Get Help
Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

How to Read a Poem: Home

This short guide will help you get into a poem more deeply, and help you describe your perceptions more exactly.

Why this guide?

Reading poems for their fuller meaning can be difficult. The best poetry has meaning far beyond the surface, often multi-layered and challenging. This short Guide should help you understand a poem better, and have something personal to say about it.

About this guide

T

his series of steps is based on a list by Frank Warnke, one of the editors of the New Princeton Encyclopedia of of Poetry and Poetics. His steps epitomize the New Critics' approach, with emphasis on the poem itself. After making the poem your own, you can research the biography or psychology of the poet, read criticism, etc. But you'll understand critical work on the poem better if you know it intimately to begin with. These steps will help you do that.

Some poets of note

            

Dante, Shakespeare, Kazantzakis

Your Librarian

Profile Photo
Tony Amodeo
JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.
Contact:
I'm retired, but my e-mail is active, and I do read my messages..

For reference help, please contact my very able successor at
Desirae.Zingarelli-Sweet@lmu.edu
Or phone her at 310 338-7681
Thanks!