Poetry Essay Instructions

For your poetry essay. pick one of the following topics with which to develop a two page typed essay. Your essay should be double-spaced. use 1 pt. Times New Roman font. and include your name, the date. and the course in the upper right hand comer. See the How to Write Papers tab in the Start Here module for more information.

1. Choose a poem and write an essay in which you provide an analysis of it, focusing on showing how the poetic devices present in the poem help support your interpretation. You may choose a poem out of the book or one you find on your own,but do not choose one that was includedin our assigned reading or one that already has a sample essay written in the textbook.

Your job in this essay is to provide an analysis of this poem for your reader, to show the reader something about the poem that is not immediately apparent on first reading it, and to show the reader how the elements of the poem (i.e. the literary devices in it) help establish that hidden meaning.

Some of the major problems that can come up in this sort of essay are:

1. You need to be sure that you have a solid thesis, that you have something specific that you are trying to show to the reader, and that that thesis is something that you can PROVE (that it is an argument, for example). Oftentimes, writers will begin with a thesis statement that is either not arguable ("This poem by Edgar Allen Poe is really neat"-- how are you going to prove that?) or that is based on the poem's surface level meaning ("Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven is a poem about a writer"-OK. And?)

2. You should make sure that the things you are pointing out about the poem help prove/explainyour thesis. Don't point out every poetic/figurative device that you can find in the poem. Point out only those that help you make your case to your reader and prove your thesis.

3. You should not structure your essay around the structure of the poem. Doing this pulls away from your thesis but it also encourages you to paraphrase a lot of material that mightnot really be necessary for proving your thesis,