Paraphrased poems are poems where the major ideas of the poet’s work are explained in prose. At this point, you are not getting into the poet’s figurative meaning.
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You may need to paraphrase a poem if you are answering a homework assignment or an exam question. In these cases, they tend to ask you to explain the poet’s meaning in your own words.
Understand that this is different from providing analysis of the poem.
Why Paraphrase a Poem?
Paraphrasing is about rephrasing the key points of the poem in your own words so that you understand it better. It is common for poems to use confusing syntax and words. Paraphrased poems may help you gain a better understanding.
How to Paraphrase a Poem
When you paraphrase a poem, you have to first determine whether you need to. It may be easier to quote a few lines instead of doing a full paraphrase.
We recommend that if you decide your essay may be stronger with only a few lines of the poem, then go ahead with this. If the question asks you to paraphrase the poem. Or if you need help in understanding what is said, it might be better if you paraphrase.
Be sure you know that the poem’s message is first. This will make it easier for you to be able to paraphrase it. It won’t hurt to read it again before you begin. This is just to make sure you understand its meaning.
After making sure that you already know the poem’s message, close your copy of the poem and try reciting it using your own words. When you imagine the message in your head like this, you’ll have a better idea of what it means on your own. This is the first step.
Then, you begin your rewrite. Try to do this from memory. This is so that you won’t be tempted to include words from the poem. This may confuse things.
You now have a draft of your paraphrased poem. Take a good look at the original text of the poem. You are checking to see if there are any words that don’t correspond to the poem’s message. Now you engage in the editing process, polishing your paraphrased poem.
To Wrap Up
At this point, you should have version of the paraphrase that’s suitable for your essay.
You should also have an idea of how much of the poem will be incorporated into the essay. Remember to proofread your essay and make sure that the words you have chosen for the paraphrased poem are appropriate.
You may also want to make sure that your paraphrased poems are supported by context.
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