For your 3rd essay, a poetry explication, choose one of the poems we’ve been discussing and explore a mixture of the paragraph ideas below, choosing the ones you feel best suit your chosen poem.
Poems to choose from include the following:
“Living Poets” by Jeffrey Skinner
“Late Poem to My Father” by Sharon Olds
“America” by Tony Hoagland
“Hard Rain” by Tony Hoagland
“Soil Horizon” by Tiana Clark
“So I Know” by Bob Hicok
“The Elevator Operator” by Amit Majmudar
Paragraph ideas from which to choose in order to build your argument:
- discuss the complicated issue/situation/development at stake in the poem
- discuss a key image and how this image works to advance the poemâ€™s tension or theme
- discuss, if applicable, the authorâ€™s use of enjambment and how specific line breaks may serve to emphasize certain words connected to the poemâ€™s theme
- discuss a central word in the poem and how the word can teach a reader how to interpret the rest of the poem
- discuss a family of words that connect to each other and how these words advance the theme of the poem
- discuss the use of figurative language and any relationship to the poemâ€™s theme
- discuss the tone of the poem and which specific parts of the poem (imagery, diction) support this tone
- discuss, if applicable, the authorâ€™s use of syntax
- discuss any allusions within the poem and how these allusions connect to the poemâ€™s purpose
- GUIDELINES FOR OPENING PARAGRAPH OF LITERARY ESSAY (SHORT FICTION)
- Mention the authorâ€™s full name and the title of the work
- After mentioning the authorâ€™s name the first time, from then on use only the authorâ€™s last name.
- Remember that short works (stories, essays, and poems) require the use of quotation marks (e.g. â€œEveryday Useâ€) while long works such as novels require italics (Huckleberry Finn)
- Use present tense verbs when writing about literature
- Provide a general plot summary of the workâ€”no need to go into great detailâ€”just the basic gist of things. In essence, you are providing a context in which to examine the story.
- Provide a more analytical/interpretive understanding of the workâ€™s underlying tension and its resolution. What is the workâ€™s overall purpose, its reason for being, its theme?
- Explain the method or â€œhowâ€ (i.e. the elements of fiction: plot, structure, characterization, symbolism, setting, style, point of view, tone) through which the author achieves his or her purpose for the story
Considerations:If you are addressing an authorâ€™s use of setting, for instance, do you make an argument about how the authorâ€™s use of setting helps to advance the storyâ€™s theme? Does your opening paragraph, in fact, establish a theme, or purpose, for the story? In order to do so, youâ€™ll need to establish an understanding of the central conflict of the story and the resolution it finds. Remember that plot + conflict + resolution = theme. Without this understanding, your first paragraph hasnâ€™t fully done its job.