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How to Write a Poem Summary


Taking time to study a poem before writing a poem summary is essential. Researching the background of the poem, like who wrote it and when, will give you vital clues in understanding the poem. Reading the poem at least three times is a good idea. Mark down all your thoughts either on the poem or on paper. For the summary, write paragraphs that show a unit of thought or argument. Including an introduction and conclusion is necessary.

Know the name of the poet and the year in which the poem was written. Explore the implications that these elements have for the poem and include this information in your introduction.

Classify the poem. Consider whether it is an epic, narrative, dramatic or descriptive poem. Epic poetry tends to be lengthy and contains vast universal themes, while a descriptive poem will describe a scene. Narrative poetry is written from the narrative viewpoint of a character.

Continue bringing out the major themes or motifs of the poem and relate this to the type of language used, like identifying alliteration or onomatopoeia. Alliteration is when two syllables of similar sound are used together to create effect and onomatopoeia is when the sound of a word reflects something else.

Determine whether repetition is used to stress something the reader needs to hear or perhaps to create drama. Determine whether literary allusions were used.

Identify imagery in the poem, such as the use of metaphors or similes to describe something in a unique way. Write down what effect this could have on readers.

Write about the overall tone of the poem and the narrative perspective. Decide if the poem is funny or serious. Question if it is written from the perspective of a character in the poem or from the poet's viewpoint. Ask if the poet talking directly to the reader or to somebody else.

Include a conclusion to your summary by pulling together all that you have learned about the poem and make an interpretive statement.

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  • poetry and flowers image by NiDerLander from Fotolia.com