aPoetry Explication Paper Assignment: This paper is to be a close reading of one of the poems assigned for this week (your choice). It should begin with a four-step introduction paragraph (in which you italicize your thesis statement). See the student paper posted above. (Note that it does not meet all the assignment requirements. If there is a difference, know that I am grading according the instructions below.)
- Learn what the elements of a poem are first: View the PowerPoint Lecture for Module 2 for help on what theme, genre, versification, figures of speech, and cultural context mean in a poetry explication, and read about these in your textbook.
- Two-part title: Your title should be a two-part title divided by a colon (:). On one side of the colon, give the name of the author and the poem (place the poem name in quote marks and don’t italicize it). On the one side of the colon create a subtitle that points toward your thesis. Be sure to capitalize the first letter of each word both before and after the colon except short prepositions (like “of,” “to,”) and articles (“a,” “an,” and “the”).
- Four-step introduction paragraph: This paragraph contains your thesis statement (italicized) in the third sentence or step of the paragraph. See the Formatting Checklist in the syllabus for an example of this kind of introduction paragraph
- Body of essay: After the four-step introduction paragraph write four more paragraphs–a paragraph for each of the following areas (be especially careful with the “cultural context” paragraph below). These four paragraphs form the body of your essay (after your introduction paragraph):
- Theme: Use the word theme in your topic sentence for this paragraph as well as at least one word from your thesis statement. This connects your topic sentence to your thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. Here is an illustration from a nursery rhyme: If you were explicating the poem “Hickory Dickory Dock” and your thesis is that the poem captures how all-things-are-possible in the imagination of a child, here would be a bad topic sentence: The theme in the poem is of a cow jumping over the moon. This would be a good topic sentence, since it reconnects to the thesis statement: The theme of a cow jumping over the moon reflects a child’s belief that the world is magical and one only needs to imagine the unthinkable.
- Genre: use the word “genre” in your topic sentence for this paragraph, and use at least one word from your thesis statement in the same sentence. You can look up types of genres on this Harvard Poetry Website. [Look how to cite https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ ] Figures of speech: Use the term “figures of speech” in your topic sentence for this paragraph as well as one word from your thesis statement in the same sentence.
- Cultural context: Use the term cultural context in your topic sentence as well as at least one word from your thesis statement in the same sentence. A note about this paragraph: You must provide at least one quote from a scholarly source that helps you talk about the culture or history of the poet and the time the poem was written. You must find this source on EbscoHost. Don’t turn in your paper without developing this paragraph. This paragraph needs to give information on things like when the poem was written, what country it was written in, what social issues or political events were happening that contributed to the poet’s choice of the topic for the poem or the tone or voice it was written in. Be sure to quote from a good source you find on EbscoHost for this at least once, but summarize from that source(s) beyond that. Give credit to that source by naming the author and the page number of the quote in MLA style.
- Conclusion paragraph: After these five paragraphs, write a concluding paragraph that revisits your thesis and that states what your explication of the poem found.
- Quote the poem: Your paper should use quotes from the lines of the poem you are explicating numerous times to illustrate your points. It should be formatted in MLA format. View the PowerPoint Lecture for Module 2 for help on what theme genre, figures of speech, and cultural context mean in a poetry explication, and read about these in your textbook.
- Three scholarly quotes: In your essay, you need to quote (at least) THREE times from a scholarly source you find only through EbscoHost (don’t use poetry.com or Wikipediaor any other non-EbscoHost source; even on EbscoHost, use only longer scholarly pieces and not single-paragraph entries like you find on Funks encyclopedia; using these non-EbscoHost or single-paragraph entries [except for the Harvard Poetry cite for the genre paragraph] will lower your grade).
- Where to quote: Give a quote at least once in the cultural context paragraph but also at least once in two of the other paragraphs.
- Trouble finding something on EbscoHost? If you can’t find an article on the exact poem you are analyzing in any of your EbscoHost searches, try selecting all databases. If still no article on the poem, then just put in the name of the poet in the search box. Know that you can quote from any article on your poet, not just one on that poet’s exact poem. You do NOT have to necessarily find an article exactly on your poem. It could be an article that just discusses your author (the poet) or even just a discussion about different kinds of genres in poetry or that defines “versification” for you in that part of your essay. So your sources can be broader than your exact poem and still give you relevant quotes to use in your paper. If you have trouble finding a source on EbscoHost, email me right away. I do not allow you to substitute sources you find through Google instead.
- Dont plagiarize: A quote means you take words from the article you found on EbscoHost and put quote marks around them. Quotes can help you interpret: If you find it hard to know how to interpret a poem, draw on the expertise of a seasoned literary critic you find on EbscoHost by quoting that critic in the middle of a paragraph. You can quote your source in any paragraph if it helps your discussion in that paragraph. But be sure it is from EbscoHost and not something you happen to find on Google.
- How to find and use EbscoHost: For step-by-step instructions for how to use EbscoHost (and how to let it format your reference for the Works Cited), read that section in the Formatting Checklist (in the syllabus). When you search on EbscoHost, simply type in the author’s name of your poem or the title of the poem (be sure to select “full-text articles only” so you don’t get one-paragraph abstracts only). To find sources on a database called Academic Search Premier:
a.Google for Ind Tech Library. A link for McMillan library appears. Click it.
b.Look for Databases A-Z
c.Click on it
d.Enter your Indiana Tech
e.Select Academic Search Premier
f. Click the Choose databases” link and select all databases
g.Choose the Advanced Search link below the Academic Search Premier searchbox and start searching
- Works Cited: End your paper with a Works Cited. Be sure it lists at least these three entries: the one poem you analyzed (with the name of the author of your poem listed first followed by the title of the poem and editors and other anthology information following), The Harvard Poetry website you used for your genre paragraph the EbscoHost source(s) you used for the Cultural Context paragraph and for the quote or quotes you used in other parts of your paper
- MLA help for citing a poem: Use proper MLA formatting for your sources. Look her for how to format one selection from an anthology: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/06/ Look for “A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection”Use line numbers for citing poems: Remember that MLA requires that all quotes in the body of your essay have a page number or paragraph or line number in parentheses at the end of the quote. For a poem, it should look like this: (845 line 3). The number 845 would be the page number the poem appears on, and then 3 is the line number within the poem itself. If you are quoting a literary critic from a Ebscohost article, it would look like this: Smith says, “The pentameter in the poem echoes the skipping pulse of the gal on her way to school” (36).
- Place titles of poem in quote marks: Every time you give the name of the poem (including in the title of your essay or in your thesis statement), place it in quote marks: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (don’t use italics). How to lead into a line from the poem you are quoting: Many students have trouble leading into a quote when quoting a line from the poem. Use these approaches: We see this kind of versification in the line that reads, “The cow jumped over the moon” (34 line 4). Plath uses short, simple verbs that children can relate to …..The narrator says, “The mouse ran up the clock” (34 line 3).Donne pens this thought: “The clock struck one” (34 line 6). Here we see the larger theme of time being personified to elicit in the reader …The next stanza begins like this: “The mouse ran up the clock” (34 line 2). This conveys a narrative sense that the mouse …Levertove writes, “Hickory, dickory, dock” (34 line 1) as almost an onomatopoeia of the movement of the second hand on an analogue clock.When he follows that rhyming line with “And down she come,” one can feel the resolution to the climax.
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