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Tips on How to Write a Successful Poetry Analysis Essay

Poetry Analysis Essay

I guess, if you are studying literature, you may frequently get the assignment to submit a poetry analysis essay. From this point on, you might bombard yourself with questions such as: “Where should I start?”, “Which structure should I follow?”, “What exactly should I analyze?”, etc. So, in this article, you will get to know the main principles of writing a poetry analysis essay.

Part 1. What is a poetry analysis essay like?

Every poet has his/ her own peculiar style of writing. As a rule, there are certain specific characteristics inherent only in the style of your chosen author. Therefore, before writing your analysis essay, you have to reveal which concepts or theories the poet had on his/ her mind when writing the poem.
Poetry analysis as such comprises analyzing numerous structural, functional, and artistic constituents that compose a poem as a unit. Apart from merely indicating which literary devices the author implements in the poem, you also have to present the effect they produce in the poem.

Part 2. Starting the pre-writing stage of poetry analysis

Evidently, before analyzing the assigned or chosen poem, you have to read it attentively. Get the main message or the general topic of the poem – what is it about? What makes you think so? Actually, it is not enough to read the poem one time only – it is far better to reread certain lines a few times in order to grasp the author’s message and find out the literary devices he/she uses and their purpose. Afterwards, start looking deeper: does the poem have a rhyme/rhythm? Are there any peculiar techniques that the writer uses?

Use the following definitions to determine which scheme your poem fits into:

1. Sonnet (a poem containing 14 lines and written in iambic pentameter).

2. Limerick (a five-line stanza, where the 1st, the 2nd, and the 5th rhyme with one another and have three feet of three syllables; the 3rd line is rhyming with the 4th one, but they have two feet of three syllables).
3. Haiku (a poem inherent in the Japanese poetry with three lines and 17 syllables; 5-7-5 syllable count).

4. Lyric (a short poem, which is not narrative, where there is one speaker, who expresses his/ her inner state and emotions using a specific rhythm).

5. Ode (contains ten stanzas that rhyme according to the principle ABABCDECDE: the 8th line is iambic trimester while the rest are written in iambic pentameter).

6. Free verse (contains no rhyme or regular rhythm).

After you have finished investigating the structure of the poem, it is advisable for you to look up some information about the history of writing the poem, the information about the author (if he/she is not known for you), the cultural influence and context of the literary work, etc. Look at the date when the poem was written and think of what historic and cultural influence must have been imposed on the author.

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