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Just why do poets do this? Use all possible strategies to support your idea in the best way possible, essay on poetry analysis. Source The photograph that has become known as "Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made in February or March of essay on poetry analysis Nipomo, California. This enforced mini-pause is called a caesura. You should create an emotional response to your essay. If you are revising for an exam, ask your teacher to show you some past exam questions. Now work out who is being spoken to or addressed?



What really must be covered in your coursework and exam answers? Interpretation At the core of any and every answer or essay about poetry must be your own interpretation of the poem or poems you are writing about.

It is this alone that attracts the majority of marks. In a nutshell, the more subtly you interpret a poem - and give support for your interpretation - the higher your marks, and grade, will be. Poems are rarely to be taken at face value. Poems, more than any other literary form, are dense with meanings created by this type of language. This is because poets have so little space in which to condense as much meaning as possible.

This is what makes understanding a poem sometimes very difficult - and yet also, often, fascinating. Just why do poets do this? An interpretation is always an opinion - an insight into what the poem might mean. Whilst it is your own ideas that are needed, it is invariably easier to uncover the layers of meaning in a poem by discussing it with others.

Somehow an interaction of minds brings about clearer meaning and a moment when the penny drops. You might be one of the many who feel discussing poetry is not cool. The exam is not a practice and you need to get the highest grade you can. So, what to do? Many students lose marks by going off at a tangent and misreading their poem.

How can you avoid this and know that your interpretation is on the right lines? Most poems are unified and coherent - and keeping this in mind can help more than anything else. This means that when you interpret what you think one part of the poem means, you need to be quite sure that, in some clear way, what you think fits into and adds to the overall idea being explored by the poem.

Misreading is a trap to avoid - and one you can avoid by applying this acid-test! Once again, discussing the poem with a friend is an excellent way to avoid misreadings! How does all this work in practice? Below is an example to help show you. This is a key thing for you to appreciate. Ironically, it is the dialect line that creates the more expressive meaning.

In this way, Agard manages to open his poem and introduce a key theme. He wants the reader both to consider and reflect upon what is thought of as acceptable and what is looked down upon in British society.

Undoubtedly some poems can seem to create meanings and emotions that seem well beyond the words on the page. Language can be a very mysterious and wonderful thing! Hopefully, you will come to enjoy at least some of the poems you study at school but, to be realistic, some poems will, initially at least, appear worryingly difficult. Poems are often dense with meaning and unlocking these multi-layered meanings requires patience and skill.

But it can be very satisfying - a poem can be like a riddle, fun to crack! Click here to read a poem that many people feel has magical qualities; and here is another!

Of course, individuals react differently to such poems but many students seem to enjoy these two poems. Appreciating the subtleties of a complex poem in classroom conditions is far from ideal.

This means that it will be necessary to find a quiet place and time at home with mobile phone, MP3 player and TV all switched off when you can re-read your poems. Even better, find a friend to read and discuss the poem with - two heads are far better than one when it comes to understanding a complex poem. Reading for Meaning Quite a useful thing to do when you first begin your work on analysing a poem is to So, when you first read any poem, first of all, read it for meaning.

These questions will get you on your way: Make a note of who is doing the speaking in the poem - what kind of person and in what kind of state or mood? Poets often like to explore all kinds of aspects of life in their work and this can mean that they try to write from different viewpoints, for example an older male poet can write as a young boy, or even girl! Now work out who is being spoken to or addressed? Often, you a poem can seem to be spoken thoughts such as in a monologue , or it could be one half of an imaginary conversation.

Think about just what is being spoken about? What is the subject matter being discussed? Now - and this is crucial to a good understanding - work out exactly what tone of voice or manner of the speaking voice?

Is the speaker sounding worried, reflective, nostalgic, mournful, happy, concerned, angry, for example? Importantly, does the tone of voice change during the poem?

Make a note of where this occurs. Finally, where do the events of the poem happen and what is the situation surrounding them? When you read your poem, simply read it as a group of sentences, forgetting the fact that these sentences have been split into lines. At the end of each sentence i. Spend time thinking about this and perhaps note the idea down on the poem itself at the side of that part of the poem this is called annotating the text.

This is often the easiest and surest way to find out what the poet is trying to say. You can consider the effects of other poetic devices the poet has used, such as the way the lines cut up the sentences, the use of rhythm and rhyme, alliteration and so on later.

They might even lack any punctuation so have no apparent sentences. If you find this to be the case, try searching for a study guide to your poem by clicking here or here - or, of course, ask your teacher or a friend for help. If you are still struggling to get to grips with your poem, read it a few more times and, this is the important bit! Most people race through poems using a dull voice.

Even better in fact, far better! Oh yes, you really should! Find a quiet place, or read with a friend. Put embarrassment to one side for the sake of a higher grade! Always avoid reading the poem in an overly stylised way, i. Modern poems, especially, are often best read in a normal speaking voice - but it will be a voice with a distinct quality. Do always try to capture this distinctiveness. Can you work out the method , effects and purpose of the various ideas and images the words of the poem create?

Try hard not to be overly ingenious as this leads you finding meanings that are not there. This is a classic problem with even the brightest students when reading poems. And they are always consistent with the whole poem.

Coherence is an important quality of all literature, poems included. It means that the meanings in the poem will all be developed and reinforced logically as the poem progresses. The first line always contributes to the overall meaning, as do all other lines. Click here to listen to John Agard reading a part of his poem, Half-Caste. Notice the slow and emphatic nature of his voice.

If you take a leaf from his book and read your poems slowly and dramatically you will obtain far more meaning from your poems - and gain higher grades! Writing your essay Writing an essay about a poem needs the same skills that apply to all essay writing. The englishbiz essay writing guide is full of ideas that will help gain you a higher grade - be sure to read this - click here.

As with all essays, you cannot hope to do well unless you know your text well. Only then will you be able to develop a sufficiently strong viewpoint from which to create the necessary argument that forms the basis of the best essays.

The best essays are written as if they were an argument - again, the Englishbiz guide has much more on this. What is your teacher or examiner actually looking for in your essays? Whatever the essay question or title, marks are always awarded according to how well you show your abilities in three key areas: You need to show you have recognised how meaning is developed across the whole poem - as each idea is explored and builds up into a coherent whole.

How to do this to gain high marks Read the essay question or title very carefully. Yes - they do, every year!

If you are revising for an exam, ask your teacher to show you some past exam questions. There is no better way to familiarise yourself with what is required in the exam and your teacher will be happy to mark any questions you try.

Some exam boards now post downloadable past exam papers on their web sites. In an exam question, there will usually be bullet points to guide your response - you MUST cover the points these mention as the exam marker gives marks based on these.

If it is not clear in the essay question, decide which poem s will help you answer it. Work out exactly what is required of you. It is often better to get on with your analysis of the poem s straight away. It is best to avoid generalised discussion of any kind in essays - always be clear, be precise and be succinct! Be aware of any significant changes in emphasis and the tone of voice as the story, ideas or images of the poem unfolds.

Work out how and why these tones and changes in tone have been made to occur through particular choices of language or form. What does it seem to suggest?



The trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange just after the crash of On Black Tuesday, October twenty-ninth, the market collapsed. General advice on poetry essay: Length of your essay = absolute minimum 3 & a half pages (some people can and will write more in 50 minutes). Itís ok to deal with four poems (not all six youíve studied) in your essay BUT KNOW at least 5 Ė it depends on the question asked which poems youíll choose to discuss.

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