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Six Questions to Ask After Reading a Poem

Poems can be hard to understand sometimes, but these six questions will clear up almost any poetry mystery.

 Poems always have meanings unique to the poets, but we readers take away our own meanings too. Sometimes, we just don’t get it yet.  That is when these six questions can help us demystify a poem.

1.          Who is speaking? Bonus: What do you know about him/her?

2.          What is being said?

3.          How is it said?

4.          Where does the poem take place? Bonus: Where was it written?

5.          When does the poem take place? Bonus: When was it written?

6.          Why? This question should be asked lastly, because if we bog ourselves down with the why while we are reading or just after reading, then we might create meanings that are not intended…or come away lacking understanding or enjoyment of the poem…which may cause us to judge it negatively…or abort further interest in it…causing us to be less open to other poems.

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3 Responses to “Six Questions to Ask After Reading a Poem”
  • Joe Vizzacco
    March 12th, 2011 at 9:29 am

    So true,poets usually write about life experiences or something they are passionate about…Also,what the poem may be about for me may not be the same meaning you took from the read,there are many unknowns…Some work is easy to relate to,but some have undertones that are only known to the writer…They have first hand knowledge of their emotions that they put to pen,always read with an open mind and listen to every word carefully…By doing so you may find that you understand more clearly the message being conveyed

  • krlewis
    March 12th, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I agree, it is best to have an open mind when reading.

  • youthinksokiddo
    March 16th, 2011 at 12:13 am

    good points here, sometimes the place and time of the poem is crucial. a poem by langston hughes for example, can be appreciated more when we know where he is coming from.

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