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Writing a poem summary can be a difficult task, but when learned properly how to get it done, it can be a useful skill. According to State, the main barrier that people face while understanding a poem is our habit to be very literal in communication. As a beginner, it can be difficult for you to interpret the meaning of the words an author chose while writing their poems.

In this simple guide, we will discuss the steps that you, as a beginner, can acquire in order to summarize a poem effectively. But before we do so, we have to understand what are the main elements of a poem that, once understood, will help create a concise summary of it.

Key Elements of a Poem:

The following are some key elements that you have to consider before you write the summary of a poem: 

# Theme: The theme of a poem is the main idea that the author is trying to convey to 

its readers. 

# Tone: The tone represents the emotional atmosphere of the poem. It could be joyful, sorrowful, reflective, etc. 

# Imagery: Imagery is the way the author invokes the senses of the reader in order to create a vivid image of the surrounding. 

# Symbolism: Symbolism in a poem means using words in order to symbolize an object or an event. Keeping these elements in mind, now, we will discuss the steps to write the summary of a poem.

Step 1 – Analyze the Background of the Poem:

Analyzing the background of the poem means you have to know the basic information related to the both poem and the author in order to write an effective summary.

This information includes several things. For example, you have to understand the historical context of the poem. This means analyzing the time period in which the poem was written.

text summarizer

According to Revision World, while studying English literature, one of the most important things you have to do is relate the texts with their social, cultural, and historical backgrounds. 

This strategy applies to poems (of different languages) also. The reason for doing this is that the poems are written under different circumstances. Some poets had to go through different feelings and emotions to write a poem. Understanding the poet’s character and background under these circumstances can help you understand the poem’s context even better.


The poem “The Road Not Taken” is about a traveler who is at a crossroads and has to choose what road he might take.

If you study the author’s (Robert Frost) background of life, you can analyze that he wrote the poem in a time of social and political change in the US.

This explains the individualistic spirit of the time and Frost’s own analysis and understanding of choices.

Step 2 – Identify the Main Theme of the poem:

Once you have studied the historical background of the poem and its author, now you have to identify the main theme of the poem

The main theme, as explained above, means the basic idea that the poet is trying to convey and the surrounding situation of the events. This could be love, joy, unity, sorrow, friendship, brotherhood, etc. The important thing is you identify it. 

text summarizer

Doing so can be a complex task because sometimes it is not easy to understand the poet’s intentions behind the words.

But there are some things that you can do to analyze the theme. The first thing is understanding the title of the poem. Understanding the poem’s title is important because it holds most of the theme in it. 

The title tells readers what the poem is going to be about and stimulates their imagination and curiosity about it. Another important thing you can do in order to write an effective summary of a poem is to understand the words and the imagery they provide. This means you have to analyze the important and recurring words in the poem to identify the main theme and idea of the poem.


Take a look at the following passage of the poem explained above, “The Road Not Taken.”

text summarizer

The title explains the roads (in other words, choices) the author did not take. This explains that the author is trying to talk about the road or path he did not choose. 

The phrases “two roads”, and “could not travel” explains the different choices lying ahead in front of the author and whether he should (or could) have walked on a different path and made different choices to have different results.

Step 3 – Know the Tone and Emotion of the Poem:

Identifying the main theme of the poem is not enough. “The Road Not Taken” can express both a sad and happy tone when read alone. 

text summarizer

To write a good summary of a poem, you have to know the tone and emotion of the poem. This can only be done by analyzing the poem as a whole. The combination of words and phrases will help you identify them easily. The most effective way to do so is to identify and understand the poetic devices used in the poem. Poetic devices are elements that are used to create rhythm and enhance the visionary qualities of the poem. The following example can explain this better.


Talking about the same poem explained above to enhance the clarity of the exemplification, 

by reading the poem “The Road Not Taken”, you can easily identify the tone and emotion of the poem easily. Words like “trodden,” “sigh,” and “doubted,” helps you understand the emotions of hesitation and doubt in the author’s mind. Frost uses poetic devices wisely to explain the uniqueness of his decision throughout the poem. By writing “I took the one less traveled by,” the author successfully delivers the uniqueness of the choices of his life.

Step 4 – Summarize Your Ideas About the Poem: Once you have analyzed all the ideas explained above, it’s time to put them in your words. 

Brainstorm and gather different perspectives from which you can explain the author’s ideas in your own words.

text summarizer

The length of the summary depends on your own requirements. Just make sure that you do not constantly repeat the words written in the poem. Instead, try to convey them through your own thoughts by using different synonyms and phrases.

Manually writing the summary of the poem can sometimes be difficult. That is because one might not have significant knowledge of the words and phrases used in the poem. This can bring hurdles while writing the summary of a poem. To help yourself, you can use any textsummarizer online. These summarization tools can identify the important part of the text and summarize it by removing extra information. They also provide a wide range of synonyms that can be used to increase the effectiveness of the summary.


That’s pretty much it. Being a beginner, writing the summary of a poem can be a complex task. You have to take into account the multiple emotions and meanings behind the words.

Nevertheless, by following the tips explained in this article, you can ensure that you capture the right theme and meaning of the poem and write a concise and quality summary  of the poem.


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