Step 3 Any additional readings of the poem should be used to think more specifically about the words, phrases, or images you have read. In fact, if you only focus on the literal meaning of the words, you might have a hard time figuring out what the poem is about. Write down a list or mind map of words that are inspired by thinking about nature. It is still too early to think about each specific line or word; stop, however, to think about a particular line that strikes you. Understanding these things will help you recognize point of view, imagery and dramatic element necessary to analyze the poem's meaning. While you are looking for those poetic sound devices in that second reading, there are still a few other things to keep in mind when doing analysis of poetry.
You need new tools and strategies, different than what you may already be using to read novels. Remind students to think about what the poet is trying to help them understand. The poem attained immediate popularity with American audiences by humorously depicting baseball in its early years. Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Most poems have punctuation to show you where to pause and where an idea ends. You can also share your poem with other poets to get feedback from them and improve your poem. Keep in mind that you can add more notes as you read the poem additional times. Drawing Conclusions After answering the questions presented in this introduction, readers should paraphrase or restate the poem in everyday words, as though talking to someone on the telephone.
Just like music, the experience of poetry changes depending on your mood and the environment. Curious about poetry, but don't know where or how to begin? If a pile of leaves is described as dancing, we immediately feel cheered, and it is safe to assume the poem is saying something uplifting and positive, whereas if the leaves are dead and rotting, it is making a negative comment about some aspect of life. Try a New Literary Device Metaphor: This device compares one thing to another in a surprising way. It may be a poem that has been assigned to you, or maybe your friend has shared it, and you want to figure the poem out. You need to read a poem several times to better understand it and see what it is doing. You may go for a poetic form that you find easy to use, such as free verse, or a form that you find more challenging, such as a sonnet.
Your knowledge of the English language, literature, writing, analyzing is almost beyond your young years. Does the poem spring from an identifiable historical moment? Does the poem move fast or slow? Go for creative descriptions and images in your poem so your reader is surprised and intrigued by your writing. If it is a long poem, such as Allen Ginsberg's Howl or Hart Crane's The Bridge, readers should concentrate on key passages and look for repetition of specific words, phrases, or verses in the poem. Using these devices can make your poem stand out to your reader and allow you to paint a detailed picture for your reader. Maybe you feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland. It may be a certain phrase, or a word that is unfamiliar to you. Look at the poem's meter, rhyme scheme, and use of techniques such as alliteration, assonance, and onomatopoeia.
Eliot's dedication of The Waste Land or Wendy Rose's use of epigraphs? Does the poem speak from a specific culture? On each reading, go deeper into the poem to help you determine its meaning. You gave it a valiant effort, but at the end, you found yourself buried under clauses and metaphors, lost without the light of meaning. What images appear in your head as you read the poem? A reading should let the poem speak for itself. How to Read a Poem Step I The first time you start to read a poem you must relax and read it once through without concentrating on its meaning. Poetry is a compact language that expresses complex feelings. Instead, read through the line breaks and pause or stop at the punctuation. Are they emotionally moved or touched by the poem? How do these themes relate to each other? I usually make a class set of the Poetry Reading Strategies printable and pass them out to students to refer to while I am discussing.
You have been excellently trained in English at high school and university. Form a first impression of the poem based only on what you see on the paper. The best way to get started on analysis of poetry is to read the poem once to yourself silently. Notice where natural pauses might occur as you read the poem. Look for words and phrases that repeat, that are italicized, or that are set apart from the other words in the poem.
You will by now want to compare your feelings about the poem after reading it the second or third time with how you felt about it when you encountered it for the first time. To effectively analyze a poem, you must learn what to look for and where to find it. Tell them to choose three descriptive statements from the poem and write an inference for each statement. What is different and why? Vary your speed to build tension or show emotion. If you don't know what is present on the surface, you can't figure out anything deeper. The tone of a used car salesman is complementary and pleasing to the person he is speaking to him while the tone of a bill collector is stern and demanding.
Excerpted from: English Teacher's Portfolio of Multicultural Activities. There are many possibilities in the world and what you call yourself from a creative perspective is entirely up to you. The Best Short Guide for Understanding Poetry One of the most difficult tasks facing many students in high school and university English courses is coming to grips with difficult poetry. When I come upon a hub that teaches me something I feel like celebrating : You have broken down all this information in such a way that the reader is compelled to read on. Make a list or mind map of images. I rarely find myself able to crack a poem. Does the poem have its own vernacular? This has given me much better direction! Or fester like a sore— And then run? He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014.