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How to Write a Poetry Analysis Essay

February 24, 2017 How to Write
How to Write a Poetry Analysis Essay

Poetry analysis is simply the process of reviewing the multiple artistic, functional, and structural pieces that make up a poem. Normally, this review is conducted and recorded within an analytical essay. This type of essay writing requires one to take a deeper look at both the choices that a poet made and the effects of those choices. In essence, these essays require an in-depth analysis of all parts that were used to form a work of poetry.

How to Write a Poetry Analysis Essay

In order to compose a poetry analysis essay, one must first read the poem carefully. This reading allows one to become familiar with the poem helping produce a strong literary analysis essay. It is also an opportunity to make note of the rhyme scheme (if there is one), the type of poem (limerick, ode, sonnet, lyric, haiku, free verse, etc.) and other poetic techniques that the poet used (such as enjambment, meter, end-stopped lines, figurative language, etc.). All of those elements in the poem are essential to know when one is writing such an essay because they are a part of the poem’s structure and can affect the content. It is not a bad idea to read up on these poetic terms before writing an essay, since being knowledgeable about a subject can allow one to assume a more confident tone when composing a literary analysis essay on that topic. By following the guidelines provided in this blog you will not be wondering how to write a poetry analysis assignment any longer.

Technical Poetry Analysis Worksheet

After covering the technical aspects of a poem, it is best to learn about the poems background. This means that one may find it beneficial to look up the poet, the date that the poem was written, and the cultural context surrounding the work. All of that information typically permits the reader a better understanding of the poem, and it seems self-explanatory that one who has an enhanced comprehension regarding the poem would have an easier time conducting an analysis of that poem.

Worksheet Example: The Tyger

A poetry analysis worksheet can also be a specific set of parameters that the instructor has asked you to examine the work from. In this scenario, it is important to create a structure that will highlight the given set of instructions. An example of such a task would be "The Tyger" by William Blake. In this poem, one can examine it from the initial emerging theme examining the process of a tiger’s creation and unavoidably its end. This context lets us understand that no power other than God himself could create something as beautiful and terrifying as the tiger. However, some literary analysis essays will require you to adopt different interpretations of this subject matter. Some often compared the beauty and fear inspired by the tiger to the industrial revolution and new machinery being built at the time when Blake wrote this poem.

Subject Matter in a Poetry Analysis Essay

The final element to writing a poetry analysis essay is a part of the composition dedicated to the poems subject matter. This can be analyzed during the reader’s quest to determine the theme, tone, mood, and poems meaning. The subject matter – and the thematic elements that support the intended message behind the subject – is often an interpretive minefield. Often, people have different ideas about what a poet is trying to say by their use of a subject, so unless the message is implicitly stated, it is best to state multiple possibilities about what the poet may have meant and included evidence for these theories. As the essay is to be an analysis, opinions are to be avoided in favor of facts and conjectures that are backed by evidence from work.

How to Form an Outline for a Poetry Analysis Essay

An outline for a poetry analysis essay can be very simple, as it is just a guideline for the writer to build upon as the first draft is written. When starting your introductions it would probably be best to put the essays title at the top of a page, then place a Roman numeral one (I) underneath, preceding the word “introduction”. Under this, one can list brainstormed ideas for the introductory paragraph. The final portion of this section should be dedicated to the papers thesis statement.
Following the completion of that portion of the outline, one can move on to the body paragraphs of your example. Each of the Roman numerals used to label this part should denote a different subject area in respect to the poem that will be discussed in the essay. Letters under these numerals may be followed by subtopics within each subject area that are to be dealt within individual paragraphs (or sentences, if it is to be a shorter essay) within the body of the paper.
The final section of the outline is where the last Roman numeral is used in front of the word “conclusion”. The paper's conclusion should contain a restatement of the thesis, preferably in different, yet recognizable wording. That would conclude the outline portion of one’s preparation to write such an assignment. The following is a rudimentary example of an efficient and easy way to make an outline:
How to Write a Poetry Analysis Essay

An Analysis of [insert name of poem here]


  1. Introduction

  2. Thesis – The most essential elements of the poem are the technicalities, the context, and the subject matter.
  3. Technicalities
    • Rhyme scheme
    • Meter - iambic pentameter
    • End-stopped lines

  4. Context
    • Author
    • Time period
    • Cultural influences

  5. Subject Matter
    • Tone
    • Mood
    • Analysis of factual subject matter
    • Theories about what the poem means with textual evidence

  6. Conclusion (with a reworded version of your thesis)
  7. Check out our poetry analysis essay sample!

    How to Choose a Topic for such Essays

    A great way to choose a topic for these type of assignments is to decide on a topic that would deal with information that one is already familiar with. For example, if the choice of the poem to analyze is up to the writer, then it may be beneficial for the writer to choose a poem that he/she has encountered before. If the choice is to be made between different subject areas within a poem, then the writer could find it easier to choose to focus on writing about an area that plays to his/her strengths, so that the statements made in the essay are conveyed clearly and confidently.
    Such assignments may seem like a daunting writing experience at first, but if the topic, outline, and paper are composed following the steps above, the essay should turn out very well.

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