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 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
Mary Jane is a longtime literature lover who lived in the Cincinnati area for many years, then in central Louisiana for three years (what a treat!), teaching literature classes at universities in both locations. Now back in the Cincinnati area, she pampers her grandchildren, experiments with cooking, and visits art museums as often as possible.
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 😉
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!