What Is Subject In Poetry

Poetry is a form of creative expression consisting of words, images and ideas that are intended to create a type of understanding between the writer and the reader. It is expressive, powerful and can be used to convey complex emotions, ideas and thoughts. Most poems are written as lyrics, stories or sonnets, but there are also haiku, epigrams and freestyle types. Despite the various forms and topics, the subject of poetry is what gives it strength, originality and beauty.

When writing a poem, the author has the opportunity to use language and creativity to explore issues such as identity, politico-economic power, gender, race and ethics. They can also use the poem to express their views and sentiments about everyday life, nature and society. Poetry is a form of catharsis; a way of channeling what one feels internally, through language. It is also an effective technique of channeling emotions in people, provoking thought and even sparking social change.

Describing the “subject” of a poem is difficult to define. The subject is the central theme or message that the poem is attempting to convey. It is often found at the center of the poem’s plot and encompasses the ideas, images and characters that make up the poem’s content. Furthermore, the poem’s subject often provides insight into the meaning and structure of the poem.

The depth and meaning of the subject can vary greatly depending on the tone, emotion and layers of the poem. In some cases, the poem’s subject can be expressed directly in the words and line of the poem, while in other cases, the poem’s content may be more subtle and the subject may need to be inferred by the reader. This can be evidenced in more abstract and experimental types of poetry.

The tools that a poet has at their disposal to convey the subject are what make poetry unique from other forms of literature. By manipulating complexity and emotion, writers can create an impactful poem with a clear subject. Techniques such as metaphor and alliteration can add emotion and clarity to the poem, while rhyme and meter can help emphasize the poem’s central theme. All of these techniques help to bridge the gap between the reader and the poem, and make it easier for them to understand the poet’s message.

The magnitude and influence of a poem’s subject can be significant. While one poem may put forth a political or social statement, another may evoke a sense of love or appreciation. Poems written in the same style and form may have different types of subjects based on the poet’s intent and the poem’s context. Ultimately, poetry is a powerful and creative way to express ideas and feelings that can have a profound effect on those who read them.

Poetic Techniques for Conveying the Subject

A poem’s content and its characters, images and ideas are what give the poem its subject. As the poet has a range of techniques available to them to express their message, they can use certain poetic devices to convey the subject more effectively. Metaphor and allegory are two of the most common techniques in poetry. Through metaphors, a poet can compare two unrelated yet parallel concepts to express the qualities of one. An allegory, on the other hand, is a story used to represent abstract ideas, often hidden between the lines of the poem.

The structure and rhythm of a poem can often tell the reader about its subject. A classic example is a sonnet, which has a particular pattern of rhyme and meter that the poem should conform to in order to achieve its specific effect. Similarly, a haiku poem has a specific set of syllable counts that the poet must adhere to in order for the poem to be successful. In addition to this, the tone of the poem can reveal a lot about the subject. By playing with language, the poet can evoke a range of emotions to convey their message in a more subtle way.

Poetry is often used to deal with difficult subjects, such as death, war, love and loss. A poem’s content can make the reader think deeply about the subject matter and its implications. In these circumstances, a poet must be cognizant of the techniques they use to express their subject, as the effect can be significantly greater than if the same message were expressed in other forms of literature.

Symbolism in Poetry to Help Convey the Subject

Symbolism is one of the most important tools used by poets to convey the subject of their poems. Symbols are words or objects used to represent something else, giving the poem a more layered interpretation. Poets often use symbolism to add subtle meaning to the poem, to express their thoughts and feelings without stating them explicitly. Symbols can be universal, such as the use of nature to represent life, or more personal, such as the use of a book to represent knowledge.

Symbolism can also appear in the title of a poem. Titles often contain symbols that point to the poem’s focus and provide a sense of anticipation. For example, a title such as “Falling Star” immediately evokes an image and suggests a theme to the reader. Furthermore, symbols can be found in the poem’s imagery, creating a deeper and more layered meaning. Images of a storm, for example, can suggest the power and severity of a situation, while the image of a rose can signify love or beauty.

By incorporating symbols into their work, poets can create a visually appealing and emotionally resonant work of art. They can also play with the symbolism to heighten the reader’s understanding of the subject matter. In addition to this, symbolism can be used to make an abstract concept more concrete and easier to understand. Whether it be something from the natural world, an object or a concept, symbolism can be used to make sense of the poem’s subject.

How Poets Shape the Subject

A poem’s subject can be shaped by a variety of factors. Firstly, the poet’s perspective can have a great impact on the subject. Depending on their experiences and individual view, the poet may focus on a certain topic or express a particular sentiment. Secondly, the poem’s setting can be a factor in the poem’s focus. It can influence the choices of language and images used in the poem and help to evoke a certain emotion or point of view.

The style of the poem will also shape the subject matter. Different forms and techniques can create a certain atmosphere and set the tone of the poem. The combination of imagery, rhyme, meter and structure can all influence the poem’s message and the strength of the subject it conveys.

Finally, the historical and cultural context of the poem can shape its subject. This includes the historical significance, the laws and regulations of the time, and the general attitude towards certain topics. All of these will affect the poem’s subject, as the poet will likely draw inspiration from all these influences and use them to generate their original work.

Exploring Other Influences on the Subject

The language used in poetry, and the way it is structured, has a big impact on its subject. By using jargon, unusual words or phrases and strong punctuation, poets can emphasize a certain point. Furthermore, these techniques can create a certain atmosphere that supports the poem’s subject.

Certain texts or cultural references can also influence a poem’s subject. By incorporating these into their work, a poet is able to draw upon their cultural knowledge and use it to support their message. Likewise, the poet can draw on the work of previous poets, using it to inform their understanding of the poem’s subject and what it means.

The audience of a poem also has an influence on its subject. Poets may choose to write in a certain style or create an effect that resonates with their audience. This could include a particular way of writing, or even a certain tone or atmosphere. By understanding their readers, a poet can shape their poem accordingly in order to convey their subject more effectively.

Defining the Subject Matters in Poetry

When it comes to poetry, there is a wide range of subjects explored. From political to personal and from love to loss, the many topics addressed by poets give poetry its depth and depth of understanding. In addition to this, the poet’s own opinion, experiences and emotions can have a great impact on the poem’s subject. As a result, no two poems will have the same subject, even if the same words, imagery and techniques are used.

As with any form of writing, it is important for a poet to consider the audience, cultural context, personal perspective and literary devices when creating their unique poem. By doing so, the poet can effectively compose a poem with a strong, clear and engaging subject that resonates with the reader.

Exploring the Effect of the Subject in Poetry

The effect of a poem’s subject can be powerful. When writing a poem, the author has the opportunity to express their personal views and sentiments, challenge accepted norms and introduce insightful new perspectives. In turn, this can lead to a greater understanding of the world and the people around us. It can also lead to healthy dialogue and debate as people explore a poem’s subject from different angles and perspectives.

In addition to this, the subject of a poem can have a profound effect on its readers. A poem can offer comfort and clarity, provoke thought and emotion and help readers to understand themselves and discover something new about the world. As such, the subject of a poem has the potential to be something that can be appreciated and contemplated for years to come.

Connecting the Symbolism to Further Convey the Subject

Symbols are often used to emphasize the subject of a poem. By connecting multiple symbols, a poet can establish a connection between them and create a greater understanding of the poem’s subject. This can be done through the use of contrasting images, or by expanding on a single symbol. For example, a poet may use a metaphor to represent love and then expand on this metaphor by including other symbols such as a heart or an oceanside. By doing this, the poet can give their poem a greater depth and layer of complexity.

In addition to this, symbols can be used to paint a vivid picture of the poem’s subject. Through the use of symbols, a poet can evoke certain emotions, or bring an otherwise abstract concept to life. By connecting symbols, the poet can help to create a poem that resonates with the reader and leave a lasting impression.

Depicting the Subject Through Poetic Devices

The way a poet chooses to represent the subject of their poem will have a great impact on its success. By using various poetic devices, the poet can craft their vision and make it accessible to their readers. Techniques such as personification, similes and metaphors can all be used to help the reader understand the poem’s meaning and relate to its subject.

In addition to this, language is a powerful tool that can be used to convey the poem’s subject. The poet can create a certain atmosphere and evoke certain emotions through their words. By controlling their language and manipulating complex ideas, they can create a poem that is powerful and emotionally charged. Likewise, line breaks and spacing can also be used to enhance the subject of a poem and make the poem more meaningful and impactful.


The subject of a poem can be a powerful and effective tool that can be used to convey any number of messages. Depending on the poet’s intentions and the poem’s context, the subject can vary greatly. By utilizing poetic techniques, imagery, symbols and language, a poet can create an impactful and original poem that can resonate with their readers. Poetry is a unique form of expression that can evoke powerful emotions and spark thought in those who experience it. Regardless of the poem’s subject, it can be a deep and meaningful experience for all who read it.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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