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Reading and Analysis of Poetry (not a poem)

Reading and Analysing Poetry

As a poet when you read your peers poetry is it a quick read, instant opinion and move on? Do you really think about the content of the poem, the technique, how well crafted it is. What the message really is? Do you tick like because the poet posted a poem, and make gushing comments without too much real thought? Or do you read it several times, really analyse the piece and make constructive comments? Do you hope that people will take time and trouble with reading your poetry to give it the attention it deserves?

What are the things we should think about when we reading and analysing poetry? What actions should we take?
Have a pen and paper handy or some other way of capturing thoughts.

Read the poem all the way through more than once.

Read the poem aloud, it can be semi aloud, or mouthed quietly. Feel the sounds coming from the mouth, listen to it. Poetry has rhythm and musical qualities hear them, feel them in the poem. Often the mood of the poem can be judged by the rhythm.

What does the poem look like on the page? How has the poet used line length and white space. Has the poem got a look that draws you to read or pushes you away?

Look and Think about the title.

What is the message the title has given you? What expectations does it give you? Does it tell you about the subject? Does it add to the poem, a clever metaphor that is not in the work? Does it mirror something within the poem, or is it a suprise taking the reader into uncharted territory as they read. What does this tell you about the poem and the poet.

Jot down your these initial feelings the positive and the negative ...you may change your mind later but

What words has the poet used ...look up any words you don't know, underline any words that feel important.

Take note of the meanings and connotations of the words and any patterns.

Why were particular words chosen from a whole range of words that might have said much the same? What did the poet mean by their choice of word?

What message is the poet giving?

Who is speaking, man or woman? Which tense is being used?

Can you tell the mood of the narrator?

Is the poem talking about a specific issue, making a point, an argument, telling a story, describing something?

How is the poem organized? How is it divided up? Are there individual stanzas or numbered sections? What does each section or stanza discuss? How are the sections or stanzas relate to each other? (Poems don’t usually jump around randomly; the poet probably has some sort of organization in mind, like steps in an argument, movement in time, changes in location or viewpoint, or switches in mood.)

A freer poetic form is also worth examining. What is revealing about the lack of structure?

If there are no formal divisions, try breaking down the poem sentence by sentence, or line by line. The poet’s thinking process may not be logical, but there is probably an emotional link between ideas.

Is the poet trying to get a grip on something chaotic?

What poetic devices has the poet used? Is there a rhyme scheme if so what sort? Not every poem will have a formal meter but what can you tell from the rhythm and flow.

What sort of images has the poet drawn, what can you tell from the words chosen? Has symbolism been used?

Has the poet used, similes or metaphors? Are the conations stressed are they all positive? What senses have been invoked in the poem?

Can feel you emotions within the poem?

Now that you have taken time to really know the poem reread it and consider the whole.

What is the poet trying to say? How forcefully does he or she say it and with what feeling?

Which lines bring out the meaning of the poem? Does the poet gradually lead up to the meaning of the poem or does he or she state it right at the beginning? Or does the meaning of the poem remain unclear? What do the last lines of the poem show?

How do you feel about the poem?

Is it well crafted? Has the poet taken care with word choice? Which are the lines that bring meaning to the message?

Has the poet told you the message, or has the poet made you see the images, feel the emotions along with the narrator? Is it a poem you would read again?

Was there a surprise within the poem? Did you learn something new?

Most importantly did it speak to something within you?
Samantha Beardon.

Last few words: 
Written as a workshop for a different group but Jess suggested posting here.
Editing stage: 

Comments

that your analysis of the critique process, essentially is right. You/We have to take into consideration the poet's intent and work in part to that. Read Edna's newest poem and my comments as an example.
.https://www.neopoet.com/workshop/poems/how-ednas-pussy-does-moonlight-fr...
~ Geezer.
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Our Chatroom is open 24/7 Feel free to use it for
keeping in touch We have poets around the world and it is fun
to have real-time conversations with those that are up
all night or on the other side of the world.
.

I am glad you found it funny. You were honest in your reaction which is fair enough. You obviously found the word choice, formatting and rhythm fine.
I personally may ask why he wrote it! lol

author comment

..not?
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xxx
Edna
Poet(ess) to the Stars

...but they avoid the main problem. The main problem is that most poems posted here are lucky to get more than one or two comments. Many receive no comments whatsoever from anyone at all. There are several possible reasons why (and the answer might be a combination of these and/or others):

1. Some people aren't here to read others' pieces and/orcomment, but only to post their own items. A little selfish perhaps, but let's face the facts.

2. Some people feel nervous about making suggestions for changes/improvements, well aware that the recipient may be less than pleased with the comment; also some comments I have read (but hopefully not made!) are totally misguided and thus unhelpful.

3. Some posted items are so confusingly written that it is quite difficult to make any meaningful comment - one can't comment on something one doesn't understand in the slightest.

4. Some posted items are so appallingly badly written that any half-truthful comment would probably be insulting which does no one any good.

Some POSSIBLE solutions might be:-
a) to only allow a member to post a new poem AFTER (s)he has commented on at least X other poems (probably with a minimum word count each time);.
b) to bring up a prompt after you have visited a poem asking you to comment;
c) to show how many comments each member has made and how many poems (s)he has posted - to shame people into commenting;
d) to show how many times a poem has been visited so the writer can see what %age of readers have commented..

At another site (no names) I posted 5 poems; after 2 weeks they had been visited/read over 200 times. They had received only 4 comments in that time. I modestly don't think that was because of explanation numbers 3 or 4 above.
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xxx
Edna
Poet(ess) to the Stars

True many people want just to post. It is true on all sites and most only want positive feedback.

The piece was written to try to help with point two people do not know how to read a poem in an analytical way, many just skim read. They have no idea how to give comment because they write poems but do not understand the craft of poetry. This sets out steps and processes that are the basis for
getting to grips with a poem. It probably will make no difference.

If one doesn't understand a poem two options ignore or comment that one doesn't understand would the poet explain,

Unless you actually train people in constructive comment I dont think you can set up policies that compell people to comment and what is the point of having ineffective comment it doesnt help anybody.

If I was told I had to comment on x amount of poems I would rebel! lol

author comment

I see Samary's post as addressing these concerns. Reader nerves from lack of experience, utterly confusing poetry, and yep, even appallingly bad writing can all be annotated (and therefore critiqued with some degree of helpfulness) using the method Samary outlines.

She is giving the tools needed to deeply/critcally read and unpack any piece of writing, whether poetry, academic essay, novel, letter/email, etc.

As for the other problems, they are difficult to tackle, maybe even unsolvable.

Kels

Critique, don't comment.
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www.lettereddandy.xyz

proposed and even tried to implement some of your suggestions Edna. However, as samary has pointed out, there is a certain amount of rebellion there. I suppose that we shall have to just limp along for now. ~ Geezer.
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Our Chatroom is open 24/7 Feel free to use it for
keeping in touch We have poets around the world and it is fun
to have real-time conversations with those that are up
all night or on the other side of the world.
.

But to me poor critique isnt worth a bean so why bother with it .
People mostly just want to post they dont want critique the few that really do will get it and give it.

author comment

a couple of comments and only a single suggested change of only one word. But that one suggested change of a single word resulted in a just OK poem becoming a pretty good one. So don't hesitate to make Any suggestion no matter how small........

Surely better to accept a little bit of "rebellion" than just sit back and watch lots of people vote with their feet when they get no comments at all! Having said that, you, Geezer, probably give 30-40% of all feedback on the site, for which you deserve acknowledgement - however one swallow doesn't make a summer.
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xxx
Edna
Poet(ess) to the Stars

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