analysing poetry

analysing poetry

Section 2 – Analysing Poetry
How to read a poem
1) Read once looking for meaning– what is the writer/speaker of the poem saying? Why did the poet write this poem? Can the poem be taken literally or does it rely on satire/irony/symbolism?
2) Who is speaking and to whom?
3) Work out how the writer shows his/her intention as well as telling it: How does the shape of the writing echo its sense? How do the sounds of the words echo their meaning? Does the length of the lines/punctuation evoke a specific mood? How does the rhythm/pace change the mood of the poem?
4) Which poetic techniques are used? What is their potential effect on the reader?
5) Why did the writer write the poem? What do you think they want you as a reader to think or feel as a result of reading or listening to their poem?
Other things to consider:
Structure of the text and the effects of the structure e.g. Sonnet, ode, ballad, stanzaic, blank verse, free verse
Ideas, themes of the poem – love? War? Religion? Relationships?
Tone: is the poem – celebratory? Mournful? Playful? Ironic?

Poetry Analysis
All poetry is created through language so try to integrate language points into your paragraphs on tone, imagery and structure:

The poets use language choices to shape the reader’s interpretations of the tone of the poem. In poem ‘a’ the poet creates a tone of…in order to develop the idea…
Language features to analyse:
Diction/lexis (word choice) – adjectives and verbs used to create a particular emotion in the poem.
Alliteration – i.e. Euphonic (pleasant) or cacophonic (unpleasant) sounds created
Metre / rhythm of words chosen – is it aggressive, forceful or angry or fluid and positive?

The poets use figurative language to further enhance the ideas of … in their poems. In poem ‘a’ the poet creates imagery of…in order to…
Language features to analyse:
Simile/metaphor/personification/synaesthesia/adjectives/adverbs/verbs/use of senses.


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