How to Read and Enjoy the Classics

How to Read Poems Step by Step: an Index to Steps 1 – 10

Learn how to unlock the meaning of poems and get more out of the poems you read! Here is a linked index to Read Great Literature’s ten posts that explain the process step-by-step.

Step 1: Notice a Poem’s Title

Step 2: Understanding the Author, Era, and Dramatic Situation of a Poem

Step 3: Experiencing Imagery in Poetry

Step 4: Emotional Tone and Concrete v. Abstract Language in Poetry

Step 5: Distinguishing Literal and Figurative Language in Poetry

Step 6: Understanding Metaphors and Figures of Speech in Poems

Step 7: Expect the “Mind Twist,” the Turn in Meaning in Poems

Step 8: Hear the Magnificent Sounds in Poetry

Step 9: Understanding Formal Rhythm and Meter in Poetry

Step 10 (and Step 1, 2, 3 . . !): Just Fall In!


Guided Poetry Read-Along for three different poems HERE


  1. Megan C

    Thank you, MJ, for your insightful commentaries! Just found your page today. I am an undergrad student who is currently working on my understanding of poetry. All this is very helpful advice!
    (Please don’t spam my email 😉

    • MJ Booklover

      Megan, so glad you found “How to Read Poetry” series helpful. I hope it leads you to enjoy reading all kinds of great poetry. Let your fellow students know about our website too. Don’t worry–no spam will come from us. We do not use or sell your email address, and won’t send you any newsletters alerting you to new posts unless you sign up for them yourself, a separate process. (You would use the pop-up form or the link to the form in the sidebar.) I really appreciate your comment!

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