Final Take-Home Examination for English 292 – Survey of Poetry
Due by 6:00 pm, Thursday, December 16, 2004
Spend no more than three hours writing a response to the following prompt. Your final essay should be coherent and well-argued, using evidence from the poems you select. You do not need to conduct research for this essay. Please do not write about poems that you have already discussed in your two papers for this class. You may choose from any poems in our textbook; if you wish to use a poem not in our textbook, please consult me first.
Pick one poem you would consider “modern” (either written after 1900 or written in the 19th century but leaning toward the “modern” in form and tone) and compare it to a poem written before 1800, comparing and contrasting the two in terms of form, content, and/or tone. You might consider picking two poems on a similar topic (e.g., religion, love, war, poems about poetry, etc.) and/or by writers who share some characteristic (e.g., two poems by women writers, by American writers, or by African American writers, for example). You may want to think about choosing two poems written in different verse forms (e.g., one in a traditional form such as a sonnet and one in free verse), or two poems written in the same form with a striking difference in content or tone. Use your comparison to come to some conclusions about what you have learned concerning the analysis of poetry and the history of poetry as we have studied it this semester: how has poetry written in English changed, as evidenced by the two poems you have chosen? I do not expect you to make sweeping, comprehensive generalizations based on only two poems, so you need not feel compelled to do so, but do try to choose poems that you feel represent changes that you have noticed throughout the semester.
For Extra Credit (i.e., optional): Write a poem about poetry. You can write a limerick, if need be; it does not need to be a masterpiece (though masterpieces are nice).