Poetry Interpretation One Step at a Time Read the poem carefully. Try to find the feelings the poet has attempted to express. Read the poem again. This time, read it line by line. Mark words that you think might be important to the meaning of the poem. Overall, how does the poem make you feel? Is the mood upbeat, cheerful, humorous, or serious, etc.? Read the poem a third time. Try to identify any literary devices the poet has used (Similes, metaphors, symbols, allusions, imagery, irony or other figurative language). Use a dictionary to look up any words you do not understand. Do a bit of research (in reference books or online) to identify any literary allusions or proper names you might not recognize. Identify the rhyme scheme, if the poem rhymes. Does the poem contain any repetition, alliteration, onomatopoeia, puns or word play? Try to identify the poetic form. Is it an acrostic, a ballad, a diamonte, a haiku, a limerick, an ode, a sestina, a sonnet or some other poetic form? Are the lines first person ("I" and "me"), second person ("you," "your" and "yours") or third person ("he," "she," "they")? Look up the poet's biographical information online or in a literature reference book. What was the poets life like at the time the poem was written? Did anything happening in the poets life or in the world have an effect on the poets writing? After analyzing all of these things, you can know think about the overall meaning the poet may have been trying to convey. What may have inspired the poet to write this poem, and what message did he or she try to share with the reader?