Explication simply means to examine closely. A poetry explication is an essay or research paper that analyzes the various parts that contribute to the overall meaning of the poem.


In all of my English classes, students must analyze, recite, and write poetry. While the assignments vary in length and complexity, I require the same basic information in all poetry explications as described in my sample outline. 


Students should quote the poem and use one or more reputable secondary sources to support their major points.


Students are expected to memorize at least eight lines from the poem they explicate and then write a poem modeled after it incorporating as many as the poetic elements from their explicated poem as possible—especially sound and imagery devices; however, their theme, tone, and content should reflect their interests and personality.




Your Name

Class Name


Poetry Explication


(Your Creative Title for Your Paper)

I. Thesis: (one sentence that includes name of poet and poem, type of poem (narrative or lyrical +           religious, patriotic etc.), overall meaning of poem or major devices used, your opinion of poem             (using quality adjectives like complex, simplistic, exquisite, thought provoking, mediocre and not           using personal pronouns like I, me, my, or mine).


II. Organization

     A. Lines (must mention)

     B. Stanzas (must mention)

     C. Refrains (only if used)


III. Sound Devices (most prevalent ones used in poem—provide a quote)

      A. Meter (must mention)

      B. Rhyme (must mention)

      C. Other devices in poem (Alliteration, assonance, consonance)

      D. Other devices in poem (Onomonopia, internal rhymes, puns)


IV. Imagery Devices (most prevalent ones used in poem—provide quotes)

      A. Sensory Descriptions (sound, sight, smell, taste, touch, emotions evoked)

      B. Metaphors, Similes…

      C. Allusions, Hyperbole, Personification…


V. Interpretation (provide a quote from the poem and/or secondary sources)

     A. Literal meaning (content)

     B. Abstract meaning (theme)

     C. Allusions that provide additional meaning

     D. Background information that provides additional meaning

     E. Emotional response (be specific fear, anger, patriotism)

     F. Personal, cultural, or other relevance/opinions


VI. Conclusion: (summary and clincher)