Step One: Number the lines and stanzas A stanza is a group of lines within a poem.
Step Two: Identify and define any words that you do not know. A good website is the merriam-webster dictionary or dictionary.com
Step Three: Is there a rhyme scheme or is it free verse? Free Verse- The poem does not rhyme. Rhyme Scheme- the pattern of rhymes at the end of each line of a poem or song.
Step Four: Identify any figurative language and imagery. Similes Hyperbole Alliteration Metaphor Personification Onomatopoeia Oxymoron Repetition
Step Five: Break down the poem stanza by stanza. What is the deeper meaning? Who is the author, and what is the meaning he is trying to get across? What tense is written in and from what point of view? What is the mood and tone of the poem? Who is the speaker? Is there any symbolism?