How to Write a Reflection Paper in Poetry? A Full Guide with Topic Examples

Writing guide
Posted on March 2, 2020

Not everyone understands poetry. These pieces of literature can sometimes be hard to understand as poets are often inclined to express their thoughts not with direct speech but with symbols, imagery, peculiar rhythm and rhyme. Thus, people who tend to have a more mathematical organization of mind may have obstacles with analyzing a poem. Reflective essay writing allows individuals to explore their thoughts and experiences through introspection.

What Is a Reflection Paper In Poetry?

A reflection should give a reader not only a summary of the poem but also an understanding of how you feel and what thoughts that particular poem wakes up in you.
What is the purpose of writing such a paper? First of all, the aim is to get a deeper understanding of what you have recently read, to make connections to things you already know. By analyzing, questioning, and evaluating your experience as a result, you may develop new insights and perspectives. Reflective writing is a chance to think critically. Writing a reflection enables individuals to express their thoughts, emotions, and insights, providing a platform for self-reflection and personal growth.
What should be included in your reflection?

  • A summary of the poem;
  • Answers to “Big” questions;
  • Text references to the poem.

What are ‘big’ questions? Those are the questions that should provoke some thoughts about this poem. They are the following:

  • Why did the poet write that poem?
  • What is its main idea?
  • What is confusing about it?
  • What does it mean?
  • What associations does it give me?

How Is a Reflection Paper Different From a Research Essay?

    • Structure

Reflection paper: can have both an open structure and a typical essay form. Whatever structure you choose it has to connect, explore and integrate poem ideas with life experience.
Research essay: formal structure, each paragraph has to include arguments and supporting evidence.

    • Thesis statement

Reflection paper: generally does not require a controlling idea, but it is beneficial for the overall perceiving of the essay by the reader.
Research essay: the thesis is obligatory.

    • Point of view

Reflection paper: the first person.
Research paper: the third person.

    • Conclusion

Reflection paper: can both summarize the thoughts and question your conclusions.
Research essay: bold summarization, inappropriate to present new ideas or oppose the above mentioned ones.

How to Choose a Topic?

The variety of topics for reflection in poetry equals the number of poems in the world. Your task as a Poetry reflection writer is to meticulously analyze every language figure and estimate the meaning that the author intended to put in it. There is probably one possible scenario of choosing a topic: you have to write a reflection on a poem that you have recently read in class, or maybe you are specifically given a poem to reflect by your teacher. At this point, a lot of students get stuck either due to lack of inspiration or time. To get unstuck, ensure to ask the reps of professional paper writing service for a bit of advice. Consider exploring various topics, such as reflection papers on a college-level poem, a critical reflection paper analyzing a particular theme, or even a personal reflection on how a poem relates to your own experiences. Remember, the key is to choose a topic that resonates with you and allows for deep introspection and meaningful analysis.

7 Topic Example Ideas

Analyzing the Impact of Symbolism and Imagery in Poetry

  • Reflect on how poets utilize symbolism and imagery to convey complex emotions and ideas.
  • Discuss specific poems that resonated with you and analyze the profound impact of their symbolic language.
  • Share personal insights into the emotions evoked by the imagery and how it enhances the poem’s overall meaning.

Unveiling the Essence of Poetry through Personal Insights and Experiences

  • Reflect on your experiences and how they connect to the themes explored in poetry.
  • Discuss how specific poems have influenced your perception of life, relationships, or personal growth.
  • Explore poetry’s transformative power in shaping your beliefs, values, and worldview.

 Analyzing the Techniques and Structure of Poetic Forms

  • Reflect on the various poetic forms, such as sonnets, haikus, or free verse, and their impact on the meaning of a poem.
  • Discuss how the structure, rhyme scheme, and rhythm contribute to the overall effectiveness of a poem.
  • Analyze specific poems to illustrate how the chosen form enhances the poet’s message and engages the reader.

Analyzing a Poem’s Historical Context and Cultural Significance

  • Choose a poem from a specific period or cultural movement and reflect on its historical context.
  • Discuss how the poem reflects the social, political, or cultural issues of its time.
  • Analyze the relevance and impact of the poem in today’s society, drawing connections to contemporary issues.

 Exploring the Themes and Motifs in Poetry for a Coherent Analysis

  • Develop a structured outline to guide your reflection writing, focusing on key themes and motifs in the poem.
  • Discuss how these themes and motifs contribute to the overall meaning and message of the poem.
  • Provide specific examples and textual references to support your analysis and interpretation.

Examining Personal Growth and Insights through Poetry

  • Reflect on your personal growth as a reader and writer of poetry throughout your academic journey.
  • Discuss specific poems that have challenged or expanded your understanding of the world and yourself.
  • Analyze how engaging with poetry has enhanced your critical thinking, creativity, and ability to express emotions.

The Impact of Poetry on Language Development and Expressive Abilities

  • Reflect on a poetry course or specific poems that have influenced your language skills and expressive abilities.
  • Discuss how analyzing and writing poetry has enriched your vocabulary, writing style, and ability to articulate emotions.
  • Reflect on the long-term benefits of studying poetry in terms of communication, self-expression, and literary appreciation.

By exploring these specific topics in your reflection essay, you can delve deeper into the complexities of poetry, make connections to your own experiences, and provide a more insightful analysis of the poems you choose to reflect upon.

A Step-by-Step Plan on How to Write a Reflection Paper In Poetry

  1. Read the poem twice. Try to sneak into its meaning, write down your first impression and comments.
  2. Research the poet. The author’s biography and the background of the poem would give an understanding of what or who inspired the poet and gave rise to his idea.
  3. Read the poem once again, this time slower. Pay attention to the style, the use of poetic figures. If any unknown words are met, find out their meaning in the dictionary. Poets sometimes use ancient myths, history facts, words from other languages, special language – don’t neglect these as they can play a significant role in preserving the poem’s idea.
  4. Answer the ‘big’ questions.
  5. Analyze the figurative language used. Reflect on the poem’s rhyme and the structure of each stanza. Define each alliteration, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, simile and provide examples to each of them.
  6. Try to identify the mood of each stanza. Maybe the mood changes as the poem progresses.
  7. Reflect. Give your feedback, your thoughts, and ideas, and resort to the poet’s background and use of figurative language.
  8. Provide evidence and examples. Support a reflective paper with specific examples and textual references from the poem. By including relevant quotes and illustrations, you strengthen the connection between your insights and the poem’s content.
  9. Conclude. It’s important to mention here whether you liked the poem or not, whether you find the problem it raises relevant in the modern world. Maybe this piece motivated you for some actions or changed your beliefs in a certain way – this is the appropriate paper to write about it.

Pro tip

Write your paper in an organized manner. Don’t rush into writing immediately. Take a sheet of paper, create an outline. Due to that, it will be easier for you to give a natural logical flow to the paragraphs. Keep in mind that the audience has no idea what is going on inside your head. The reader must comprehend your points and thoughts.

One more quick tip on reflection paper outline! Before diving into writing reflection paper, take the time to create an outline. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure a coherent and logical flow in your paper. By outlining your main points and supporting evidence, you can provide clarity to your audience and make your good reflections even more accessible and understandable. Remember, your goal is to communicate effectively, so a well-structured outline will greatly assist in achieving this objective.

The Outline of the Reflection Paper In Poetry

In general, the structure of the reflection paper is the same as any academic paper. However, there are some peculiarities to it. The reflection paper format typically includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.


That part is the ‘face’ of your paper. Why? If a reader finds your introduction not fascinating, he will lose interest and won’t estimate the beauty of the body paragraph at its fullest. The main rule – don’t be bland. Here is a basic structure:

  • Hook. A fisher’s main weapon is a hook, a reflection paper writer’s – words. It is used to pick the audience’s attention. It can be a quote, anecdote, statement, rhetorical question. For example: ‘As humans, we often fear those who are different from us’. An inappropriate hook looks like this: ‘Have you ever feared of those who are different from us?’. Using ‘You’, ‘Have you ever…?’ or another cliched question is unsuitable for a senior when writing an academic paper. Thus, avoid these.
  • The transition between the hook and brief information about the poem. Move from the big idea to the specific poem you are going to analyze. The next few sentences’ tasks are to make a smooth, not abrupt transition. For example, you can clarify the hook in the first sentence. In the second sentence make a connection between the hook and the poem background, by making a preview to a historical event a poem is devoted to.
  • Information about the poem. Include its caption, author, what the poem is about.
  • Thesis statement. It should be restricted, a precisely worded sentence that states your purpose in that paper. Give the reader a short but broad glimpse of what you are going to talk about.

Here is an example of an introduction from a reflection paper on a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar ‘We Wear the Mask’.

‘It is a common business in our world that people judge each other by their job or appearance. To not be judged people hide these aspects of themselves under a mask. In the 1800s African-American were victims of racial segregation and unequal rights, which affected their opportunities to study and go to work normally. That problem had a strong influence on Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first Afro-American writer, who wrote the poem ‘We wear the mask’ to illustrate that issue. The poet applies figurative language, such as metaphors and hyperboles, as well as elements of imagery to show that people fake their true personalities to not stand out.’

Reflection Paper In Poetry

Main body

Remember the difference between the essay analyzing the poem and a reflection paper expressing your thoughts on it.
Once you have conducted research on the poet’s life try to walk in his shoes. You can even highlight specific lines that caught your interest. Beware of writing in bold. By reinforcing your statements with a correct quote you help the reader learn your opinion and assumptions about the key ideas given in the poem. Here is a helpful approach.

  • Relate the idea of the poem to your experience or knowledge;
  • Consider how the poem helps to understand or even challenge your ‘life baggage’ and vice versa;
  • What are the implications of this in terms of your intellectual development, individual growth?

Let’s take the same poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Here you can describe that you learned that racial discrimination and slavery of ‘colored’ people were worse than seemed. People were treated with such disrespect that it is understandable that they would rather stand in front of the white race and hide their true faces. To ease their lives they would talk and act according to what the owner dictated. Their lives had been basically taken from them. But despite being constantly humiliated they managed to preserve their strong inner spirit. Their belief in God helped them go through the most dreadful situations. Dunbar writes about ‘us’, black people, his people. But the idea of the poem can refer to the life of everybody even today.

Here you can talk about how you feel about racial discrimination, how it can be managed and whether it will ever even happen. Compare your expectations about the poem to your actual thoughts. It’s easier to write that paper than think about it. As everything you think about is OK as long as it is connected to the subject.
Remember to provide details on how you arrived at these conclusions. Keep everything logical – not chaotic. Here are some general advice on writing the main body:

  • Create one paragraph for each idea;
  • Forget about slang and abbreviation. It’s still an academic paper even though you use the pronoun ‘I’;
  • Talk mainly about yourself. If you want to incorporate other people into your narrative, avoid using their names. Put emphasis on their actions.
  • Start with a statement to summarise any realizations or feelings and explain these in the following paragraphs.

Here is a short example of the main body extracted from a reflection paper on ‘The Poison Tree’ by William Blake.

‘In the first stanza, Black has a difficulty speaking to the enemy, this is how he ‘feeds’ the Poison Tree inside of him. When reading this I imagined cancer virus spreading in capillaries. In the second stanza, he notes that he smiles through his anger:’…with soft deceitful wiles’.

Don’t we encounter the same problem today? William wrote that poem more than 225 years ago and its main message is still relevant when talking about today’s world. It’s just part of human nature. Black teaches us an important lesson: we need to be open-hearted and honest in order to not let the insidious Poison Tree to leak into our blood. But I think that Blake also wants to tell us that however difficult the conditions are, we don’t have to be cowardly and stand up in front of our foes to express our fury right in front of their faces. I agree that on one hand, it sounds cruel and wicked, but I strongly opine it’s better to get rid of such a coach grass as fast as possible. This poem encouraged me to sweep away my ‘best friend’ who pretended to be one. I felt his ill-will a long time ago but was fearful of breaking our bond. I truly regret not doing it earlier just because I didn’t want to be left alone.’

This reflection paper example deserves attention!

Jacob Lee Top-10 Writer at

The difference between an analytical essay and a poetry reflection paper is the more evident presence of your thoughts, feelings about the poem, and the imagery pictures that the poem evokes. “Reflect” means to record your interaction with a piece of literature.


Everything is simple here. Like the introduction, it closes the text and has to leave a positive residue on the reader’s heart. Summarise your thoughts, you may also want to explain how this reading will change your actions in the future. Unlike the usual research essay, which must not contain any new ideas in the conclusion, in reflection paper you can even challenge prior assumptions.

One practical tip for crafting a strong conclusion in a reflective paper is to connect your reflections to practical applications or future actions. Instead of just summarizing your thoughts, consider discussing how this reading or reflection will influence your future behavior or decision-making. This allows you to demonstrate personal growth and highlight the poem’s or experience’s transformative power. Embrace the opportunity to engage in reflective writing, whether it be through writing reflection paper, a college reflection paper, or even a personal reflection, as it can lead to valuable insights and self-discovery.

Editing a Reflective Paper

As children, we learn grammar and vocabulary through speech. Therefore, it is more effective to read your text aloud to hear the sentences that sound wrong. Sometimes we just pass a weirdly sounding sentence by, not even trying to change them.
It isn’t worth saying that papers of such a kind may contain some personal information. But if using criticism constructively, it can only benefit your work. Peer feedback is extremely useful. If your group mates aren’t convinced by your argument, find your composition confusing, can’t read some sentences because they are broken in logic, then your teacher won’t too.

Apart from reading your text aloud, there are other effective strategies to enhance the quality of your paper:

  1. Review your reflective essay with fresh eyes. It allows you to spot errors or inconsistencies you may have overlooked. Also, seeking feedback from peers or a writing tutor can provide valuable insights and perspectives. Their input can help identify areas that need improvement, such as unclear arguments or illogical sentences. Remember, the goal is to refine your reflection paper and ensure your ideas are effectively communicated to your audience.
  2. Check for clarity. Ensure that your ideas are expressed clearly and concisely. Eliminate any ambiguous or vague statements that may confuse the reader. Use straightforward language and avoid excessive jargon or complex terminology.
  3. Review grammar and punctuation. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Proofread your paper carefully to catch any typos or inconsistencies. Use grammar-checking tools or seek assistance from a writing tutor to ensure your paper is error-free.
  4. Assess the organization and structure. Evaluate the logical flow of your course reflection. Ensure that your paragraphs are well-structured and follow a clear progression of ideas. Consider using headings or subheadings to guide the reader through different sections of your reflection.
  5. Analyze the strength of your arguments, using an example of reflection. Evaluate the effectiveness of your arguments and supporting evidence. Are your points well-supported and persuasive? Revise or expand on your arguments to provide a more comprehensive analysis, drawing from an example of reflection to illustrate the impact of strong arguments.
  6. Reflect on personal experiences. Reflect on how your experiences connect to the themes or ideas explored in the poetry. Consider whether you have provided enough personal insights and reflections to make your paper engaging and meaningful.
  7. Review the paper’s length. Check if a reflective essay meets the required length or word count. If it falls short, consider expanding on certain points or adding additional examples. On the other hand, if your paper needs to be shorter, look for areas to condense or remove redundant information.

Ensure coherence and cohesion: When writing a reflective essay ensure that each paragraph and sentence contributes to the overall coherence of your paper. Transition smoothly between ideas and paragraphs to maintain a clear and cohesive narrative.


Writing a reflection paper has its own hardships. The most common issues are disengaged from the poem and course content, unfocused writing and brainstorming, unstructured response. But with this guide, there is nothing to be afraid of.

About authors
James Snyder A Top-10 writer at
James is one of the most prominent authors on our team with more than 7 years of experience. He specializes in writing essays and coursework. James loves to work from home with a cup of hot chocolate and his cat Archibald.
Kate Roth A Top-10 writer at
Kate likes to read long stories and write essays. She’s experienced in both academic writing and marketing activities, so she can tell everything about a writer’s job in a few simple words. You can use our website to request the help of our experts anytime.

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