A poetic essay evaluates a poem. It analyzes the words, sounds, feelings, and topics that the poet uses in the poem.
A poetry essay should include an analysis of the topic, message, rhythm, and word choice. It should have both an introduction and a conclusion.
Guide to Writing Your Poetic Essay
1. Introduce Your Poem with an Introductory Paragraph
Write the title of the poem and its author. Give a brief summary of the poem’s contents. A brief summary of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” for example, would state that the speaker of the poem is longing for his lost love and becomes beguiled by a raven that speaks only one word, “nevermore.”
2. Write About the Poetic Language and Imagery
Does the poet use precise and vivid vocabulary to create detailed images? What literary devices are used to enhance meanings?
Answer these questions by explaining and analyzing specific examples from the poem. Tell how the poet creates those images.
A good example of this would be the poetry essay found at Bookstove.com. The poetry essay analyzes Poe’s use of simile and metaphor in “The Raven.”
3. Write About Sound and Sense
Does the poet use rhythm and meter to create meaningful sounds in the poem? Which word sounds does the poet use to create pictures?
Does the poet use vocabulary that appeals to the five senses? Answer these questions by explaining in your poetry essay how the poet’s choice of words creates meaningful sound.
For example, a poetry essay on Poe’s “Raven” would show how the ABCBBB rhyme scheme helps to create a deeper sense of melancholy.
4. Write About Emotion and Feeling
Is the poet creating a feeling or mood? Does the poem evoke an emotional response? Answer these questions in your poetry essay by explaining what kind of response the poet is trying to evoke in his audience.
A poetry essay on “The Raven” would describe how the use of melancholy word choices and repetition, coupled with the creepy raven and mourning for the lost Lenore, create a deep sense of sadness and despair for the reader.
5. Write a Conclusion to your Poetry Essay
Explain the author’s intent with the poem and whether or not he or she achieved that goal. Support your opinion with details from the poem.
Poetic Essay Examples
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 relevant poetry analysis essay introduction example. We will start with a poem analysis for middle school.
Karl Shapiro, the author of “Auto Wreck” poem was born in Baltimore, Maryland. The fact the author was Jewish and felt denied by the rest of the students at the University of Virginian can be seen in the lines of his poem. His wish to change the name to sound more Germanic made him a betrayal in the eyes of Jewish society.
The poem is based on a real-life car crash. No one knows if Shapiro has witnessed the accident or heard about it in the news. As for the physical assessment of the poem, it has 259 words, 39 lines, and stanzas 36.
The poem begins with a description of an ambulance hurrying up to the place of a horrible car crash to prevent the appearance of victims. It picks the suffering people to transform them into the hospital. The major theme of the poem is death because most of the car crash participants used to die as a result of that event.
The author observes the illogical nature of mortality by comparing the accident with other types of death lie war or illness. The mood of the poem is gloomy and reflective. It is a lyric type of poem – it provides a reader with a detailed description of the situation without telling a specific story.
I have chosen this specific poem due to the realistic images. They allowed me to feel the pain from the loss. I believe the author discusses a morbid issue, but the theme is relevant to every human being because each of us will die one day and nobody knows when it will happen.
The most impressive line to me is, “One with a bucket douches ponds of blood.” It means that a policeman washes away the exaggerated ponds of blood left after the car crash. Another similar poem I can recall is “Death Be Not Proud” by John Donne. These two authors discuss the theme of mortality. Unlike Shapiro, who looks perplexed by the theme, Donne rejects the power of death and makes fun of it.
We start with a kigo, or seasonal reference. A spring breeze could mean many things: how flourishing carries on, how a new beginning is prolonged, and so on. The poet uses an ellipsis appropriately, signifying that something is continuing. Putting the haiku in italics shows the effect of the breeze.
From the second line, we have a new nun who is shivering. What is she shivering from? The spring breeze, excitement, nervousness, or something else? We are not told, but that mystery makes readers compelled to read further and to investigate the haiku.
In the third line, we have a cloister, which is a covered or open walk/sanctuary in a nunnery or monastery. So, it seems this haiku is portraying the first few moments a new nun has outside the actual nunnery. By having “a,” the poet leaves the experience open to other nuns as something universal.
Personally, “shivers” sounds spiritual to me. It could be the feeling of the holy spirit, and the spring breeze is also reminiscent of the holy spirit that is supposed to flow through holy people. The poet left just enough room for us to ponder it and to find something remarkable in its juxtaposition.
The sound of the haiku is important too. “new nun” has alliteration and sounds better than “novice nun.” The “i” sound in “spring,” “shivers,” and “cloisters” makes reading it more impacting.
An all-around strong haiku.
A Poem of Kabir
Kabir, a 15th-century saint and poet from India, wrote poems that rallied against organized religion and called for divine experience rather than dogma.
His poems are usually simple but profound, having metaphors that are easy even for laypeople to understand, with some exceptions.
In a land full of religions and spiritual practices, Kabir exposed the hypocrisy of rituals practiced by those where he lived. His poems are still potent today, and we can still learn from his poetry in our time of jihad, Christian-democratic wars, and battles between religious sects.
There is a tradition in India bathe in waters deemed holy. It is believed these waters will cleanse people’s spiritual state and even rectify individuals for their past mistakes. Kabir is saying this belief is mere superstition rather than fact. This is an important message, as people in India generally believe this to be so true, that they bathe in a holy river one time and think they have been released from of all of their karma.
The images he is talking about are the idols people worship, usually in the form of the gods Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, or Ganesha. Kabir is essentially saying God is formless, and cannot be placed in idols, which are human made. In Hinduism, it is a common practice to place idols in temples, in the home, or in the workplace and worship them as God itself.
This is a controversial stanza, as Muslims regard the Koran as the absolute word of God, untarnished. This is also true for most religious people and the holy books they use. But Kabir believes these holy books are not experiential, and therefore merely words. When he says “lifting up the curtain” he means to say he saw the holy books in person, which were usually only read by high people in society at the time, and not a weaver like Kabir.
This stanza explains why Kabir displayed his animosity towards the holy bathing places, idols, and holy books. He says only experience is the true spirituality and not completing rituals. The mundane activities we do in life cannot connect us to God, but only the experience of God itself can give us salvation.