English Literature - Unseen Poem Tips!!

These notes will hopefully help you prepare to analyse the unseen poem in your english exam! 

Some of the examples arent very good but just made them up :L

Goooood luck :)

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  • Created by: Shannagh
  • Created on: 07-06-11 19:32

How To Analyse Your Poem..

Poetry is emotional writing, so all poems will show or suggests the emotions of the poet/subject in one way or another, you just need to figure out what they are feeling and why they are feeling this way.

In order to analyse your poem you should ask yourself 3 questions:

  • How does the poet feel?
  • Why do they feel this way?
  • How do you know?
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Step 1 - How does the poet feel?

You should take at least 2 highlighters/colours into the exam.

Read the poem with the highlighter and highlight any words that you feel seem to hold any emotion. This will help you answer the first question.

This will help give you an idea what the poem's about, for example, if a poem uses a lot of angry and sad vocabulary, this may mean the poem is about an argument or regret. 

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Step 2 - Why do they feel this way?

After picking out your emotional words, use a second colour to go through the poem again, picking out any words or phrases which may explain why the poet might feel this way.

For example, if you picked out the word 'tired' you could highlight the phrase 'a wave of grief' as a way to explain why the subject may feel 'tired'.

However, don't do this for every word you've picked out, just the ones you can find evidence for!

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Step 3 - How do you know?

Annotate the words and phrases you have picked out and link the emotions to the language.

For example, if the person is 'tired' because of 'a wave of grief' this could mean the subject had suffered emotionally and this had affected their health. 


Once you have decided what the poem means to you, you can then think about things such as;

  • Poetic Devices
  • Structure
  • Context
  • And other things you will need to include.
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nice!!! :) mega cheers mate! ***



thanks for the tips =)

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