THE “TIPCASTT” SYSTEM OF POETRY ANALYSIS
The TIPCASTT system encourages the beginning student of poetry to integrate the literal and figurative meanings conveyed by a poem into a coherent understanding of the poem, highlighted by an understanding of the literary devices that helped the poem’s purpose to be realized.
This systematic approach takes 7 steps. Use the rest of this worksheet to follow these steps for your given poem, writing in the spaces provided. Be sure to retain this and other TIPCASTT worksheets for future reference.
STEP 1: TITLE.
Write the title and author of the poem:
Then, predict what the poem will be about:
STEP 2: PARAPHRASE.
Silently read the poem. Then, listen to it read aloud by someone else. Finally, restate its literal meaning in your own words on the following lines. Try to write at least one sentence for each stanza of the poem, capturing all of its literal ideas.
STEP 3: CONNOTATION.
Read the poem and state its point of view. ____________________________________________________________
Then, reread the poem, looking for rhyming patterns. What is the rhyme pattern, if any? _______________________
Then, look for especially significant or unusual words in the poem. Why were they included? What meaning do they convey?
Finally, look for examples of poetic devices in the poem. How do such devices aid the poem in achieving its poetic effects?
STEP 4. ATTITUDE
Reread the poem, looking for diction, images, and details that hint at or suggest the poet’s attitude to the poem’s subject. Note these examples below.
STEP 5. SHIFT.
Reread the poem, marking the places in it where the speaker’s feelings shift or change. Watch for changes in line length, sound, diction, and punctuation, and pay especial attention to the conclusion.
STEP 6. TITLE
Now, reread the poem’s title again and your initial explanation for it. Now that you’ve reread the poem several times and analyzed its features, explain the title of the poem in light of its meaning again.
STEP 7. THEME
First, identify the literal subject(s) of the poem. ________________________________________________________
Then, identify the abstract or figurative subject of the poem. _____________________________________________
Now, state what the poem is saying about its subjects: ___________________________________________________
Finally, write the theme of the poem in a complete sentence. _____________________________________________