How to Analyze a Poem: a Hands-On Guide

Poetry is an amazing, sophisticated artistic phenomenon that inspires with its aesthetics, while perplexing with its unique literary value.Yes, studying a poem according to the established scholarly criteria is indeed challenging!

how to analyze a poem step by step

Analyzing poetry basically means breaking it down into critical elements and exploring each of them in terms of its scientific and artistic significance. Tedious as this process may seem, it is still pretty manageable and feasible once you follow a number of straightforward steps to how to analyze a poem that the professionals of WritingCheap are about to cover further in this article.

1. Explore the Title

First of all, you need to start with the “head” of the poem under investigation — the title. Find out how the title relates to the theme of the poem and its idea. Trace the similarity of the title’s theme and that of the poem. Studying the poem’s title separately from the poem itself seems to be quite weird as it should be part of the literary creation. However, despite being part of the poem, its title may have completely opposite meaning and idea to those of the poem itself, which is done intentionally by the author.

2. Mood and Tone

Now, it’s time to investigate the mood and tone of the poem. These are the most outstanding and conspicuous aspects of the piece. The poem’s mood and tone represent its main message, the idea the author conveyed with the help of these aspects. To analyze the poem’s mood and tone, you need to read it several times, try to delve as deeply as possible into its subtleties, and deduce its main message from what you’ve figured out as a result of your investigation.

This step can be referred to as the most essential one in analyzing a poem. Generally speaking, the mood of a poem can be of two types: uplifting and depressing. This is the most important thing you need to determine when it comes to how to analyze a poem.

3. Understand the Speaker

The speaker is an important abstract figure that “tells” the poem to the reader. The speaker is also dubbed the lyrical hero of the poem, and interpreting this hero is crucial for grasping the main idea of the poem and making successful poetry analysis. Make sure to discern the lyrical hero, their personality, what message they try to convey, and how they express themselves in the poem. Screen the poem looking for any trace of the speaker’s personality and their point of view.

4. Perceive the Idea

Every poem features an idea that represents the author’s own outlook. A poem’s idea can be hidden in the symbolism, imagery, expressed through a metaphor, or be stated clearly and directly in the poem. In this regard, you need to detect the main idea of the poem you study by carefully scrutinizing its text, searching for any symbol or image that may have some significance.

Drawing the Line

In this guide, the WritingCheap experts provided you with brief yet all-encompassing knowledge on how to analyze a poem step by step, which can be your ultimate helper in dissecting a poem. With these critical but simple steps, you will be capable of analyzing any poem in no time, astonishing your professor with the remarkable literary mastery you possess. All you need to do is keep in mind that a sound, reasonable approach to analyzing any literary work will largely add to your efficacy in studying any remarkable literary creation!