A poem literary analysis is an exercise which seeks to tease out a poem’s implications in a simple, lucid manner without imposing the analyzer’s opinion in an overbearing way. It should be done without referring to the poet’s background or identity. This enables the literary analysis of the poem to be solely dependent on the textual material of the poem, without bringing in irrelevant material from outside the text.  A poem literary analysis belongs to the school of criticism called “New Criticism”.

Sample Poem Literary Analysis:

Name of poetic text: “Lycidas” by John Milton

Date of submission of poem literary analysis: 23rd June 2011

Poem literary analysis submitted by: Anisha Hembrom

Class: UG 1, Department of English, Edinburgh University

Poem literary analysis to be marked by: Dr. Joseph Fluff, Course Coordinator, Optional Course 2.22

Following below is a brief extract from the poem literary analysis submitted by the student:

Points considered in the poem “Lycidas”:

  • A brief look at the intermingling of classical and Christian elements in this early poem by Milton. I hope to highlight the harmony between these two elements and talk briefly about Milton’s Christian humanism.
  • The implications of death in Milton’s verse. The repeated recurrence of the convention of death is an important aspect of Milton’s verse. This is examined in greater detail in the poem literary analysis.
  • The use of classical allusions: I also wish to examine how a student might approach “Lycidas” in today’s time, when the classical allusions in the poem may seem overwrought and distanced to us.

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