Teach English in Mexico


Ten Steps for Writing an Essay About a Poem

When it comes to writing an essay about a poem, there are specific items that need to be included in the essay.  Depending on the parameters of the assignment, the student can focus on different concepts of the poem. The essay for the poem can be broken up into categories.  The essay for the poem should always follow the classic essay design.  

Layout of Essay

  • Introduction: The introduction of the essay should tell what poem the student is writing about.  This should include the full title and the author’s name, publication date, and where the poem is published.  Then the student should make a thesis statement about the poem.  
  • Thesis Statement: This statement should be the guiding point of the poem.  This statement should encompass the student’s thoughts on the poem and how the poem impacted that student.
  • Body: The body of the essay should break the poem down by the parts of the poem (see the following list for more details and steps). This is where the student will defend their thesis statement with supporting evidence.  
  • Conclusion: The conclusion gives the student the opportunity to neatly tie the essay in a bow.  Restating the thesis statement and restating how the evidence supports that theory.

Division of the Body

  • Understand the Objective:  An essay about a poem is to take a really in depth look at the poem and to find the hidden meanings.  In other words an essay on a poem is to find out why the author chose the phrases they have.   The student must explore what the point of the poem was, and express their knowledge.
  • Genre: One part of the essay is discussing what the genre of the poem is.  The student can discuss if the poem is an epic poem, an ode, or a lyric.  Discuss how that affects the meaning of the poem.  This is a place in the essay where the student can discuss what the requirements for the genre are and why it fits into that genre.
  • Theme: Themes are very important in writing.  Discussing the theme of the poem in the essay is when the student can really flush out what the poem is about.
  • Versification: Discussing why the poem uses rhyme and meter can give insight into the focus and themes of the poem.  Breaking the poem down to syllables in line counts can really improve the essay about the poem, and display the students technical knowledge.  
  • Figures of Speech: Using this in your essay will allow you to talk about the metaphor, simile, personification, irony, and litotes of the poem.  How the author used these to express the meaning behind the poem is a pivotal part of the interpretation of the writing.
  • Cultural Context:  Including this in the essay allows the student to write about the timing of the essay.  What was going on in the world, or the life of the author (if known) to give more clues of the meaning behind the poem.

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