Okay, first I want to say welcome back to myself because I’ve been on a bit of an accidental hiatus. I apologize for that. Finals, moving out, moving in and getting a job all fell into my lap when I least [emotionally] expected it. But either way I am back and hopefully for good. I’d like to share my opinions with you all about something very important to me. ANALYZING POETRY!!!!
What is Poetry Analysis?
Of course this was my main concern. I felt as if I could not talk about how to analyze poetry without properly understanding all the separate and combined ways of doing this. Based on what I’ve found so far, I see that a successful poetry analysis mostly comes from what you’re looking to get out of this poem and the poems existence. Why are you reading this poem? Why is it important to you to understand the poem? Why is it important to interoperate the poem as it was written then as it was meant to be read and what is the difference? Is there a difference? Poetry is just as much reactive as it is active. The writer/poet is writing for both sides of the conversation or only one side.
Where to begin:
This is how I would analyze a poem. It is in no way the right or wrong way to do so, again it depends on your reason for analyzing. For the sake of enjoying poetry and art and experiencing it fully let us try my way.
1. Who is the author/poet? What does their voice represent?
The voice of this poet is perhaps the most important piece of this analysis. Sometimes anonymity is beautiful and powerful and feels good but I am here to tell you that this matters. We as writers are observers but we also internalize everything and maybe take things a little too personally. So is this personal or an observation? This will help you understand the writer’s state of mind, emotions and their drive to write this wonderful piece you are about to read.
What is the format of this poem? Has this poet put more thought into the image of the poem rather than the words? What is most important to this poems structure; the meaning or the words. I know, I tend to use alliteration a lot. I do it because I like to show off all the words I know while also experimenting with language that is similar enough to be used side by side by side. This gets you inside the poets head. How much time did the poet spend writing and prepping this before they sent it out to the world and how much time do they expect or want you to spend on it? Why?
3. Take it with a grain of salt
Go through it line by line, or stanza by stanza, now knowing what you know about this writer. Write down what you think each stanza means in relation to the writer and/or the writer’s style. Try and figure out things like, “what are they trying to say here?” Is it the same message throughout the poem or do elements of it change? Why? Is there growth that the writer wants you to see? Something I do often is omit details, critical details. I make the reader play catch up on the story I’m telling. I want them to figure me out. I want them to work for it. So I speak in codes. Does the writer do this or is everything handed to you?
How does the poem make you feel and why? Simple as that. Action and reaction. React and write it down, then go back on your research and reflect. Now tell me what that poem was about.
I thought this was pretty cool too. If you want a more formal approach go for this. I totally recommend just looking up ways to analyze a poem especially if you’re in school, it’s been a while and you really don’t remember what the teacher was looking for. I’ve also included the link to a response to the question of “How do we analyze poems” that I really liked if you’d like someone else’s opinion.
I just wrote this poem and I will post next about how I would have analyzed it and all the background in’s and out’s of it that only I know because… I wrote it…. just now. Okay well, have a great night everyone and analyze away! Let me know what you all think about this. Any new ways you wanna share with me I’m all ears! Okay, I’ll shut up now…. here’s my poem:
How you take your coffee.
Our love came in two parts.
and the poetry of us
Caressing my third eyes
lips with the idea
that we could possibly be together
for at least a little while
Well, that wood doesn’t
light my fire when I’m
The creaks in my bed and the smell of my…
hair reminds me of you.
You like pulling me,
and for a while,
I liked being pulled.
But now, all I want is
to be anchored and
close to shore.
This shoulder we’ve cried on
cannot be crushed to
climb to the top of.
Discord is an impenetrable offense
that you have yet to learn how to discuss.
Disconnect is not someone that has
welcomed us into their home; not
in their foyer, not even their front steps.
And I know why we cannot keep from circling round
this circumference of fear. I don’t want to leave you
and you don’t know where we’ll be in a year.
I should have warned you I wasn’t going to stay,
but you never told me that you’d never leave.