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How To Analyze A Poem

In case you know or may not know, few simple steps are required of you to analysis a poem to the best of your ability. They are in a question form:
(1) What few explanations can I give regarding the backgound of the poet?
(2) What recipes (poetic devices) do the poem acquire?
(3) What explanation can I give about the poem's connotation and denotation?
(4) What categor(ies) can the poem be placed?
(5) What other poem(s) can you place side by side with the poem you're analyzing?

It shows that by the time you begin answering the questions ome after the other, poetic analysis has began.

Some poems do have anonymous author maybe because they are traditional oral generated poems or maybe some unforeseen circumstances separated from their authors without retrace. Theose kind of poem ease the labor in poetic analysis since none will crucify you for not unearthing the broad background. Some poems do have real author and the translator to a different language. You must strive to give few background of both names involved to clear confusion. You are expected to give the right account of what you know about the poet (date of birth, date of death, family background, career life, marital life, achievements, etc).

The form,setting,mood,figures of speech found in the poem will be a great knowledge to those reading your analysis.
Under this atmosphere, you'll figure out what type of poem it is. There are various types of poems (elegy,ballard,sonnet,sestina,acoustic,haiku,limerick,cinquain,diamonte,etc) which means you must study types of poem. You must be able to explain whether the poem is a free verse or blank verse and be able to point out the rhythm or rhyme scheme pattern if they exist within the poem you are analyzing. You will speak of the diction of the poem, the mood, the setting, etc. Diction can be referred to as the level of words' clarity and their mode of presentation. Setting is the place or period or circumstance surrounding the event of the poem "Salute To The Elephant" has a rural forest setting. Mood is the mental or emotional state of the character in the poem. "To His Coy Mistress" has a worry mood. There are over 500 figures of speech or poetic devices but as a beginner you can at first get familiar with the common ones like simile, metaphor, imagery, personification, litotes, irony and see whether you can find few of them in the poem you're analyzing; later you can start learning the remaining like merism, zuegma, anachronism, etc.

To analyze the connotation and denotation, you must understand what two words mean. Connotation is the deeper meaning, literary meaning, suggested meaning, implied meaning of a poem. Denotation is the surface meaning, explicit meaning, literal meaning of a poem; this where you figure the themes of the poem and its subject matter. You can explain the denotation of a poem by narrating the account of the poem in a prose form and while doing so, you must endeavor to shed light on some ambiguities in the poem.

There are so many categories for poem: religious, political, natural, romantic, lusty, lullaby, teenage, war, friendship, horror, crime, sport, travel, humor, etc. You identify where the poem belong. Poem can belong to more than one category. "Snake" by D.H. Lawrence should go under the category for nature. "A Taxi Driver On His Death" by Timothy Wangusa should be placed under the travel category.

You have any poem that looks similar either in message or style with the one you're analyzing then it is a good idea to compare and contrast. "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost is similar to "Parable" by William Soutar. "Richard Cory" by Edward A. Robinson is similar to "The Icon Of My Town" by Samuel C. Enunwa.

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Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings soaring up high)

Analysis Of To His Coy Mistress By Andrew Marvel

ANALYSIS OF TO HiS COY MISTRESS BY ANDREW MARVELL (1621-1678)

The poem was written in an iambic tetrameter with a rhyme couplet. It told a story of a man in love with a very coy maiden who so cherished her virtue and unwilling to sacrifice it for romantic love or lust.

The man had to woo and persuade with reasons why they should fall in love and "roll all our strength and all our sweetness up into one ball and tear our pleasures with rough strife through the iron gates of life"

There are (1) theme of romantic love or lust (2) theme of human mortality and its effect on beauty (3) them of time and its effect on human existence


First stanza of the poem was devoted to reveal the level of love the poem speaker had for the coy mistress "my vegetable love should grow/ vaster than empires and more slow" line 11 and 12. He further showed that his love for the coy mistress was not only because of her beauty "but thirty thousand to the rest / an age at least to every part/ and the last age should show your heart/ for lady, you deserve this state/ nor would I love at lower rate."


Human mortality and its effect on beauty was another theme in the poem. He revealed in the second stanza that when the coy mistress die without loving him, her beauty will turn to waste and her so cherished virtue " worms shall try/ and that long preserved virginity/ and your quaint honour turn to dust/ and ashes all my lust"


The theme of time and its effect on was evident in the poem. The poet or poem speaker made it known that time was something the had no control over "had we but world enough and time/ this coyness, lady were no crime" line 1 and 2. "But at my back I always hear/ time's winged chariot hurrying near" line 21 and 22.

Few of the figures of speech are:

Alliteration in line 2 "coyness, lady were no crime" in line 3 was "which way" in line 20 was "love at lower rate"

Allusion was in line 5 to line 10

Imageries seen in virtually all the lines of the poem gave the readers a clear knowledge of the message "in thy marble vault" line 26 of the poem " the grave is a fine and private place" in line 32 "than languish in his slow-chapped power" in line 40.

Metaphor in line 11 "vegetable love" comparing his love to vegetables growing. "Deserts of vast eternity" in line 24

Personification "before us lie deserts of vast eternity" "while the youthful hue sits on thy skin" And Simile in line 34 "on thy skin like morning dew".

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Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings soaring)

My Colour By Wale Ogunwole

Every time I see the sunshine I wonder,
Why our blessed nation is going asunder.
If the birds in the sky,
Could treasure their nest till they die
With undisguised pride and honour,
Regardless of their feathers' colour,
What becomes of us black
That cherish not our mother's back?
I am black and am proud,
In the crowd I will say it loud
To us I will say it first,
Save another day for the west.
Cause I need no embassies
For the sun that shines in America,
Is the same that shines in Africa
So take away my fame
It will bring no shame
Take away my lover,
And even make my life over
But take away not my colour,
Cause in it lays my honour.
©Wale Ogunwole (a BDS graduate of University of Ibadan)

Preoccupation Of Lenrie Peters In The Panic Of Growing Older

Lenrie Peters preoccupation in the poem: "The Panic Of Growing Older" can be considered as how some factors (time,ambition,hope,etc) affect the adult stage of human beings.

Lenrie Peters, the author of the poem, took age 20 upwards as his case study to show how the events of adulthood unfold. He revealed that a person begins adulthood with beautiful hopes:
"at twenty
stilled by hope
of gigantic success
and exploration"

Ten years later, one has gained the achievement of raising a family (which is not an achievement at all because such will surely occur as an adult), one becomes unnecessarily busy in domesticity that won't give room of seeing the moon, one begins to suffer emotional pains due to inability to achieve exp

What Do You Like About Ambush By Gbemisola Adeoti

There are so much to be liked about the poem; starting from The title of the poem, The fusion of repetition and metaphor to create perfect imageries, The rural depiction within the poem, The use of nature to draw the poem closer to reality, etc.

Let's broaden them one after the other. The title of the poem speaks openly the intention of the poem. It reveals that danger is embedded in the poem and there will be hunters (giant hawk, giant whale) and preys (the people, the sinker) in the poem.

Another thing to be liked about Ambush by Gbemisola Adeoti is how the poet manage to join repetition and personification in creating perfect imageries. "The land" was repeated many times in the poem while serving as metaphors. Example is "The land is a giant whale", "The land is a saber toothed tiger", "The land is a giant hawk", etc.

It became evident in the poem that the poem held a rural setting with the usage of "saber toothed tiger that cries deep in the glade/ while infants shudder home" and "lies patiently ahead/awaiting in ambush"; is worthy of creating likeness in a reader.

The poet drew the poem close reality with the use of nature and natural things. Things like animals (whale, tiger, hawk, etc) and natural things (dusk, space, dreams, etc) made the poem take the look of reality and could be easily related to what readers must have seen or may possibly see.

Ambush is an awesome poem and it a very intelligent poet as Gbemisola Adeoti to have written such.

MUST NOT MISS:-
Analysis of Ambush by Gbemisola Adeoti

Describe Ambush as Metaphor of Societal Evil

Preoccupation of Gbemisola Adeoti in Ambush

What Are The Significances of The Three Animals in the Poem Ambush by Gbemisola Adeoti

Gbemisola Adeoti and Hard Lines

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Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying high)

Analysis Of Life In Our Village By Markwei Martie

In our little village
When elders are around,
Boys must not look at girls
And girls must not look at boys
Because the elders say
That is not good.

Even wn night comes
Boys must play separately,
Girls must play separately.
But humanity is weak
So boys and girls meet.

The boys play hide and seek
And the girls play hide and seek.
The boys know where the girls hide
And the girls know where the boys hide_
So in their hide and seek,
Boys seek girls,
And each to each sing
Songs of love.
©Markwei Martie

The author of the poem, Life In Our Village, is a Ghanaian poet and writer, he later took to religious path and career.

Looking at the poem which has 3 stanzas of unequal lines, the first stanza talks about the reason why boys and girls must not play together, the second stanza stated the reason why boys and girls didn't heed the advice and played together, the final stanza was about the outcome of the boys and girls play together.

The spoke of reality in an entertaining way. It held a classic rural setting (like in the days when moon

What Are The Theme In The Anvil And The Hammer By Kofi Awoonor

This post tends to point at few themes in the Kofi Awoonor's "The Anvil And The Hammer"; in order to get larger discussion about the poem [check complete analysis of the anvil and the hammer by kofi awoonor]

"Caught between the anvil and the hammer
In the forging house of a new life,
Transforming the pangs that delivered me
Into the joy of new songs
The trapping of the past, tender and tenuous
Woven with fibre of sisal and
Washed in the blood of the goat in the fetish hut
Are laced with the flimsy glories of paved streets
The jargon of a new dialectic comes with the
Charisma of the perpetual search on the outlaw’s ..." is a two stanza poem with a political setting.

Simple languages and imageries of the poem help the symbolisms embedded within. The candid tone of the poem speaker proved a feeling of triumph.

Let's take this moment to enjoy the Theme of Cultural Contrast (which can also be called Clash of

Describe The Feelings Of The Poet In Dry Your Tears Africa By BernardDadie

Like every long travel (the case where someone has been away for a very long time) part of the feelings such a person will develop are naka ot so different from the ones the poet developed before writing or composing this poem.

Bernard Binlin Dadie, an ivorian poet, wrote this masterpiece to prove to Africa,his motherland, that he had compared home and abroad and realised that home is better; he even mentioned how waste of time, travelling has been in line 3 and 10; "Out of the storm and squalls of fruitless journeys"

The feelings of the poet in "Dry Your Tears, Africa" brought about the following themes: the theme of assurance, nost

Deep Analysis Of Post Mortem By Wole Soyinka

Post Mortem was written by the Nigerian world class poet, Prof. Wole Soyinka.

Denotation
The poem began with the poem speaker, preferring dead plants to dead human beings because human beings become stiff and cold "in the cold hand of death..."(line 4) and everything in them become opposite: their talking become "cotton filled", their manhood or man-pike become small like larva of an insect.

The poem speaker in the third and forth stanza revealed the futility of post mortem where the dead man's head was hollowed and his brain was scaled when death had already done a damage no medical practitioners could recover.

The poem ended with the encourag

Analysis Of The School Boy By William Blake

For broader understanding,
[naijapoets recommend you read:- The Summary and Themes Of The Schoolboy]

The Poem
"I love to rise in a summer morn,
Where the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the skylark sings with me:
O what sweet company!

But to go to school in a summer morn
O it drives all joy way!
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little one spends the day
In sighing

The Things I've Learned (by Missdestiny)

I've learned that knowing "what matters most", seldom happens until it's too late.

That success isn't measured in dollars or assets, but in the company you keep and how much you laugh each day.

That if you can't stay lovers, you should at least stay friends - and if you can't, it was probably never?true love to begin with.

That the best friends are the old ones. They knew you then and still see the "real you" now, even when you're pretend
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