PLEASE see attachment 1-4 carefully, and choose a poem from attachment 11-88
For your first formal paper assignment, you will do a close analysis of one of the poems from chapters 1-4. Essentially, expand your process of exploration that you’ve already begun with short-answer responses into deeper literary analysis. In literature courses, this includes explication as well as a more detailed assessment of what a poem says and how it works. As Professor Michael Meyer relates, “The purpose of this approach to a literary work is to make the implicit explicit.” (Introduction to Poetry, Bedford/St. Martins, 702). Think of the assignment as an intimate examination of the poem to discover its meaning and the intricacies of “how” it means. Helen Vendler offers “Basic Principles” in chapter 10, and guidelines for approaching and analyzing poetry throughout her text. Draw upon her strategies and suggestions, as well as those we’ve used in class, to compose your analysis.
Your aim is to examine the poem and communicate your understanding of what the poem is trying to say. Examine the components that we’ve discussed so far and use them in whatever ways you find helpful. As Vendler states, “Your first task is to see how the theme of the work is being imagined; how the literal statement of the poet’s feeling has been transformed” (Chapter 10, 271). She suggests that you
Begin with a question
Present your case
Draw your conclusions
Keep your reader in mind
Organize your ideas into a well-organized paragraph, and integrate the poet’s words directly into your analysis.
This is one approach to the analysis. Here are some further suggestions:
Do not simply summarize (or paraphrase) what the poem says; instead, examine how the poet communicates the experience of the poem, through language and structure.
You will need to refer frequently to your poem as you examine its meaning. Cite in MLA format, with an in-text citation and a Works Cited Page.
The suggested length is 4 pages. Essays should be typed and double-spaced, and formatted with a heading and title. Don’t forget the works cited page.