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For more information about important literary terms, see our handout on the subject.
The form of a poem should not be confused with the structure of the poem. Rhyme, metre and stanza organisation are all key here. 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.
Whether you revel in the ideas and intricacies of poetry or could not think of anything more monotonous to read, grab a tea (or coffee if it’s one of those nights), your favourite late-night snack, and prepare to be amazed by just how simple it is to absolutely NAIL a poetry essay.
Second, you will want to make use of numerous quotations from the poem and explain their meaning and their significance to your argument.
After all, if you do not quote the poem itself when you are making an argument about it, you damage your credibility.
So why would your teacher give you such an assignment?
What are the benefits of learning to write analytic essays about poetry?Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.If your teacher asks for outside criticism of the poem as well, you should also cite points made by other critics that are relevant to your argument.A third point to remember is that there are various citation formats for citing both the material you get from the poems themselves and the information you get from other critical sources.Don’t worry, I know that same overwhelming feeling when poetry can seem as if it’s not even in English, but I can ensure you, learning how to write a poetry essay is like learning to ride a bike….Once you wrap your head around it you’ll be cruising!The most common citation format for writing about poetry is the Modern Language Association (MLA) format.Many students experience writer’s block when they first begin writing a poetry essay.In the introduction to a poetry essay, it is important that students signal that they know what the poem is about. In others, the identity of the speaker may be a little more difficult to detect. When writing about poetry, the focus should be on the language that the poet uses. For example, are there lots of objects that have to do with the world of work, or the beach, or wealth? Reading poems can be illuminating and thought provoking.Thinking about the ideas, attitudes and feelings expressed in the poem can be a handy way into getting a hold on its content. Alliteration, assonance, adjectives and adverbs should all be scrutinised. Are there any clusters of words, or semantic fields, that relate to the same subject? Here, it is very important to give short quotations from the poem and explain the effects the poet’s language choices have. Equally, writing an essay on poetry can prove a creative and engaging task.