Poetry analysis, also sometimes referred to as a poetry review, is a reflection on a poem that involves analyzing the poetic instruments, discussing the language and the figures used by the author, as well as sharing one’s personal position on the poem. When it comes to poetry analysis, one has to go beyond just reviewing the words and phrases used, but instead seeing the bigger picture, try to read between the lines and understand what has driven the poet to use the words he or she used. Thus, poetry analysis requires some primary research on the author of the poem, as well as some background and history behind the poem’s creation.
Steps for Writing Poetry Analysis
- Read the poem twice, at least. Try to analyze your first impression of it and write down a few comments.
- Research the author of the poem if you are not familiar with him or her yet, and the history of the poem’s creation. Try to find out what inspired the poet and what gave rise to the idea for this particular poem, whether it was a reflection on what the poet personally experienced or witnessed, etc.
- Read the poem once again, this time slower. Try to pay attention to the particular word selection, organization of the poem, and poetic figures used, etc.
- Start your poetry analysis with a description of the story, or situation, depicted in the poem. Make sure to answer the essential questions of the literature. Where? When? What happened? What is described? Who is involved? Pay attention to how the author develops the story and what instruments are used to indicate the culmination of the poem.
- Now move onto the technical side of your poetry analysis. Analyze the poem’s rhyme and meter, and the structure of each stanza. Define each poetic figure used and give specific examples of allegories, metaphors, hyperboles, personifications, similes, litotes, and other literary devices. Try to identify the mood of each stanza, whether it is ironic, moody, cheerful, bitter, romantic, philosophical, etc.
- Give your personal reflection of the poem—what you think it is about (normally, there is a figurative sense behind every poem). Here you can go back to your primary research about the author and the poem’s history.
- Give a conclusion. Mention, whether you enjoyed the poem and whether the poet, in your opinion, succeeded in bringing particular feelings and ideas to the reader (the one the author supposedly intended to bring up, in your understanding of the poem).