Writing about poetry can be one of the most demanding tasks that many students face in a literature class.Poetry, by its very nature, makes demands on a writer who attempts to analyze it that other forms of literature do not.So how can you write a clear, confident, well-supported essay about poetry?
In order to write effectively about poetry, one needs a clear idea of what the point of writing about poetry is.
When you are assigned an analytical essay about a poem in an English class, the goal of the assignment is usually to argue a specific thesis about the poem, using your analysis of specific elements in the poem and how those elements relate to each other to support your thesis.
It is useful to follow some standard conventions when writing about poetry.
First, when you analyze a poem, it is best to use present tense rather than past tense for your verbs.
Lyric essays often consist of conversational digressions, due to its lack of a restrictive form.
Some lyric essays include vignettes, such as Maggie Nelson's Bluets.Proponents of the lyric essay classification insist it differs from prose poetry in its reliance on association rather than line breaks and juxtaposition.The lyric essay is a hybrid form, combining formal aspects of poetry and prose. Two types of lyric essay forms exist: found form and invented form.Lyric Essay is a contemporary creative nonfiction form which combines qualities of poetry, essay, memoir, and research writing, while also breaking the boundaries of the traditional five-paragraph essay.As a genre unto itself, the lyric essay tends to combine conventions of many different genres.This specific argument that you want to make about the poem will be your thesis.You will support this thesis by drawing examples and evidence from the poem itself. Does it fit into a specific literary movement such as Modernism, Romanticism, Neoclassicism, or Renaissance poetry?In order to make a credible argument about the poem, you will want to analyze how the poem works—what genre the poem fits into, what its themes are, and what poetic techniques and figures of speech are used. This is another place where you may need to do some research in an introductory poetry text or encyclopedia to find out what distinguishes specific genres and movements. The most common meter for poetry in English is iambic pentameter, which has five feet of two syllables each (thus the name "pentameter") in each of which the strongly stressed syllable follows the unstressed syllable.Theme: One place to start when writing about poetry is to look at any significant themes that emerge in the poetry. Versification: Look closely at the poem's rhyme and meter. You can learn more about rhyme and meter by consulting our handout on sound and meter in poetry or the introduction to a standard textbook for poetry such as the .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.