Comparing poems

You should identify points from the two poems that you can compare. Try to find both similarities and differences between the poems. You should still follow the bullet points outlined in the question when you compare the poems.

Some questions to focus your comparisons on:

  • Do the poems approach the same topic from a similar or different perspective?
  • How do the moods of the poems compare? Do they create a similar or different feeling?
  • Are the words and devices used by the poets similar or different? What kind of effects are created by these?
  • How are both poems structured? Is this similar or different? Why?
  • Which poem do you prefer? Why? (Make sure that this is focused on poetic techniques, rather than saying something like one of them was boring.)

If you get stuck finding things to compare about the poems, try summarising each poem in a set number of words. Look at the similarities and differences between the words for each poem and find quotations to support each word. This will help you focus.

Find quotations from both of the poems that prove the similarities and differences. These should be short and focused. You should use some of the quotations that you identified when you first annotated the poems.

Some sentence stems that you could use as a starting point for your comparisons:

  • Both poems create an atmosphere of…
  • The poem titled ‘…’ creates a mood of … through …, whereas the poem titled ‘…’ creates an atmosphere of… through…
  • The language used in the poems is similar/different because…
  • The main theme/idea of both poems is…
  • The poems are structured similarly/differently as…

Remember, you will need to go on to find examples from both poems and explain the effects of these.

For further help on how to structure an essay go to Comparing poems.