Learn How To Analyze a Poem

Students of the literature faculties often deal with a sensitive matter like poetry. They must not only read and understand it but also know how to complete a worksheet of a detailed report. It must be not only an outline but a full description of all technical tools used in the poem and a background for its creation. It is harder than a book report. You should read it a few times and keep in mind six aspects of the analysis. Make sure that you are aware of all of them.

  1. Subject. What is the poem about and why? Sum up the content and context. Mention who, where, under what conditions it was written, who is the narrator, in which person is it, and other backgrounds.
  2. Theme. What are the recurring ideas and topics? Identify the main issues.
  3. Tone. How would you describe the language’s mood? Is it formal, bitter, sentimental, morbid?
  4. Imagery. What Literary devices are used? List a few of them with examples and explain why they have been chosen by the author.
  5. Form. Study stanzas, rhyme, rhythm, and punctuation. This step requires special attention and background.
  6. Feeling. What emotions are being conveyed? Think about what might be the poet’s intention. Was it meant for a public audience?

Check the poetry analysis example

TPCASTT poetry analysis is complex. Here are some basic steps for you to follow, when analyzing a poetry piece:

  1. According to the main steps in how to write an essay on a poem, we have to start with a subject. Learn the background of the poem, its period, location, personal life of the author for the moment of creating a masterpiece. Think about where is it set and who or what features in the poem.
  2. Here are the most common themes. Memory, morality, wealth, war, politics, sexuality, innocence, self-discovery, religion, race, discovery, family, love, nature, etc. Most authors use more than one theme. List them all and try to understand how they are connected and why.
  3. Pronounce the composition out loud. Listen to the tone. How does it sound? Nostalgic, judgmental, optimistic, ironic, frustrated, regretful, jovial? Explain how the tone helps in perceiving the composition. If the poem is long, list the dominant tones.
  4. List the literary devices you have found. It is the space for you to show your background. Have you found a metaphor, oxymoron, anaphora, personification, symbolism, allegory, repetition or other devices?
  5. After describing the form explain why is it used and how it affects the meaning. The step requires special attention and background.
  6. Conclude all the steps by describing the feeling. Gather all the previous information and create general characteristic of the feeling. Assume the purpose of the poem in its outline.


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