How to Paraphrase a Poem

To paraphrase is to explain someone else’s ideas using your own words, so you have to be familiar with the topic in order to nail the paraphrase. You can rephrase a quote, a paragraph, a sentence, or even an entire paper. The prose is quite easy to rephrase, as all you have to do is find other words to say the same thing. But things get more complicated when you have to paraphrase a poem. If you need to paraphrase poems, you should completely know what they are talking about.


Poems can have hidden meanings, or talk about something completely different from what you thought. Thus, when paraphrasing a poem, you will have to make sure you capture the essence of it – something quite difficult, to be honest. However, learning how to do it has many advantages. Besides being able to explain even the most complicated poems, you will be able to express more clearly. Learning how to paraphrase a poem can help you with your writing skills and expand your vocabulary. If you develop this skill, you will benefit from:

  • Excellent writing skills that can help you draft and write any piece of paper
  • A richer vocabulary that will help you express yourself more clearly and accurate
  • Good oral skills as you will have to read the poem out loud to understand it better
  • Develop your analytical skills thanks to the fact that you will have to interpret the meaning of the poem

Paraphrase a Poem to Uncover Its Hidden Meaning

paraphrase a poem onlineThose who take classes in verse will paraphrase a poem occasionally. Those who take the time to paraphrase poems and write them in their own words will understand them better. If you want to paraphrase a poem, you probably want to understand what it’s saying. You might also want to show comprehension. People paraphrase poems to teach others what they think a piece of the verse means. That makes this a useful teaching tool as well.

A Helpful Guide to Paraphrase a Poem

A poem is a type of writing that express the author’s ideas or feeling with a magnifying effect. It usually has some hidden meanings, and sometimes it can be hard to understand it the first time you read it. Now, if you have to paraphrase poem you will need to follow certain rules – they will help you save tons of time and ensure the poem has been properly paraphrased. To help you with your rephrase task, we have written a useful guide for you so that you can rewrite a poem correctly. Take note of these tips:

  • As a golden rule, make sure you have read the poem several times as this will help you understand the poem completely and locate the main topic.
  • After you have read it many times, you can break the poems by lines or by paragraphs, it is up to you.
  • Depending on the poem, it may be easy to paraphrase it line by line. But this will depend on how it is written.
  • Locate what the main points are in the poem, and try to rephrase them using plain language. You will have to write them as if you were telling them to someone else, but make sure you keep the meaning of the poem. You cannot change its message.
  • Once you have finished paraphrasing the poem, you should proofread your text. Scan it quickly looking for punctuation, grammar, spelling, and stylistic mistakes. If you find one, fix it and keep reading it.
  • After you proofread your paper, read it again and see if it needs some editing or if it ready for printing.
  • You can make these two last points by reading your paper out loud. It will help you identify any mistakes easier.

Teachers Paraphrase a Poem

When instructors paraphrase a poem they probably want to use the resultant text as a teaching tool. Of course, students might be asked to produce their own text in a similar situation. In either case, it makes sense to look at an illustration of a poem paraphrase. Take the following piece of verse for example. First, read the original poem:

“Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou (Lines 1 –  29)

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”

Now take a look at this example of the poem paraphrase:

The beautiful women cannot figure out why I am attractive. I am not beautiful and I do not have the body of a model. However, when I explain them my secret, they think I am being dishonest and that I am not telling the truth. I tell them that my secret lies in what I can reach, the way I move, the way I walk, and how I move my lips. I am an extraordinary woman, that’s who I am.

When I walk into a room, as people want me to, some men stand up while others praise me with admiration. They all gather around me as the bees do with honey. And I explain that my secret is the light in my eyes, my shiny teeth, how I move my waist and how I walk. I am an extraordinary woman, that’s who I am.

Students Paraphrase a Poem

Beyond the vast Peruvian realms, whose wealth supports the Iberian throne and freights whole fleets to Europe’s hostile strand, a wondrous ridge of cumbrous hills, vast, huge and piled abrupt, ascend above the clouds and bound the view from sky to sky aloft bleak winter holds eternal reign and from the mountain’s brow, all covered over with ice and white snow. Those who paraphrase poem material might sum that verse down to a few sentences. For instance, they could say, “The wealth of Peru used to support Spain. There was more to the Incan civilization to that, however. The geography was certainly notable.”

Those who need help with paraphrase poem assignments should take a look at tips similar to those offered here. A poem paraphrase shouldn’t be difficult. However, some people are unused to reading a poetic verse. Those who aren’t are probably stuck on the idea that Elizabethan English, in particular, is problematic. It really shouldn’t be. Renaissance authors weren’t much different from modern ones. People haven’t changed as much as people think they have. Once you realize this, it’s much easier to sum down run of the mill poetry. People always have the same wants and needs no matter which century it is.


 Paraphrase a poem and you`ll understand them better!

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