Effectively Interpreting a Poem for an Academic Assignment

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Poetry is a literary form which is extremely fascinating to those who admire the intricacies of English literature. It is very essential for literature students to build a thorough knowledge of poetry and its various forms to proceed with their education. It is necessary to know how to interpret a poem while dealing with a writing assignment on it.

The first step is to figure out the purpose of the assignment. Study the guidelines carefully to find out if you have been asked to interpret it from the point of view of the poet himself or herself. If yes, then a detailed background study of the poem in question would be necessary. Look for sources which will give you information about what had triggered off the poet’s imagination and what theme he had considered.

But if the poem is to be interpreted through your view point, then, it would be very important to do a thorough study of all the aspects related to the poem. The background information on the poem will make it easier to follow what the poet is talking about. The context in which the poem was written, the poet’s literary background, the style and the technical aspects are a few things which can help while attempting to interpret it from your own point of view. A reasonable knowledge of these facts is essential for preparing an outstanding essay even if none of these are a part of the main question.

In order to interpret a poem, it is also essential to have a good vocabulary. But there is no need to worry if your vocabulary isn’t strong enough. It can be developed slowly along with your writing assignments. Whenever you come across a word you do not know, check it up immediately. Without knowing the meaning of all the words used in a poem, you will not be able to interpret it.

Poets use many techniques to make the poem more interesting. Pun and irony are a few of them. Understanding how the same words are used to convey different meanings is vital to being able to effectively interpret the lyrics.

Do not read the poem the way you would read prose. Prose is simple and straight forward. Poetry is not. It is sophisticated and full of twists and turns and hidden facts. Certain poetic forms like dramatic monologues are written in such a way that a single person, through a long conversation, tells not only a complete story but also draws a very clear picture of himself and the other main characters of the story. Hence while trying to interpret a poem; you will be dealing with a hundred hidden interpretations instead of one direct one.

For a person with a flair for poetry, reading, understanding and interpreting a poem will be the most delightful of tasks. But for the less fortunate ones who find themselves lost while trying to make sense of the poetic imagination, such a writing assignment becomes a tough project. If you need any help with your essay, research paper or term paper on a particular poem, our experienced academic writers will be able to assist you.

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