๐Ÿ“Œ Check out these other AP English Literature resources:

ย  ย  ย  ย ๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ ย Watch AP Lit reviews live every week with Fiveable + ๐Ÿ‘‰ Join today!
ย  ย  ย  ย ๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ ย For more on sonnets, check out this article!
Poetry and prose comprise the sources tested on the AP English Literature and Composition exam. Students will be asked to provide analysis of them on both the multiple choice and essay portions of the exam. For most students, the task appears daunting, especially in regards to poetry. In this article, I will provide a short guide to understanding and analyzing poetry!

What is poetry?

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ Poetry is, according to famous poet Robert Frost, "a way of taking life by the throat". ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

๐ŸŒบ Poetry is relevant.

A lot of people do not like to read poetry because they think it is boring and unimportant outside of the classroom. However, its life expands beyond the textbook to encompass music and art.

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ "Human beings love poetry. They don't even know it sometimes... whether they're the songs of Bono, or the songs of Justin Bieber... they're listening to poetry." ~ Maya Angelou ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

๐ŸŒบ Poetry is fluid.

There is no one definite meaning to a poem. Poetry is subjective and can hold meaning through the reader's own interpretation.

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ "Listen, real poetry doesn't say anything; it just ticks off the possibilities.
Opens all doors. You can walk through any one that suits you" ~ Jim Morrison

What elements compose a poem?

๐Ÿ’œ In general, a poem is a form of written expression which tells a story in a rhythmic way. Here are a few elements of poetry you can analyze on the AP English Literature exam. ๐Ÿ’œ

โšซ๏ธ Sound

๐Ÿ–‹๏ธ Sound refers to the flow of a poem when it is read aloud.ย 

  • It is created using rhythm, alliteration, and rhyme.ย 

โšซ๏ธ Language

โœ๏ธ Poetry uses figurative language to add depth to short spurts of text.ย 

  • Literary devices like repetition, metaphor, simile, and allusion give poems rich language and meaning.

ย  ย  ย  ย 
โšซ๏ธ Meter
ย  ย  ย  ย 
๐Ÿ–‹๏ธ Meter is a more complicated element of poetry.

  • Briefly summarized, meter refers to the stressing of syllables within lines of a poem.

โšซ๏ธ Look

ย โœ๏ธ The look of a poem is also referred to as its form.ย 

  • A poem is composed of lines, when grouped they form a stanza. Some notable forms are the sonnet and the haiku.ย 
Did this answer your question?