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20 Poetry Research Paper Topics and Ideas

It may seem that poetry is difficult to study, research, and even read sometimes due to its numerous genres, writers, and forms. Poetic styles are indeed innumerable, and artistic movements that existed throughout history were represented by many talented and poets, yet poetry as a discipline is still a fascinating subject to study. Therefore, by researching poetry, one can get acquainted with its multiple subgenres, techniques, forms, themes, and those people who create those pieces. Moreover, studying poetry boosts one’s creativity, broadens the worldview, develops writing, reading, and speaking skills, as well as helps to learn to look at things from a different perspective. Finally, reading poetry is an aesthetically pleasing experience. Thus, writing essays is one of the parts of studying poetry, and this subject can be researched in numerous ways.

When a professor asks you to write an essay on poetry, it is essential first to decide on a topic. Taking into account that this discipline is a rather extensive one, it may be puzzling for a student to choose what to write about. You can either dwell on a specific period of time, and all the works and poets connected with it or select a particular figure or verse to analyze. Besides, an essay can focus on a comparison of two poets or artistic movements, examine the thematic context of the work or dwell on someone’s biography. Consequently, you have numerous possibilities when deciding on a topic of a poetry research paper, and if you have difficulties with choosing a definite one, this list of topics may be helpful.

Topics and Ideas for Poetry Research Paper

Below you can find the topics for the poetry research paper:

1. Sylvia Plath’s Poetry

This essay should focus on both the life of Sylvia Plath and her writing. Thus, you can mention some key facts from her biography, the literary movement she belonged to, and the most notable works. Next, it would be great to analyze her writing techniques based on some of her poems.

2. The Poetry of the Beat Generation: Allen Ginsberg’s Impact

Dwell on the history of the appearance of the Beat movement, its most celebrated representatives, and the key ideas and positions of the Beat Generation. Then, connect this data to the life and activity of Allen Ginsberg who was one of the leading figures of the movement. Mention his social and political activism and influence on the overall activity of the Beat poets.

3. Peculiarities of Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Shakespeare’s sonnets remain the most significant examples of poetry, which does not lose relevance and value. Therefore, enumerate the central characteristics of the sonnets, such as rhyme scheme, structure, meter, as well as main characters and themes. Provide some specific examples for each peculiarity and then compare how those sonnets differ from contemporary poetry.

4. The Use of Allusions in Poetry

First, you can provide a definition of an allusion and mention some examples of it. Then, you also can analyze specific poems that contain allusions or write about the poets that preferred to include those devices in their works. Finally, write about the role of allusions and the effects that they create when used in specific contexts.

5. The Analysis of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil

Dwell on Baudelaire’s life and work; mention his other works and the literary movement he belonged to. Next, briefly describe the history of the collection’s creation, and then talk about its peculiarities, the number of poems, the theme, and mention the sections it is broken up into. You can also focus on each part separately and write about the messages they carry.

6. Prose Poetry and Its Main Features

Since poetry is not solely about rhyme, and it can have a form of prose, dwell on the main differences between the former and the latter and mention those poets that preferred to write in prose. You can also state the difference between prose and prose poetry, as those are also two different notions. Finally, describe the essential characteristics of prose poetry, paying attention to details.

7. Poetry and Feminism

Focus on the history of the appearance of feminist poetry, factors that influenced its creation, central figures, and most celebrated pieces. Furthermore, the ideas and positions of the poets are also worth mentioning. Discuss both feminist poetry of the past and the present and decide upon the central features of both.

8. Jazz Poetry: From Past to Present

Jazz can be discussed not only in the context of music but also as a separate genre of poetry. Thus, provide a detailed definition of the notion, talk about its creation, and include the data about its fundamental features. Dwell on its development during the Harlem Renaissance and the Beat Generation as well as modern times.

9. French Poetry of the 19th Century

While writing an essay on this topic, make sure you provide information about Romanticism and those poets that influenced the movement. You could research those ideas and visions that had the most significant impact on the creation of the poems. Moreover, it is necessary to discuss the most outstanding writers of the period, their collections of works, and the most remarkable events that had some impact on the movement.

10. Nature and History of Japanese Haiku

In this essay, define haiku and talk about its origin and development. Then, enumerate the key figures connected with this type of poetry, such as Buson, Issa, Shiki, and Basho. Finally, this essay can also include data about the form of haiku, its meter, and the number of lines.

11. Poets of Symbolism

Numerous poets represent Symbolism, and your task is to discuss their work. Yet, the initial step is to mention what Symbolism is, its history of appearance, and the essential characteristics. After that, you can proceed to analyze the works of such poets as Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, or Arthur Rimbaud. You are free to choose any other poets if you want, yet those three are considered to be the most outstanding figures of the movement.

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12. Who Needs Poetry?

Discuss your personal understanding of the question while relying on the statements made by acclaimed scholars or poets. You can talk about the practical applications of poetry or focus solely on its aesthetic side. All in all, the person reading your essay should understand the role of poetry in the life of humanity.

13. Emily Dickinson and Gospel Poems

Before writing about Dickinson’s work, dwell on her life path by mentioning the most important details from her life, such as her origin, movements she was involved in, and her most notable works. Even though Dickinson wrote numerous poems, your task is to research the Gospel poems. Thus, define the notion, give examples of those poems, and write about the reception of them in society.

14. The Poetry of the Romantic Period

In this essay, include the definition of Romanticism, its origin, and a brief outline of its development. Enumerating the poets that were involved in the movement is vital, yet choose two or three of them for your thorough analysis. After selecting the poets, focus on the techniques they used, ideas and themes of their poems, as well as how their works represent the overall character of the period.

15. Edgar Allan Poe and His Philosophy of Poetry

Even though Edgar Allan Poe is a widely known figure, there still is a lot to discover about him. Therefore, try to find the information that may be unknown for an ordinary person; discuss his vision of poetry in details. You may include some citations from his works to illustrate your arguments, as well as dwell on his writing techniques and style.

16. Main Themes of Walt Whitman’s Poetry

Before writing about the themes, write about Whitman’s life, legacy, and style. Then, enumerate the themes and try to find those poems that can be applied to illustrate them. For instance, mention that the poem “Ashes of Soldiers” dwells on the theme of war. Finally, you can also cite some of his poems that most apparently illustrate particular themes.

17. Spoken Word Poetry in the 21st Century

Before writing the essay, you can search for the performances of the contemporary poets on YouTube to get inspired. It can help you chose those artists that you will mention in your essay and analyze. For instance, you can write about Sarah and Paul Kay, Neil Hilborn, and others. Finally, write about modern contests of spoken word poetry and its perception in society.

18. The Impact of John Keats on Poetry

This essay can include the data about Keats’ biography, most outstanding works, and his writing techniques. Furthermore, dwell on his impact on the world of poetry in the past and on his perception in the 21st century. You can also write about the letters he wrote, as those influenced a number of other poets of that time.

19. Is Rhyme an Essential Element of Any Poem?

Enumerate the critical elements of poetry. Since rhyme is not among them, explain why it is not as important as other elements. In your work, you can mention free verse, prose poetry, and those poets that did not use rhyme in their works. Discuss the structure of free verses and provide examples of the most notable pieces.

20. Blank vs. Free Verse

These types of verse are frequently being confused, and your task is to help ordinary people understand the difference between the two. Thus, enumerate the key elements and characteristics of each of them, do not forget to dwell on their differences and similarities, and find examples to support your statements.

Conclusion

Hence, writing a poetry research paper is not as complicated as it may seem. The key to writing a proper essay is choosing a topic that fascinates you and that you personally want to research. After doing it, make sure that you focus on all the fundamental details, such as historical events, dates, as well as notable poets and their works. When analyzing poems, pay attention to their rhyme, rhythm, meter, form, and the techniques applied by the authors. Besides, you can always refer to various books and scholarly articles related to your topic and cite them to support your arguments. Therefore, after reading the list of topics and ideas, you may choose the one suitable for you and either leave as it is and research it or alter it according to your preference or the task.