Explication of a Poem

As you can imagine, based on the readings, your second writing assignment will focus on poetry. Specifically, you are to write an explication of a poem of your own choosing. You are free to use any poem from our book. For a detailed explanation of what an explication writing assignment is, and what such a paper looks like, read the section “Types of Writing Assignments” – Explication – on pages 1393-97 of your text. While the term explication may sound a bit foreign to you, it really isn’t. It is what we are doing in class – examining and interpreting a poem, often line by line, to provide a detailed explanation of the poem.


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As noted in your text, “an explication pays careful attention to language – the connotations of words, allusions, figurative language, irony, symbol, rhythm, sound, and so on” (Meyer 1393). You will want to use these elements of poetry to support the interpretation you present in your essay. For more help go to bedfordstmartins.com/meyercompact and click on VitruaLit Interactive Poetry Tutorial. The format is, as for all college writing, MLA.

This, of course, means it will be in the written in the third person and all sources will be properly documented and cross-referenced with works cited page. Make sure you use the correct format when including lines of poetry in your text. Check an MLA manual for poetry format. The length of the paper is a minimum of four pages not including the Works Cited page. Two comprehensive rough drafts and an outline are required. Each draft must be three or more full pages and show significant revision. The final draft is due Sunday, 7/12. No paper will be accepted without two rough drafts, final draft, outline, and editing checklist.


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