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Poetry Analysis Techniques

Here are a handful of techniques you can use to perform an analysis of a poem. Not all of these techniques will work for you on every, but if you memorize these strategies, you can understand just about any poem.

SOAPS Technique

SOAPS is handy as a general introduction to a poem. If you are having a tough time getting any meaning at all from a poem, SOAP will lead you to at least a basic understanding.

  • Subject: the general topic, content, and ideas in the poem
  • Occasion: the time and place or context of the poem
  • Audience: to whom the poem is written
  • Purpose: the reason behind the writing of the poem Speaker the voice speaking in the poem

DIDLS Technique

DIDLS is a good strategy for determining the tone of a poem and how the author creates the tone.

  • Diction: the author’s word choice Images: vivid appeals to understanding through the senses
  • Details: facts that are included or omitted
  • Language: the overall use of language Sentence
  • Structure: how structure affects the reader’s attitude

TP-CASTT Technique

TP-CASTT is possibly the most effective of the techniques listed.

  • Title: Ponder the title before reading the poem.
  • Paraphrase: Translate the poem into your own words.
  • Connotation: Contemplate the poem for meaning beyond the literal.
  • Attitude: Observe both the speaker’s and the poet’s attitude (tone).
  • Shifts: Note changes in speakers and attitudes.
  • Title: Examine the title again, but on an interpretive level.
  • Theme: Determine what the poet is saying.