What makes poetry such a daunting task and how can it better be understood?

Ashton Nichole, Writer

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Poetry seems to come naturally to some and for others it’s a foreign language.

For some it’s a lifestyle, not just a passion”

. Others — mainly pertaining to grade school students — think their simple rhymes are true works of art.

What makes poetry such a daunting task for some and a crystal clear image for others? And for those who find it difficult to understand, how can it better be analyzed?

Read Again, and Again, and Again

Poetry is best understood if it’s read repeatedly. Slowly go over each word and think about what your reading. Try saying some stanzas aloud, focusing on one at a time. Rereading will trigger the brain’s memory and will soon put the poetic puzzle together.

Read to a Friend

Friends and ones who are good at poetry can help to clarify the poem. A fresh set of eyes will be able to catch something that was missed. If the stock is low on poet friends, go to a place where they can be found. Try searching for a school literary magazine student or an English teacher.

Look Up Vocabulary 

Grab a dictionary and search for the definitions of confusing words. This will build a wall of background knowledge that will help when referring to the poem.


Find the different literary tools and mechanics the poet used to construct the poem like similes and metaphors.

Remember similes compare two things using like or as.

  • Example: The cat was dark like the midnight sky.

Metaphors are when a word or phrase is attached to an object or an action even though it isn’t actually applicable to that thing.

  • Example: The bright yellow walls of the classroom smiled back at me.

Remember to reach out to others  because that will be the best option to understanding poetry. And it may not be as complicated as it seems, over-thinking will lead to frustration. Using just a few of these tips may help to overcome poetry intimidation.

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