KPrice
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Hi,
Does anyone have a good structure or method for analysing poetry? I'm good at the actual analysis when annotating the poem but whenever I start writing about the poem in my essay I just feel like I can't get my point across. Any help would be much appreciated!
Thank you!
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Hgalpin
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I'd say that that's a 'good' problem to have, if such a thing exists! All you have to do is translate your analysis into coherent paragraphs - it would be much worse if you were struggling to annotate the poem in the first place. Do you have essay questions where you have to compare two poems or do you have to talk about one individual poem?

If it's two poems then I find the best way is to create a quick plan before you get going and have several features they both share e.g. natural imagery or colour imagery, then tie the language/evidence to the idea rather than taking the language and trying to create an idea around it, if that makes sense? That way you can really clearly make your point then strengthen it with the language you've picked out, rather than trying to say something about the language but not being sure/making it clear which direction you're taking it in.

Structurally I would start off with your simplest point - the most straightforward that you know you can write about easily. This is especially useful when doing a timed essay as otherwise you can end up spending too much time planning and running out of time anyway. After this, you can perhaps move to more complex ideas. If you don't have any points that are more complex than others, then just start with the point you're most confident writing about.

Keep referring to the language you've picked out if it's a language point, make sure you're always talking about the idea and how that's shown through the use of that particular language device - this way you can avoid going off on tangents that don't answer the question or make the point become muddled.

If there are structural features you can talk about it, try and fit this in as it can count towards the marks as (at least for my exam board) one of the AOs is language, form /and/ structure so don't completely focus on language - although this is often the easiest way to get going and pick up marks.

Not sure how helpful any of this is, I might be of more use if I knew the kind of questions you're asked to answer/exam board etc?
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The Grand Design
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I had a great teacher who helped me analyse poetry and helped me to achieve full marks in my coursework so hopefully I can give you some techniques. What usually gets you the marks is layers of meaning, so draw out what a particular feature means and analyse what it means, then also draw out more possible meanings to that feature, it also helps if these meaning are very subtle.
If you feel like you can't get your point across trying drawing a plan before you start, note down what you want to talk about and when, and maybe even a word limit would help so you're almost forced to get your point across? My teacher also gave us a sheet of words to use, some of these included: suggests, implies, illustrates, conveys, shows, etc. If you use synonyms of these you should be able to get your points across.
Also, it depends on the question your essay is answering and the poems you use. I did war poetry and spoke about the realities of warfare, spirituality in warfare and other emotions which were supported by the poems. Hope that helped a little
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KPrice
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(Original post by Hgalpin)
I'd say that that's a 'good' problem to have, if such a thing exists! All you have to do is translate your analysis into coherent paragraphs - it would be much worse if you were struggling to annotate the poem in the first place. Do you have essay questions where you have to compare two poems or do you have to talk about one individual poem?

If it's two poems then I find the best way is to create a quick plan before you get going and have several features they both share e.g. natural imagery or colour imagery, then tie the language/evidence to the idea rather than taking the language and trying to create an idea around it, if that makes sense? That way you can really clearly make your point then strengthen it with the language you've picked out, rather than trying to say something about the language but not being sure/making it clear which direction you're taking it in.

Structurally I would start off with your simplest point - the most straightforward that you know you can write about easily. This is especially useful when doing a timed essay as otherwise you can end up spending too much time planning and running out of time anyway. After this, you can perhaps move to more complex ideas. If you don't have any points that are more complex than others, then just start with the point you're most confident writing about.

Keep referring to the language you've picked out if it's a language point, make sure you're always talking about the idea and how that's shown through the use of that particular language device - this way you can avoid going off on tangents that don't answer the question or make the point become muddled.

If there are structural features you can talk about it, try and fit this in as it can count towards the marks as (at least for my exam board) one of the AOs is language, form /and/ structure so don't completely focus on language - although this is often the easiest way to get going and pick up marks.

Not sure how helpful any of this is, I might be of more use if I knew the kind of questions you're asked to answer/exam board etc?
That was really helpful, thank you! My exam board is AQA and the question we were asked was too "explore how Robert Frost presents the 'road' as a symbol of the choices we make in life. The poem is called 'The Road Not Taken'. This is only a practise for unseen poetry and it seems like a fairly easy question but I found it difficult to get into a different mind-set (we've just finished our other piece of coursework). Anyway thank you so much for your help!
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KPrice
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(Original post by The Grand Design)
I had a great teacher who helped me analyse poetry and helped me to achieve full marks in my coursework so hopefully I can give you some techniques. What usually gets you the marks is layers of meaning, so draw out what a particular feature means and analyse what it means, then also draw out more possible meanings to that feature, it also helps if these meaning are very subtle.
If you feel like you can't get your point across trying drawing a plan before you start, note down what you want to talk about and when, and maybe even a word limit would help so you're almost forced to get your point across? My teacher also gave us a sheet of words to use, some of these included: suggests, implies, illustrates, conveys, shows, etc. If you use synonyms of these you should be able to get your points across.
Also, it depends on the question your essay is answering and the poems you use. I did war poetry and spoke about the realities of warfare, spirituality in warfare and other emotions which were supported by the poems. Hope that helped a little
I really appreciate this help, this is the first time our class is doing unseen poetry so thank you for the tips!
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