ENGLISH 91--PAPER 1

POETRY EXPLICATION

APPROXIMATE LENGTH: 3-5 PAGES

Explication comes from the Latin word explicare, which means "to unfold." As explained in Meyer's Thinking and Writing About Literature, explication "is a detailed explanation of a passage of poetry or prose" (18). After reading Meyer, pages 18-24, begin prewriting an explication of a poem of your choice from The Norton Anthology of Poetry. You may choose a poem we have already read or one we have not read. Your paper should explain the workings of the poem in detail, attending to matters of poetic form, meter, imagery, and meaning. Remember to consider the various elements of poetry we have discussed in class (e.g., symbols, metaphor, personification, rhyme, etc.) and explain their presence in the poem you have chosen. Your paper must be more than a line-by-line summary of the poem; to succeed, you must develop a thesis about the meaning of the poem. You must support this claim with evidence from the poem itself, showing how form and content are related. Your paper should be gracefully organized, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.

SUGGESTED POEMS (PAGE NUMBERS REFER TO NA)--You can pick any poem from the anthology that you think will work for you; the following are merely some suggestions of poems that I think will work:

Any sonnet--especially Shakespeare--186-191

William Blake--any of the "Songs of Innocence" or "Songs of Experience" (497-506)

Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ozymandias" (619)

Emily Dickinson--any poem from NA

Gerard Manley Hopkins--pick one we didn't do in class

Thomas Hardy--"Hap" (844), "Drummer Hodge" (845), "The Convergence of the Twain" (848)

W. B. Yeats--"The Stolen Child" (875), "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" (876), "When You Are Old" (876(, "The Second Coming (883)

Robert Frost, "Mending Wall" (908), "The Oven Bird" (914), "Stopping by Woods . . . " (917), "Neither Out Far Nor in Deep" (921)

Elizabeth Bishop, "Large Bad Picture" (1133), "The Fish" (1136), "Letter to N.Y." (1137)