How to Write Poetry Analysis Essay Guide Plus a Cool Example!


Is it easy for you to recognize the work of the favorite poet from the opening lines? It is a good author if a reader recognizes the original style from the initial few lines of a poem or any other kind of work, and every student has a chance to become a world-known artist if he masters how to write a poetry analysis essay. Learning how to write an analytical essay on a piece of poetry is a bit different from studying the ways to analyze other types of literature.

So, the very first question we have here is - What is analysis?

  • We use this method to respond to complex matters.
  • We separate parts to understand the whole.

Look for…

  1. ideas that connect;
  2. significant patterns;
  3. relationships between the parts of a work.

The purpose of a poetry analysis essay is to carefully examine and sometimes evaluate a work of literature or an aspect of a work of literature. As with any analysis, this requires you to break the subject down into its component parts. Examining the different elements of a piece of literature is not an end in itself but rather a process to help you better appreciate and understand the work of literature as a whole. For instance, an analysis of a poem might deal with the different types of images in a poem or with the relationship between the form and content of the work.

Essential Poetry Analysis Questions

  • What purpose does this poetic/literary device serve?
  • How does the author communicate his or her purpose through this device?
  • Why do readers have this response to the poetic device? 

If you were to analyze (discuss and explain) a play, you might analyze the relationship between a subplot and the main plot, or you might analyze the character flaw of the tragic hero by tracing how it is revealed through the acts of the play. Analyzing a short story might include identifying a particular theme (like the difficulty of making the transition from adolescence to adulthood) and showing how the writer suggests that theme through the point of view from which the story is told; or you might also explain how the main character‟s attitude toward women is revealed through his dialogue and/or actions.

As you develop your writing skills, you will also improve your perceptions and increase your critical abilities. Writing ultimately boils down to the development of an idea. Your objective in writing a poetry analysis essay is to convince the person reading your essay that you have supported the idea you are developing. Unlike ordinary conversation and classroom discussion, writing must stick with great determination to the specific point of development. Therefore, your essay must have a central idea (thesis), it must have several paragraphs that grow systematically out of the central idea, and everything in it must be directly related to the central idea and must contribute to the reader’s understanding of that central idea.

The Elements of a Solid Essay

The Thesis Statement 

The thesis statement tells your reader what to expect: it is a restricted, precisely worded declarative sentence that states the purpose of your essay -- the point you are trying to make. Without a carefully conceived thesis, an essay has no chance of success. The following are thesis statements which would work for a 500-750 word poetry analysis essay. Typically, the thesis statement falls at the end of your introductory paragraph. 

Introduction to Poetry Analysis and Other Outline Elements

A student may write an outline in the following way:

  1. Introduction to poetry analysis always look this way: Introduce the selected piece of literature by summarizing/describing it. Provide an important context. The last thing to do is to create a powerful thesis statement to demonstrate a writer’s point of view along with personal judgments. It is not obligatory to base a thesis on a student’s opinion.
  2. Body of the poem evaluation may be written in 2 different ways:
    - identify theme/pattern. Add examples from the analyzed piece of a poem in the shape of direct & indirect quotations to provide credible evidence;
    - evaluate the primary section of the poem. Analyze the second section of the poem, etc.
  3. Conclusion remains the same as a rule. Begin with restating the thesis sentence, show how the text meets the author’s goals (works), and explain what it means using both author’s and own words.

The Title of Your Essay 

It is essential that you give your essay a title that is descriptive of the approach you are taking in your paper. Just as you did in your introductory paragraph, try to get the reader's attention. Using only the title of the literary work you are examining is unsatisfactory. 

Selecting Proper Poetry Analysis Essay Topic

One of the integral parts of learning how to write poetry analysis is choosing the appropriate poem analysis essay topic. Avoid selecting weird poem pieces you have never heard of before. Focus on the poetry you have read to save time on reading & comprehension activities and try to select a poem, which could be described creatively. Reread the chosen poem, in any case, to write down things you consider important to include in the essay (example: citations). It is not enough to decide on the specific poem. A student should choose between several different subject areas within the poem, and experts recommend selecting the fields a student feels competent in. It is easy to realize if the topic suits a student. Try to make a thesis statement on the given problem to see if it is possible to offer a sound argument.

Poetry Analysis Essay Example

The most critical factor that could help to understand how to write a poetry evaluation essay is a good literature analysis essay example. Here you will also find a relevan poetry analysis essay introduction example. We will start with a poem analysis for middle or high school.

“A Poet to His Beloved“ by famed Irish Revival poet William Butler Yeats is a succinct dedication to a lover, but with a bittersweet feel. Employing exacting and florid metaphors, Yeats lulls us to a climatic end in just a few lines. The power of the poem is felt in its economy and word choice.


The first two lines are simple, but work efficiently in their originality:

I BRING you with reverent hands

The books of my numberless dreams,


The first line notes the delicacy with which the author is delivering his prized verse. Note how the “i” sound carries the line forward, giving weight to its reading. The poet goes straight to the action instead of giving a backstory, which is a more accepted technique nowadays in poetry. The second line is at once metaphorical and objective: the reader understands what Yeats means, and yet there is a mystery to it. In this line, the “o” and “u” sounds work well together to create melody, drawing the reader further into the poet’s words with encouragement.

The subsequent couplet begins a stream of direct metaphors that Yeats uses to illustrate the intensity of his adoration and reflection:

White woman that passion has worn
As the tide wears the dove-grey sands,


In this case, “white” refers to purity, not in a racial sense. Passion is being described as a deterrent to purity by saying that it been degraded by delving into personal desires. The “w” sound supplies it with a wispy feel, and which provides “passion” with an extra punch. What is also intriguing is Yeats’ use of the word “worn” as a double meaning of “wearing something” and “degrade.” The second line truly demonstrates Yeats capacity for metaphor. He creates an illustrative image that is at once original and understandable. Like the best poetry, the metaphor is used to enhance meaning, not just as a form of glitter.

And with heart more old than the horn
That is brimmed from the pale fire of time:

White woman with numberless dreams,
I bring you my passionate rhyme.


Once again, Yeats uses alliteration as a rare comparison and with a great sense of sound. His use of the “o” sound is also evident in the first line, allowing readers to almost hear the sound of the horn itself. The way the word “brimmed” comes in the second line is brilliant, as the image it creates is exacting and unique. Along with the accompanying metaphor “pale fire of time” Yeats does a splendid job at imprinting an image in the readers’ mind.

The last two lines make a recourse to the beginning of the poem with “numberless dreams.” He shows the interconnection of love between the poet and his lover. The last line works well sonically, as “bring” and “rhyme” work as half-rhymes. When I finished reading the poem for the first time, I was astounded at its force and economy. After reading the poem several more times over, I found the meaning had changed for me, yet my admiration had only grown.

Essay Tips

  1. Your essay must have a central idea (stated in your thesis) that governs its development.
  2. Your essay must be organized so that every part contributes something to the reader’s understanding of the central idea.
  3. Assume that your reader is NOT familiar with the author or poem.
  4. Tell your reader what the poem is about (not what happens, but what the happenings add up to).
  5. Write in third person!!!