Examine the title before reading the poem. Consider connontations.
Translate the poem into your own words (literal/denotation). Resist the urge to jump to interpertation. A failure to understand what happens literally inevitably leads to an interpretive misunderstandin.
- Syntactical units (complete sentences rather than line by line)
- Enjambment Vs end-stop lines
Examine the poem for meaning beyond literal.
- Effect of sound devices
tone- Examine both the speacker's and the poet's attitudes. Remember, do not confuse the author with the persona.
- Speaker's attitude toward self, other characters, and the subject
- Attitudes of characters other than the speacker
- Poet's attitude toward speacker, other characters, subject and finally toward the reader
- Poet's background information
Note shifts in speaker, attitudes
- Occasions of poem
- Key words
- Stanza Divisions
- Changes in line and/or stanza length
- Effect of structure on meaning
Examine the title again, this time on an interpretive level
First list what the poem is about (subjects); then determine what the poet is saying about each of those subjects (theme)