Using one of the poets assigned in the past week, find a short lyrical poem of theirs that is NOT on the syllabus (I recommend poetryfoundation.org) and write an analysis of it. Use the analytical str
Using one of the poets assigned in the past week, find a short lyrical poem of theirs that is NOT on the syllabus (I recommend poetryfoundation.org) and write an analysis of it. Use the analytical strategies that I will walk you through in the previous week with my lecture notes and the online discussion. Include the full poem with your analysis (the poem does not contribute to your word count).
The key here is to properly identify the salient poetic devices that enhance your understanding of the poem. Instead of just listing the poetic devices that you see, explain how these devices contribute to the poem’s meaning. This exercise must demonstrate your understanding of how the form of the poem (its structure) informs its function (its content).
Some questions that may help you:
- What is the rhythm and meter of the poem? Is there any metrical variation? Where do the breaks in meter occur? Isolate the words that break away from the meter, because the speaker is most likely drawing your attention to them – how do these words or sounds affect your reading of the poem?
- How do end-stopped or enjambed lines affect your reading of the poem? Are there any uses of caesura? Can you make any parallels between the sound devices and the thematic meaning of the poem?
- What is the rhyme scheme, if any? Words that rhyme strike an association in sound; are there any associations you can draw between the meanings of these rhymed words?
- Every single word in every language has a denotation and a connotation, but sometimes poets like to play on ambiguous interpretations (connotations) of some words. Are there multiple meanings that are packed into single words in the poem? What is the effect of this ambiguity?
- Describe the imagery. How do these images appeal to the senses? Do they operate on a figurative level?
- What figures of speech can you identify, and how do they add levels of meaning? Watch out for metaphor / simile / personification / apostrophe / metonymy / symbol / allegory, and identify these devices correctly.
- Are there any allusions to other works of art and literature in the poem? How can these allusions/references deepen your understanding of the poem?
- What is the tone of the poem? What words are used that establish this tone?
- Are there any instances of incongruity, such as irony or paradox?
- Are there any instances of understatement or hyperbole? What are the effects of using both, or either?