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How to Analyse a Poem

Use the STEVE THE SKYDIVER technique to structure an essay on poetry. By BLACKBOARDFICTION.COM

Laura Jenkinson

on 9 April 2013

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Transcript of How to Analyse a Poem

Steve the Skydiver HOW TO ANALYSE
A POEM Imagine you're
skydiving onto
a poem... by BLACKBOARD FICTION POEMS ARE MADE UP OF... Summary (what happens in the poem) Unusual Language (the words the author has chosen) Structure (the shape of the poem) Themes (the overall ideas of the poem) Imagery (the visuals/sound made by the language) Tone (the emotion/atmosphere created) You can remember this as an acronym: S
T First of all, Steve the Skydiver can see the whole poem from a distance... Now let's zoom in on the poem... (this is the order to write about SUSTIT in) Then he notes the THEMES… (love? loss? nature? ...) SUMMARY
(what actually happens in the poem) As he gets closer,
he notices
(simile, metaphor, alliteration, caesura, words chosen for effect...) …which creates
(collect up the language features: do they have imagery in common? like nature? war? the sea?...) …and TONE.
(do the language features, and the imagery they create, make a particular emotion or atmosphere? fear? happiness? hostility?) And the STRUCTURE…
(stanzas, rhyme, rhythm...) SO OVERALL – the closer he gets, the more detail he can see Write about these parts of the poem in this order, as if you have 'zoomed in' on them - it will form a natural progression through the poem's effects. But where to go now?

Luckily, STEVE remembers to use SIGNPOSTS to bring himself back to where he should be…the POINT! Identify the key words in the title – what are you being asked to specifically write about?

Use S.U.S.T.I.T. as a checklist – look at the poem and see which of these points answer the title question

Use Steve’s zooming-in as he falls to remind you in what order to write about each of S.U.S.T.I.T.

Use P.E.E paragraphs (Point, Evidence, Explanation) to discuss each point using quotations

Use SIGNPOSTS – refer back to the question when you Explain and in the conclusion to show the reader you are on the right track – you’re answering the question! Use STEVE the SKYDIVER to help you plan an essay on poetry! Come to BLACKBOARDFICTION.COM for more!
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