Our Poetry Resource Guide is your one-stop-shop for studying poetry. We will show you how to read poetry, explain the function of different poetic techniques and how to analyse them, and how to discuss poems as a whole.
Many student’s dislike studying poetry because they think it’s difficult to understand. However, studying poetry is very simple once you know how to approach it! Our Beginner’s Guide to Poetry will show you how all the tips and tricks to overcome these issues!
The Beginner’s Guide to Poetry will guide you through everything you need to know to ace poetry analysis. We go through how to read poetry, different poetic techniques and how to analyse them, and how to analyse poetry as a whole.
In many cases, students struggle with poetry because they:
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How to poetry – Step-by-Step guide
We know reading poetry can be quite tricky. So, we broke down the process into actionable steps to help you better understand poetry.
Too often, students read the poem in their head and ignore poetic signals. This is ineffective because they are reading the poem as a prose text, instead of a poem.
Poetry is like music. You have to feel the rhythm and flow.
Instead, you have to read the whole poem slowly, and out loud. Pause at punctuation marks.
Remember, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t fully understand the poem. This step is all about understanding the holistic picture, not the minute details.
So, in this reading, try to get a feel of the:
This time, we are trying to understand what the poem is talking about.
Remember, as you are reading the poem again, you must take notes of anything that stands out to you.
Does it sound too intimidating? Don’t worry. We broke down the process into smaller steps for you:
a. Read stanza by stanza
Try to get a feel of what each stanza is saying.
b. Read line by line:
After you read a stanza, you need to focus on each individual line in the stanza. This step is all about figuring out what each line is saying.
So, to do this, you need to:
Now, do the same thing for all the stanzas! Don’t forget to highlight and annotate your poems as you go.
Titles aren’t randomly picked and thrown onto the poem as an afterthought.
Titles are carefully chosen by the poet to represent the poem.
So, think about what the title tells you about the poem and how it adds meaning. To do this, ask yourself a few questions.
Does the title:
Many students overlook the speaker of the poem because they think it is unimportant.
However, knowing who the speaker is and who they are speaking to is crucial to understanding the purpose and meaning of the poem.
So, ask yourself:
The form and structure of the poem is what carries and develops an idea throughout a poem.
Poets have to carefully choose the structure to shape their ideas, and consequently their message.
Minute changes to the structure can influence how the audience responds to the poem. This is why it’s so important that you don’t overlook this step.
So, here are some question to help you figure out the form and structure:
Once you figure this out, you need to determine how these elements influence how we interpret the ideas.
Now that we’ve analysed the structure and form of the poem, it is time to dig a little deeper and find the meaning of the poem.
To do this, you need to firstly identify strong and important images in the poem. These could be visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory. If you want to learn more about imagery, check out our Literary Techniques: Imagery article.
Then, find figurative techniques like symbolism, motifs, or metaphors. These techniques will help you analyse the poem later and build your own perspective and interpretation of the poem.
Once, you’ve done this, it is time to figure out how these elements create a mood or atmosphere. To do this, you must:
Now, it is time to gather all the above elements and try to find the meaning behind them.
To do this, you must:
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