This week in class, we really got in-depth with the poem "The Eagle", by Alfred Lord Tennyson . We spent some time getting into what the poem was saying, or could be saying, as opposed to it simply being about an eagle.
Going into depth with poetry is always an adventure. Once you start talking about diction, connotation, and other literary devices, it is easy to see all of the hidden themes and meanings that you may have missed before. Reading a poem at face-value is fun, but it doesn't give you the meaning that the author was perhaps trying to convey.
While doing your analysis, however, you must keep in mind a few things. As we learned from the discussion in class, there are many different ways to interpret a poem. Poems speak to us in many ways.
By deep-reading into the poem, you are able to notice all sorts of things, as well as get a better understanding of how to write poetry yourself. It becomes more apparent which words work, which don't, which convey certain ideas the best, and which should be avoided at all costs. By looking into the choices of a poet, you may discover a whole lot more than you originally bargained for.
As I stated before, taking a poem at face-value is fun, simple, and quick. But not only do you miss out on a possible "diamond in the rough", you also lose the sense that you really accomplished something. Some poems are not easy to dig into, but that is what makes it all the more tempting to try. The gratification of answering questions and comprehending challenging literature is often what drives me to analyze poems or novels.
So, I think it is safe to say that it is always worth while to at least make an attempt to understand the deeper meanings behind poems, especially if you want to get all there is to get out of them. Whether you "succeed" of "fail" is really up to your own interpretation, as there are many meanings and motivations you could get out of a single piece of work.