How Do You Summarize a Poem?

Summarizing a poem involves isolating its central ideas and metaphors and laying them out along with an analysis of its verse structure. This allows readers to comprehend and critique the poem with a clearer understanding of its exact aims or artistic merits.

Poems rely heavily on devices like simile and synecdoche. Isolating these elements can reveal the thematic structure of a poem.

  1. Identify the themes
  2. Poems usually have a theme or subject. By parsing the poem's language, it is possible to detect and explain its theme.

  3. Analyze the structure
  4. The order in which a poem presents its ideas is important. Analyze this order and its interaction with the poem's subject matter.

  5. Avoid speculation
  6. Summaries should list and analyze only what is present in a work. If there are clear parallels to the real world, such analysis is acceptable.