English Literature: How to Write a Poetry Essay
Many students experience writer’s block when they first begin writing a poetry essay. Poems are unwieldy beings which throw up all sorts of images, ideas, associations and emotions. As a result of this, it is not uncommon for a student to feel somewhat overwhelmed by their thoughts on a given poem and to struggle with transforming their reading of it into structured sentences and paragraphs. Here, planning is key. Plenty of students find it useful to follow a set plan to order their thoughts. Making a few notes under useful headings prior to writing the essay can give students the confidence they need to write a successful poetry essay. Below is an example of a plan that has proven useful to many.
Introduction: Ideas, Attitudes and FeelingsIn the introduction to a poetry essay, it is important that students signal that they know what the poem is about. Thinking about the ideas, attitudes and feelings expressed in the poem can be a handy way into getting a hold on its content. Is it a happy or a sad poem? What is the subject matter? What events occur in the poem? Is it about memory, the present moment or the future? What is the tone of the poem?
VoiceThe question students must ask themselves here is, ‘Who is speaking?’. In some poems, the speaker can be clearly identified. In others, the identity of the speaker may be a little more difficult to detect. Is the poem written in first person? Who is it written to? How old might the speaker be? Are they male of female?
StructureThe word ‘structure’ refers to the way in which the ideas, events or details of the poem are unfolded to the reader. For example, a poem might begin with a tone of uncertainty, move on to ask a series of demanding questions and then end on a note of resignation. It can be helpful to visually group together similar lines in a poem and see where the tone, language or subject matter shifts and changes.
LanguageWhen writing about poetry, the focus should be on the language that the poet uses. Alliteration, assonance, adjectives and adverbs should all be scrutinised. What effects do they create? Metaphor and similes should also be looked for. What images do they conjure up? It can be interesting to see what sort of objects appear in a given poem. For example, are there lots of objects that have to do with the world of work, or the beach, or wealth? Are there any clusters of words, or semantic fields, that relate to the same subject? Does the poet favour short or long words? Here, it is very important to give short quotations from the poem and explain the effects the poet’s language choices have.
FormThe form of a poem should not be confused with the structure of the poem. It refers to the way in which the poem is crafted. Rhyme, metre and stanza organisation are all key here. Is the poem long or short? Are lines grouped into stanzas? Does the poet use rhyme? Are rhyming couplets employed? Is the rhyme regular or irregular? Is there a uniform number of beats in each line? Which words rhyme together? Students should brush up on the literary terms that are used to describe the formal elements of poetry so that they are able to cite aspects of the poem as evidence for their points and explain the effects produced.
ConclusionJust as every essay should always have an introduction, a conclusion is also mandatory. Here, students should sum up the main points that have been made in the body of their essay. They might also like to close with a short discussion of which of the poem’s features most intrigued them and why.
Reading poems can be illuminating and thought provoking. Equally, writing an essay on poetry can prove a creative and engaging task. Crucially, the student should adopt an inquisitive and critical reading stance and pay attention to every choice the poet has made in the creation of their poem.
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Serin Sangma - 10-Jul-17 @ 4:29 PM
Poetry analysis essay can be described as a literary essay that focuses on the reader’s understanding of poems. According to the online dictionary, a poem is “a piece of writing that usually has figurative language, and that is written in separate lines that often have a repeated rhythm and sometimes rhyme.” From the definition, it is evident that a poem has a writing style as well as a particular structure and these are important when analyzing a poem. Unlike other essays, poetry analysis essays are not easy and call for one’s attention throughout the entire process. From the language used to the styles and also the attributes of the poem (mood, tone), one can easily miss the point and thus end up writing an irrelevant essay. Emphasis is often put on the reading part because people lose the plot during this phase. The universal recommendation is that one should read a poem several times before they start analyzing it but as is always the case, few consider this advice relevant.
All literary analysis papers have a simple format that begins with an introduction which is inclusive of the thesis statement, then the body which builds on the thesis statement, and finally a conclusion that summarizes one’s points. A poetry analysis essay format is not any different and includes all the parts above. This format is customary to most essay types, and thus people get acquainted with it fast.
A custom poetry analysis paper takes the universal essay form, but its outline is a tad different. The outline goes a step further than the format and explains all that a writer should include in each of the essay’s parts. Considering the poetry analysis essay outline, an introduction is the most important part of the entire paper because it is the one that makes readers want to read more of the essay or to discard it. As per the outline, the introduction should first have an attention-grabber (it can be a quote or a question to the readers), it should also have the author’s name, and finally, it should also have a thesis that briefly tells the audience the writer’s perspective and elements that will be analyzed. An attention-grabber is significant in the sense that it keeps the reader engaged and interested. In the introduction, one should strive to keep their readers and not have a dull beginning that scares the audience.
In the body, the writer should first have a paragraph that explains to the readers the surface and deeper meaning as well as the theme of the poem. Elucidating on the sense of the poem is appropriate because it makes things clearer for the audience and also helps to explain the writer’s angle of argument. The theme of a poem is indeed one of the most important, if not the most important elements of a poem. Essentially, a theme explains why the poem was written and to whom it was written. While explaining the theme, the writer helps their audience to identify with the poem and thus, it should not be left out. Other things such as the tone of the poem, the figures of speech used, the sound effects, and the use of symbolism are also necessary, but an essay write should include them after explaining the meaning and message of the poem. However, the tone should be presented immediately after the message because it is at that point when the writer explains who the persona is and provides appropriate proof.
The secret to poetry analysis essay writing is in reading the poem several times before commencing on the analysis. One needs to completely understand what a poem is about for their analysis to be relevant and their content accurate. The conclusion is also as important as the other parts, and one should ensure that their analysis leaves a lasting impression on their audience. A conclusion, essentially, is a summary of one’s points. Aside from summarizing the points of the essay, one should also restate their thesis statement. The conclusion should engage the audience and ensure that they do not quickly forget about the essay. After reiterating one’s thesis statement and providing a summary of the key points, it is important for the writer to relate the poem to other broader themes in life. The latter helps or makes it possible for the audience to identify with the poem as well as the persona.
The only limitation to developing many Poetry Analysis Essay topics is one’s creativeness and comprehension of poems. The following are some of the items that one can be asked to work on:
– Dominant themes in a poem.
– Use of figurative language in a poem.
– Childhood memories.
– Comparing and contrasting two different poems.
– Feelings and emotions.
Once one understands a poem, it becomes easier to work on any examined topic. However, it is also important to always maintain the poetry analysis essay structure because this enhances the systematic flow of ideas.
Poetry has hidden meanings, and it is through analysis that one can understand the message in the poem. The internet is awash with sources that can offer poetry analysis essay help and thus one should always seek assistance when stuck. Poems are fascinating but without analysis, it becomes hard to comprehend the message in the poem thoroughly.