Key Questions for Understanding Poetry
What issues and ideas do you think the poem deals with?
How are these issues and ideas being represented?
Who is telling the story of the poem? Through whose eyes do we see the characters and events of the poem?
Briefly describe the thoughts and feelings of the person writing the poem.
Describe the cultural context of the poet. How does this influence their opinion of the subject of the poem? How is this reflected in their poem?
What is the governing mood or emotion of the poem: happiness? sadness? anger? indignation? seriousness? amusement?
Does the mood of the poem change? How is this evident? What effect does this have on the reader?
hat do you think is the poet’s opinion of the subject of the poem? What do you think
their opinion is of their audience? How is this conveyed?
Do you think the words are well chosen and vivid? Why has the poet selected the specific words they have?
Is the language colloquial, formal, descriptive etc? What purpose does this serve? How does this impact on the reader?