4 out of 4 stars
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How do you understand and interpret poetry? For many people, it is difficult to analyze poetry, as most of them contain a lot of relevant information restricted to just a few words, and the meanings of these poems can easily be missed. Fortunately, in Poetry De-Mystified, Sandra Yardley, a teacher for over three decades who specializes in English, presents a detailed guide to help readers gain a better understanding of poetry and analyze them systematically and effectively.
While the book is aimed at fourteen to sixteen-year-old students who are preparing for poetry exams, I found that the contents of the book were very helpful for me, as I fall into the class that has always had trouble with the beautiful art form that is poetry.
At just thirty pages in length, the author goes straight to the point and employs simple language to get her message on a complicated subject across easily. I like that the author employs an encouraging tone that will carry readers along, and she assures readers that it is okay to have different interpretations of a poem, provided you apply a key element that you will learn by picking up this book.
The aspect of the book I appreciated the most was how thorough Sandra Yardley was. We are briefly taken through the different forms of poetry and understanding poem structures, foreshadowing, symbolism, tones, and themes, but a lot of effort is put into the practice questions and answers that give readers the perfect opportunity to witness the different ways her lessons can be applied. The lessons and practice questions revolve around three poems throughout the guide, including Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Wilfred Owen's Futility and Spring Offensive. We not only learn from the author's analysis of these poems, but we also learn from her comparisons between the poems. Initially, it was a bit confusing reading through the book when the poems were referenced, but the full poems were included in the "Appendix" at the end of the book, so the lessons were clearer on my second read.
Poetry De-Mystified is a fairly well-edited book. I found about seven minor errors while reading and didn't expect to find as much in a book as short as this, but the errors were not difficult to read through. Besides these errors, I cannot think of anything to dislike about this guide. It is easy to understand, straight to the point, and practical, and it will be beneficial to readers beyond its target audience who want to learn how to analyze poetry effectively. I rate this book four out of four stars.
Poetry De - Mystified
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