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Learn Poetry Analysis with the Power of Words

Grade 6
Jun 9, 2023

Writing – Poetry Analysis

What Does It Mean to Analyze a Poem?

Analyzing a poem means reading it, dissecting it into parts and paraphrasing it.

Following are some of the elements that are studied while analyzing a poem:


It lays the foundation for understanding the poem. A few questions give clarity about the context.

  • Who is the poet? Does the poet’s life suggest a particular point of view, such as political interest, specific career interest, aristocratic background, or any other?
  • When was the poem written? Time and place. Is the culture of the era projected in the poem? Example – During World War I
  • Does the poem appear in the original language? Interpretation may differ.
  • Is the poem part of a special series?
  • Does the poem belong to any specific movement? Example- Harlem Renaissance in 1920?
  • Is the title of the poem obvious to make the theme comprehensible? Or implied? Example –

The Rainbow by Christina Rossetti


The core message of the poem. Poet’s central thought that he/she conveys to the reader. To understand the theme, the following questions should be answered.

  • What is the subject? Is it love, loss, patriotism, nature, renewal, etc.?
  • Are there multiple themes? How do they connect?
  • What is the poet’s purpose in the underlying message? To entertain or to convey any moral?
  • Who is the reader/audience?
Tone and Mood

The poem’s mood is the readers’ feelings while reading the poem. It is an impression created by the poet. Cheerful, gloomy, melancholy, whimsical, etc. On the other hand, the tone is the poet’s attitude towards the subject. Satirical, humorous, appreciative, etc. The following questions help to analyze tone and mood.

  • What is the mood of the poem? Does it change over the course? What could be the reason for such a change?
  • What is the tone of the poem? What words bring out the effects?
Language and Structure

Use of grammar and identification of poetic forms

  • Does the poet use language or grammar unconventionally? How it affects the poem?
  • Do the language and diction support the theme and tone of the poem?
  • How is the poem structured? How are lines written in stanzas?
  • Does the poem follow a rhyme scheme or rhythm?
  • What kind of meter is being used in the poem?

Some of the standard meter feet:

  • Iamb: one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. Example de-lete
  • Trochee: one stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable. Example Show-er
  • Dactyl: one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables. Example fa-mi-liar
Poetic Devices

Techniques used by the poet to create special effects in the poem for the readers.

  • What poetic devices are being used in the poem? – Alliteration, Repetition, Imagery, Metaphors, Simile, Personification, Symbolism, etc.
  • Do the poetic devices contribute to the tone and mood of the poem?
  • Do the poetic devices make the poem more meaningful?

Paraphrase the poem in simple words and conclude.

Poetry Analysis


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