What are some key features to look for when analysing a poem?

Some key features to look for when anaylsing a poem:

  • Title - What does it say about the poem's subject, genre and tone? Reapproach the title after reading the poem - did it change?

  • Physical structure - How does the poem look on the page? Does the way its displayed represent anything significant? Is it in a specific shape? Is it dialogue? 

  • Main subject - Try to figure out the main subject surrounding the poem, what is the poem about? 

  • Allusions - Are there any allusions to events or historical figures?

  • Turning point - Where does the tone of the poem shift? What does this signifiy and why?

  • Context - When was it written? Does this say anything about the poem?

  • Form - Consider sound, rhythm, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, rhyme and meter, stanzas, order of thoughts and genre.

  • Word choice - Creating mood, figurative language, similies, metaphors, do the words link to a central theme? Is the language abstract or concrete? 

Tip:

Make sure you know the technical and correct words and phrases for the techniques used.

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