Poetry refers to the tendency to communicate information in a meaningful sound, language portraying rhythm aspects, and diction for provoking an emotional response. Poems communicate a certain message to different people, and they are always written with a hidden meaning. It employs various stylistic devices for the sake of attracting the reader. They tend to address societal issues. Most of the poems have themes rotating around romance, drug abuse or political satire. Poems origin remains unknown. However, it is believed that is emanated from the dramatized music. In the ancient times, it did form part of religious rites and people used to make poetic performances in remembrance of the ceremonies and parties they were holding.
Poems are significant since they tend to convey an important message in a simple and summarized form. They also use hidden meaning and prevent direct language hence one has to think to understand the analytical deep meaning. Poetry utilizes illogically using tense language.
Reading a poem
Many students have a negative attitude towards poetry, perceiving it as too hard for them to understand. However, their approach in the analysis and reading a poem is the first aspect of eliminating that barrier. One cannot compare a poem to a novel, where one simply flips the pages and easily navigates the pages.
A poem demands full attention from the reader. All the eyes and the ears of the reader should be in the context. Continuous practice makes it perfect. First, one should not forget the title a close look of the title will communicate of the main theme in expression in the poem. One should not read a poem with a fixed notion that of the audience. A poem can have several meanings at a go. Read it twice to understand the deep meaning conveyed. Use a pencil in underlining the key figure of speech that has hidden the meaning. As one navigates through the poem, try to possess the mind of the poet, and ask himself what the poet wanted to communicate to the reader. Paying attention to the punctuation marks also aid in comprehending the tone of the poem. Try to paraphrase some of the sentences in personal words (Lockney and Proudfoot, pg. 150).
In the poem, there is nothing as useless words. The poet is always selective on the word used. Therefore, each word ought to be taken with care. With such analytical skills, it becomes easier to detect the audience and the speaker of the poem from the initial reading.
Paraphrasing and explication
A poetic paraphrase is different from a summary. During paraphrasing, one should recall every word and phrase in a different way expressed in the original poem. The core objective in paraphrasing is for clarification purposes, through rereading and recreating the content of the poem. A paraphrased poem may be longer than the actual poem. A good paraphrase does not fail to capture all the contents of the poem, does not repeat the words of the poem and makes clear the confusing part of a poem. It also aids in the removal of any double meaning in a statement.
Explication refers to the process of analyzing the poem in detail. The reader goes through the poem analyzing it’s narrative and plot, grammar, rhyme, and other poetical language devices used. In addition to that, the reader answers questions such as who, why, when, how and what of the poem. Essentially, the final analysis consists of the construction of a thesis or the subject topic of the poem, explanation of the poem structure, analysis of the language used, quotations used and the conclusion to wrap the argument and the message.
Lockney, Karen, and Kevin Proudfoot. “Writing the Unseen Poem: Can the Writing of Poetry Help to Support Pupils’ Engagement in the Reading of Poetry?” English in Education 47 (2013): 147–162.