English 112 Paper One: Poetry Explication
For this paper, I am asking you to write an explication of any poem in Chapter 6 of your book (pp. 184-209) that we will NOT read together as a class. That means you can write on one of these poems: “Burning Dreams on the Sun,” “Much Madness is Divinest Sense,” “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “Trying to Sleep,” “Hard Rock Returns to Prison,” “Outcast,” “In Response to Executive Order 9066,” “Wild Geese,” “The Lost Romans,” “Lost Sister,” “Mexicans Begin Jogging,” or “I Saw a Louisiana Live-Oak Growing.”
A formal explication of the type I am asking you to write should do these things:
Include an introduction of the type we have discussed (of the poem, not “poetry” or “the world”).
Use as many “perfect paragraphs” and as much transitioning as are necessary to do these things:
Summarize the poem’s central argument or primary meaning (What are we, the audience, supposed to “get”?)
Identify any literary devices that are used to establish the theme or meaning of the poem (such as metaphor, simile, alliteration, hyperbole, symbolism, allusion, etc.)
Take the reader of your paper step-by-step through any parts or sections of the poem that you identify as evidence
Use a conclusion of the type we have discussed.
In essence, then, I am asking you to use the paragraph structures we have discussed to build an interpretation and presentation of the main arguments of a poem. Poets write to express distinct messages; I am asking you to write about those messages and show how the poets are “speaking” those messages in verse.
On a technical note, these papers should adhere to the formatting rules as outlined on the syllabus and should be 2-3 pages long. Remember that I also ask that you include a descriptive title for your paper. Finally, remember, too, that I am always available to help in any way I can, so please visit me in office hours or email me if I can assist during the process!
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