How to Write a Poetry Analysis Essay from Scratch

The style of every writer or poet is original and has its own defining features. The writing style is shaped by one's way of thinking, thus writers tend to explore particular topics in their own unique way. In this case, how to write a poetry analysis essay and accurately interpret the author's message? The following article will help you find the answer to this question. Whenever you feel that your poetry analysis essay topic is too complicated, do not hesitate to hire a professional writer from


The Purpose of a Poetry Essay

To know how to write a poetry analysis essay a student first has to understand the purpose of this task. In a nutshell, the assignment requires you to review and analyze the functional, structural, and artistic devices the author has used to create a poem. In other words, you will have to look deeper into the creative piece to discern the author's literary choices. You will then discuss the purpose of these choices as well as their effect.

Pre-Writing Process: Things to Remember. First of all, it is impossible to successfully complete the poetry analysis essay assignment without reading the poem. In fact, you will have to read it more than once to fully understand the author's ideas and notice all literacy devices he/she used. Multiple readings allow you to define the rhyme scheme, classify the poem (is it a sonnet, ode, free verse, or some other type?) and describe additional techniques the author applied in the poem (imagery and symbolism, figurative language, etc.). Below is a brief description of the most common poem types:

  • Limerick. This is a form of verse consisting of five lines, where the rhyme is present between the 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines as well as between the lines three and four. The pairs of rhymes have three feet of three syllables and two feet of three syllables respectively.
  • Ode. This is a lyrical stanza of ten lines. There are three types of odes and the poetic form of each is different.
  • Sonnet. Probably the most romantic poem structure thanks to Shakespeare, sonnet consists of 14 lines written in iambic pentameter. The ninth line of a sonnet is usually referred to as 'turn' because this is where the resolution begins.
  • Lyric. When analyzing lyric, focus on the poet's emotional state and thoughts rather than on the story because lyrics are used to express the thoughts of a single narrator. For a more precise expression of the poet's sentiments, lyrics are sung to the accompaniment of a musical instrument.
  • Haiku. A traditional Japanese haiku consists of three verses and 17 syllables. However, modern haiku begin to abandon the tradition of 17 syllables.
  • Free verse. Its name is rather self-explanatory. A free verse is a poem that has no rhyme.

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Knowing this classification is essential because it helps to correctly define the structure of a poem, which influences the content and the use of literary techniques.

Another thing that is crucial to the analysis is the understanding of the background of the poem. Try to find some information about the poet's personal life, the historical period he/she worked in, and pay particular attention to the cultural context. With such details in mind, you will be less likely to misinterpret the poet's message. In addition, the knowledge of the context is necessary for a proper grasp of the content. Unaware of the tendencies of the author's time you might not notice important allusions, symbols, etc.

Once the pre-writing work is done, you can start analyzing the subject matter. Although the knowledge of the literary theory and the poem's background are crucial for an accurate analysis, the subject matter interpretation mostly depends on your personal understanding of the poem. In your analysis, pay attention to the tone, mood, and central message of the poem.


Since in most cases it is not possible to know the poet's message with 100% certainty, it is more appropriate to mention a few possible interpretations of the poem's meaning. Of course, these evaluations have to be backed up with apt and reliable evidence.

Although all theories you create in the course of interpreting the poem might seem convincing, you will eventually have to choose a side. Do not spend too much space on detailed explanation of different ideas. Instead, select the theory that seems the most viable. However, be careful not to stick with a popular bias. An experienced writer will strive to defend the theory that is based on strong evidence rather than subjective interpretation. Students asking how to write a poetry analysis essay should note that the word 'analysis' in this question is decisive. Therefore, biased opinions that are not supported with evidence are to be avoided at all costs.

Step 1: How to Make a Successful Topic Choice

A rule of a thumb is to select a topic from the area you are already familiar with. This will help you save time on pre-writing activities. For instance, if your professor allows the students to choose the topic on their own, analyze the poem you read before instead of going for something completely new. Similarly, if you have to choose between different subjects areas of one poem, select the area you feel the most confident about.

Finally, if the assignment of writing an essay seems stressful, read the following guide on creating a poetry analysis essay outline. Composing an essay step by step will make the process easier. After all, you never know what you can do till you try.

Step 2: Creating an Outline

You do not need a complicated outline for a poetry analysis essay, just a mere guideline to organize the writing process, so you can use the structure of a simple outline. If blank pages make you anxious, write down the title. The first section will be 'Introduction'. Here, you can brainstorm the ideas to be included in the opening paragraph of your essay. Keep in mind that the purpose of this section is to put the reader into context, so be sure to include the background information. An introduction should end with a thesis statement.

We have prepared an outline that you can use to analyze any poetry piece. By using this outline you ensure that the paper is cohesive and organized. In addition, it will help you avoid repetitions and rambling thoughts. Even if you do not know how to write a poetry analysis essay, an outline will help you keep your thoughts in order and identify the areas that require further research.

Poetry Analysis Essay Outline

  1. Introduction
  • Title
  • Opening sentence and some details about the author and poem, including any peculiar details
  • A concise thesis statement
  1. Body
  • Explore the meaning and message
  • Look at the tone, speaker and recipient
  • The language, symbolism and imagery of the poem, the poetic devices
  • Rhythm and sound
  1. Conclusion
  • Paraphrase the thesis statement
  • Summarize the most important information
  • Relate to broader topics, finish with a thought-provoking sentence


A successful introduction grasps the reader's attention, so make an interesting opening sentence (also called 'a hook'). You can use a memorable quote from the poem or state an interesting fact about the poet. Include the name of the poet and the title of the poem(s) you will be analyzing. This should be followed by background information about the poet, his/her historical period, some trivia about the poem, etc. Keep this description brief and meaningful. The introduction should end with a thesis statement. If you need some extra help creating a good thesis statement, follow the guide on our website.

Body Paragraphs

The bulk of the analysis will be presented here. Again, the discussion should be characterized by conciseness and clear focus. Although you are analyzing poetry, the paragraphs should follow standard structure: topic sentence, supporting evidence, explanation, and transition. Remember that one paragraph should be dedicated to one topic Otherwise, the paragraphs will be chaotic and difficult to read. At the same time, avoid generalizations. Use transitions within paragraphs to ensure proper flow and coherence.


Even though the most informative parts of the essay have already been completed, do not underestimate the importance of a conclusion. A strong conclusion can have a lasting impact on the reader - a clear indication of a good essay. Start by restating the central idea (just paraphrase the thesis statement). This will narrow down the focus and remind the reader of the purpose of the essay. Next, summarize the main claims and discuss the implications. You can step aside and refer to the broader context but do not introduce any new ideas in this part of the essay. Finally, come up with a thought-provoking sentence to make your essay memorable.


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Below you will find a poetry analysis essay example suitable for the analysis of any poem. You can use it as a roadmap every time you receive a similar assignment.


  1. Thematically
  1. Introduce the text:
  • Summarize it
  • Provide any necessary background details
  1. Make your thesis claim
  1. Conduct the analysis:
  • identify the main theme
  • use examples from the text to support your arguments
  1. Continue as needed
  1. Restate the thesis claim, relate to larger issues if possible:
  • how the text works
  • what are the implications

Part by part, or text by text

  1. Introduce the text:
  • Summarize it
  • Provide any necessary background details
  1. Make your thesis claim
  1. Analyze the first part of text
  1. Analyze the following part(s) of text
  1. Continue as needed.
  1. Restate the thesis claim, relate to larger issues if possible:
  • how the text works
  • what are the implications

Poetry Analysis Useful Tips

  • If you are given the freedom of a topic choice, select a poem you are fond of. This idea is very simple but it is also something many learners forget about.
  • Read the poem to your friend (or just read it aloud to yourself). Even if you do not hear a second opinion, you will at least discover any sound techniques, such as assonance or consonance.
  • Check the meaning of words and phrases. This might not be as important for prose analysis, but misinterpretation of a word in a poem can result in completely distorted analysis. Besides, you might fail to notice any cultural references.
  • Re-read the conclusion to see if it has a single idea. Multiple ideas in the last paragraph will create an impression of chaotic analysis. Instead of simply restating the main findings, try to relate the poem to a broader context.
  • Read between the lines. Poetry is usually full of symbols, so do not be afraid to look for them in order to provide an original interpretation. Uncovering hidden meanings shows that you have invested considerable time to explore the context and the poem itself.

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Pieces of Advice from Our Experts

In poetry analysis, fining the literary devices is the biggest trick. Additionally, it is important to explain them correctly. For example, when you notice assonance in a poem, it is not enough to simply say that the poet uses it - you also have to explain why it was used, what effect it has, and so on. As it was mentioned in the article, the knowledge of the background and structure is also significant but in analytical essays, the explanation of how these factors help communicate the message is crucial. Other things you want to describe include symbolism, imagery, and allusions. These things are also important if you are not familiar with the poet's background, say, during an AP exam. Allusions and images sometimes speak volumes about the author's cultural and historical background.

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