Poetry Analysis: Responding personally and critically to a poem Your response to poetry is a result of all of your experiences, thoughts and beliefs. What you bring to the poem is as important as what is written on the page. When analyzing a poem, consider the following questions: y y y y y y y y y y Who or what is the speaker of the poem? How does the speaker feel about the subject of the poem? How is this communicated? Do you agree or disagree with the speaker? What is the poet s message or theme? How is this theme communicated? What are the dominant images? Which of your senses does the poem stir? How do these images support the poem s theme? Does the poet use symbolism to represent anything? How do the symbols develop the poem s meaning? How would you describe the tone of the poem? What develops the tone? What form did the poet choose? Why? What poetic devices have been used? For what effect? Examine the diction. What feelings does this poem awaken in you? What memories or experiences does this poem call to mind? Examine the title. What clues to meaning does the title of the poem offer? What did you like most about the poem? What did you like least?
To write a formal response to a poem, use the following steps: 1. Read through the poem twice (or more!) once quickly and once again to gain a deeper meaning. 2. Make notes that summarize the meaning. 3. Make additional notes that respond to some of the above questions. 4. Decide whether you like to poem or not, and understand why you have come to this conclusion. 5. Plan your response in two parts. The first part will be a summary of the meaning and theme of the poem, including specific references to the poem. The second part will be a personal response that indicates how you feel about the poem. Again, specifics are required. 6. Write a rough copy. Revise and edit. Note: first person is not acceptable. 7. Write a good copy. You are to choose three of the poems provided and write a formal response for each one (see directions above). Due: Friday, May 28