Analyzing Poetry

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Snuggling Up to the Language of Poetry

At times, language seems spiritual, as insubstantial as breath on a winter's day. Everything seems slathered and permeated with language — it's how we think and how we see. Yet language is also a physical [more…]

A Crash Course in Poetic History

Poems represent some of the greatest works of literature assembled. Peruse these noteworthy poems to see some of the early creations and how poetry evolved: [more…]

Quick Poetry Quiz

Test your knowledge of poetry by taking this quick quiz. You can learn some cool facts about poets and their works — and impress your friends the next time you get together. [more…]

Understanding the Subject of a Poem

The subject of a poem is the idea or thing that the poem concerns or represents. Looking for the poem's subject is natural. Almost all poetry has messages to deliver — lots of them, profound and diverse [more…]

Understanding the Tone of a Poem

The tone of a poem is the attitude you feel in it — the writer's attitude toward the subject or audience. The tone in a poem of praise is approval. In a satire, you feel irony. In an antiwar poem, you [more…]

How to Figure Out the Narrative of a Poem

Many poets are also storytellers, and as storytellers, they, too, use all the elements of narration. When reading narrative poems consider the narrative elements: [more…]

What to Expect at a Poetry Slam

Poetry slams are a form of poetry reading that are not for the faint of heart. Poetry slams are, most commonly, competitive readings at which audience reaction, or the reaction of a panel of judges, decides [more…]

The Importance of Pauses in Poems

One of the most powerful tools in any reader's arsenal is the pause. Where do pauses occur in a poem? Wherever you see a powerful moment. Such moments include [more…]

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