Essay Assignment: On Poetry
Develop an open question about one or more of the poems we read this
semester. Your thesis should be a thoughtful answer to that open question. You will
support your answer with a detailed close reading. A close reading will require you to
explain the poem’s use of language and form as essential to the poem’s meaning.
Therefore, you will need to explain its use of figurative language (metaphor, simile,
personification, metonymy, and/or synecdoche), its tone, denotations, rhyme, meter, and
its overall poetic structure. Regarding the latter point, it is important to consider how and
why the poem begins, develops, and ends as it does. You should assume that the poem
has an organic unity: all of its words have meaning in relation to each other.
Make your answer as detailed as possible.
Your interpretation should be based on a close textual analysis of what the texts say. Use
the text as your proof.
Your interpretation needs to be argued, explained, and supported.
Your essay must be at least three full pages and no longer than five. It should
be double-spaced and typed in 12 point Times New Roman font.
It should have a clear
thesis that is developed in a series of coherent and related paragraphs.
citations, and the Works Cited page should conform to the guidelines of the MLA
Direct the essay to someone who knows the poem, but has not taken the time
to analyze it carefully in order to understand the depth of its language and meaning.
Due Dates: Thesis and Outline due Oct 30 Final November 8th
My Papa’s Waltz BY THEODORE ROETHKE
Summer Storm by Dana Gioia
Introduction to Poetry BY BILLY COLLINS
The Garden of Love BY WILLIAM BLAKE
The Tyger BY WILLIAM BLAKE
THE DIVINE IMAGE BY WILLIAM BLAKE
“The Wild Iris” by Louise Gluck
(ANY) SONNET 18 / 20 / 94 / 130 / 138 / 144 William Shakespeare
Dreams Langston Hughes
Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH