I need help in analyzing poetic text and I was wondering if SE provides a platform for the same. Would it be fine if I post poetry analysis related topics on Writers SE or is there another place?

2 Answers 2


Poetry is on topic; however, analysis isn't really. While Literature.SE was active, poetry analysis was certainly on-topic there - but that site didn't get out of beta, and I'm afraid we're not a good alternative venue. Some cases might fit, but as a general purpose, I don't think poetry analysis is on topic. For two reasons:

Analysis is a poor fit for SE sites. SE uses a Q&A format; literary (and poetry) analysis does not fit comfortably into that format. Although they can prompt excellent responses, "Please analyze this poem" or "What do you think of my analysis of this poem" are rarely answerable questions. There is no possibility of an authoritative answer; all interpretations and additions can be valuable; most answers are entirely subjective. These are great conversations, but they aren't Q&A.

Writers.SE is for writing, not for literary analysis. If you're trying to capture a particular technique present in a poem, in order to write your own work with it, then analyzing an existing piece (with your own work-in-progress clearly in mind) is on topic. Analyzing literature or poetry "just" for the sake of appreciating them better isn't on-topic here. (It used to be on topic at Literature.SE, but that site is, alas, defunct.)

There are a couple of obvious exceptions:

  • Critique questions are tricky to pull off, but they're on-topic. So if you're writing poetry, and can shape a specific question you'd like analyzed/answered, then Writers.SE is fine for that.
  • If your question is aimed at learning some specific aspect of writing technique, using existing pieces, that's on-topic. (See e.g. some case study questions.)

The overall guideline is: have a clear, explicit, specific reason why your question is writing-related. If you've got that, it's on-topic. If you don't, then IMHO it's off-topic here.

  • +1 and accept. Thanks for taking time and explaining it clearly. Jan 6, 2013 at 5:00

Looking at the FAQ, poetry is on-topic here.

  • 2
    It says writing poetry, not analysis of it. Jan 5, 2013 at 14:17
  • On that link, there is a mention that asking for a critique is on-topic. I think that is close enough to make your proposed post(s) on-topic.
    – tshepang
    Jan 5, 2013 at 14:51
  • @Tshepang - A critique is meant to help the author make a piece of writing better, which is not the case with literary analysis. Jan 8, 2013 at 17:46
  • @NeilFein thanks; I was thinking they were basically the same
    – tshepang
    Jan 8, 2013 at 19:59

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