TP-CASTT is a method of poetry analysis that is unique to the person analyzing the poem. The P, for example, stands for "paraphrase in your own words," a task that readers must do for themselves. However, the following steps will demonstrate the process and give you some ideas for using...
the TP-CASTT method.
T (Title): Based on the title alone, what does the poem seem like it is about? Does it sound like "The Elder's Drum" is about a literal drum? Does the word "elder" bring to mind certain traditions present in various cultures?
P (Paraphrase): Paraphrasing should be done line by line, but in general one could say that the poem's speaker describes a tribal ritual involving a drum circle. Her grandfather, who participates, is old, but the ritual makes him seem much younger and more vibrant. She talks about how she and her generation are inheriting their grandfathers' songs to carry with them into the future.
C (Connotation): This is where you would look for the implicit meanings suggested by the language of the poem. For example, the narrator's admiration for her grandfather connotes her pride in her culture more generally.
A (Attitude): What is the attitude of the speaker? In "The Elder's Drum," some relevant adjectives would include proud, thoughtful, reflective, and admiring.
S (Shifts): One example of a shift in the poem is when the speaker changes from speaking about the ritual itself to speaking about her grandfather.
T (Title): Reexamine the title now that you have read the whole poem. Does it carry more meaning now? It is now clear that it isn't just about a drum—rather, the drum and the elder who holds it represents an entire culture and way of life.
T (Theme): What is the poem about? Many poems have a number themes to draw from in your analysis. "The Elder's Drum" includes such themes as the importance of family, pride in one's culture, and holding on to the past as one move forward.