HOW TO SUMMARIZE A POEM Though poems and prose are different in innumerable ways, they also share similar characteristics. If you are wondering how to summarize a poem, try to elucidate on the following points. 1.What is the central idea or theme?In other words, what is the poem “about”? Most poems that you will read in this class will focus on the topic of love, so try to locate the poem’s specific sub-topic. What aspect of love does it discuss? What does the poem say about love? 2.Who is speaking?There is some sort of narrator or “speaker.” It’s either first person (“I”) or third person. Readers should not assume the “I” of a poem stands for the poet in a biographical way; instead, treat it as a separate character or persona. What kind of person is the speaker? Rather than identify the speaker by name, describe the perspective and characteristics that the speaker possesses. 3.What happens?Things happen in poems. While it cannot be said that most poems have plots the way novels do, actions and events populate many poems.
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