ENGL 1102/Reading Questions for Poetry

From Gerald R. Lucas
< ENGL 1102
Revision as of 11:31, 17 January 2023 by Grlucas (talk | contribs) (Added more.)

Poetry provides insights into the human experience and the different ways in which people express themselves. Poetry gives insights to different cultures and historical periods, and can help develop an appreciation for the nuances of language and the power of words. Poetry can also help develop critical thinking and analytical skills since it requires close reading and interpretation, and often contains multiple meanings and perspectives. Additionally, poetry can be a source of inspiration and creativity, which can be beneficial to students in various academic fields.

Reading poetry is an essential part of understanding literary and cultural movements, and is an important way to gain knowledge and perspective on the literary tradition of a language or culture.

Consider the following questions while reading or rereading poetry.

  1. What do you know about speaker of this poem?[1]
  2. Describe what is happening. What is the poem’s central idea?[2]
  3. What is the dominant tone or mood of the poem? How is it achieved?
  4. How would you describe the language of this poem?[3]
  5. What words or phrases in the poem do you find especially effective? Are there any meaningful sound repetitions?
  6. List some examples of figurative language (similes, metaphors, personification, metonomy).[4] How do these devices relate to the theme of the poem?
  7. Does the poem include hyperbole, irony, or understatement? Give examples.
  8. How would you identify the poem’s meter and rhyme scheme(s)?
  9. How does the poem relate to your life?[5]
  10. What remains confusing about the poem?[6]


  1. Analyze the characters: Consider the motivations, actions, and development of the characters in the text. Pay attention to how they interact with each other and how they relate to the themes.
  2. Identify the main themes: Look for recurring ideas or concepts throughout the text. Consider how the author develops and explores these themes.
  3. Consider the author's style and technique: Analyze the author's use of language, literary devices, and structure. Think about how these elements contribute to the meaning of the text.
  4. Study the symbolism and imagery: Look for symbols and images that the author uses to convey meaning. Consider how they relate to the themes and characters in the text.
  5. Relate the text to the context: Take into consideration the historical, cultural, and social context in which the text was written. This can help to understand the author's message and how it applies to the world today.
  6. Think critically: Don't just accept the author's message at face value; instead, question, analyze, and evaluate the text.