" In the interpretation, you bring together your analysis of the elements in the poem and show what they mean to the poem as a whole. What evidence, from your analysis, supports your idea?
You may suggest an interpretation of the speaker's state of mind, the poem's subject, or the nature of the experience which the poem creates. The main argument of your paper should begin to take form as you struggle with this process.
Put into your own words those lines or phrases which are especially difficult.
Resist the temptation to brush over the lines or phrases which seem unintelligible; these can be the most crucial parts of the poem.
For example, does Poe's "The Raven" describe a dream? You have great freedom in interpreting a poem, provided that your assertions are solidly linked to your evidence. Abrams, editor of the , "There is no one, right interpretation of a poem – but there is one which is more right than any of the others." The multi-faceted nature of poetry demands that you know where you are going before you begin to construct your written argument, which is why the description and paraphrase stages are so important.
Interpretation that does not align with your analysis will be invalid. Your selective analysis emerges from them in the form of an argument that is limited to a manageable set of ideas. Formulate a thesis statement that will allow you to explain the relationships and the effects of elements in the poem.
Knowing that you will not be able to address every aspect of the poem, select the elements which work together to create special effects.
Look beyond the surface meaning of the words and start to think about how the techniques used in the poem add depth to its meaning. Do they complement each other, do they create tension, or both?
After you have thought through these stages and taken good notes, you should be ready to begin writing your essay. If you can, indicate in the thesis the areas or features of the poem important to your argument (a pattern of imagery, for instance, or a series of crucial lines).
Remember, your thesis statement must argue a point; instead of simply saying that a poet uses certain poetic devices, you must give some indication in your thesis as to how those devices work and what they do to the poem's meaning.