Poetry Essay

Langston Hughes “I, Too”

Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken”

Emily Dickinson “I heard a Fly Buzz – when I died”

Walt Whitman “O Captain! My Captain!”Robert Frost “Desert Places”

Theodore Roethke “Root Cellar”

Dylan Thomas “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”

Anne Bradstreet “The Author to her Book”

Choose a single poem to analyze

Before you begin writing, I suggest that you review the readings in your text on writing about literature. You may also find this section from the Purdue OWL helpful: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/618/01/ (Links to an external site.) or this section from the UNC OWL: http://writingcenter.unc.edu/resources/handouts-demos/specific-writing-assignments/poetry-explications (Links to an external site.)

Your paper is an explication of the poem, not a simple summary of what the lines say.

First, develop a thesis that clearly states your interpretation of the poem you have chosen. What is the theme or meaning of the poem, and how do you know? Then provide a thorough explication that illuminates how the evidence in the text supports that thesis. The intent of this assignment is to get you to think carefully and independently about a single poem, and to develop your own unique interpretation of that poem. Then, in your paper, you must convey that thinking and understanding to your reader.

Remember to create a clear thesis. Remember to explain yourself fully and to illustrate with examples from the poem which you carefully analyze. This is an explication only, so focus on the text itself rather than outside research.

Remember also that your purpose is not to summarize the poem, but to explicate, analyze, and explain.