis that will now give you a clear position that will determine the direction of your analysis—your thesis.
In your analysis, you will essentially come up with the following:
- The prevailing patterns evident in the poem
- The flow of the main ideas of the poem
- The way the various parts of the poem relate to each other
- The unique style or styles the poet uses to convey their ideas and theme
How to write a poetry analysis essay
With a clear understanding of what a poetry analysis essay is, you can now go on and write your poem analysis. You need to do the following to successfully analyze your poem.
- Read the poem
Reading and rereading the poem is the only way to get the material you are going to present in your analysis. Here, you don’t just need to read through, but also “read into” the poem to extract every single idea that may not be too obvious by just reading through the poem. This way, you will need to read the poem with questions in your mind so that you can get the answers.
You should also read the poem with a notebook and pen so you can take note of all the ideas that are emerging as you read into it. You will need to note down the following three things as they emerge: feelings and emotions; observations and; questions. You also need to arm yourself with a lexicon so you don’t miss out on any idea due to your lack of understanding the vocabulary the poet used.
- Determine the poem’s theme
After reading into the poem, you now need to determine the poem essay’s theme. You now need to look through the ideas that you have come across so that you can know how to develop a suitable theme for the poem. At this level, you should know who spoke what in the poem, when they spoke, where they said, and the context of what they said.
The poet’s style
After coming up with the subject of the poem, you can move on to the poet’s writing style. The reason why this component is vital is that it will help you to find the most appropriate ways to defend your thesis and all the other arguments revolving around it.
You should note every dimension of the style including all the figures of speech they have used such as metaphors and other symbols. As you conclude this part, you should tell your readers what the poem is all about, that is, what every happening in the poem points to—not what happened or is happening.
After establishing the above, you can now draft a coherent thesis. You need to organize your essay around the position that your thesis has taken on the poem.
After establishing your poem’s theme and thesis, you need to create a poem outline. Creating an outline will assist you in navigating through the entire analysis in a logically and coherently flowing manner. The outline will assume the following structure:
Your poetry analysis will be a summary of around three or four sentences. This section needs to give the reader some initial information regarding what the poem is all about and when it was written. It should also contain the title and the writer of the poem you are analyzing. Also, include your thesis in the last sentence of the paragraph.
The body of your analysis has to furnish the reader with the details that amplify and complete the skeleton you presented to them in the form of an introduction. The paragraphs in this section should show the readers the evidence and reasons for your chosen thesis.
When you introduce each paragraph, open it with a topic sentence. This form of introduction acts as a signpost that shows the reader what the paragraph is all about. You then need to use the following sentences to build up on it. Afterwards, you will have to wrap it up with a closing sentence that shows the significance of that paragraph.
The conclusion of your work is the last part of your literary analysis outline. This section needs to rephrase your thesis, show how you have defended it, and the significance of your whole analysis.
How to choose topics
When choosing a topic for a poetry analysis essay, use the following criteria:
- The topic should explore, and not summarize, your discussion
- It should fit within your scope of interest so as to motivate your writing
- Be broad enough to research and write about
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