Reading and Writing about Poetry (Lesson 7)
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Essay on works of literature. No plagiarism period. 1900 words. MLA Format.
Compare and contrast some of the poems from this week’s readings. You may compare poems from a single poet, or compare poems across poets. Have a debatable, persuasive claim and focus on specific points of comparison, using the Lesson in week 7 to guide your structure.
Your essays should be in MLA Style and approximately 1625-1950 words, not including the Work(s) Cited page. Meeting the minimum word requirement makes you eligible for a C grade. Meeting the maximum word requirements makes you eligible for an A grade. As with most academic writing, this essay should be written in third person. Please avoid both first person (I, we, our, etc.) and second person (you, your).
In the upper left-hand corner of the paper, place your name, the professor’s name, the course name, and the due date for the assignment on consecutive lines. Double space your information from your name onward, and don’t forget a title. All papers should be in Times New Roman font with 12-point type with one-inch margins all the way around your paper. All paragraph indentations should be indented five spaces (use the tab key) from the left margin. All work is to be left justified. When quoting lines in literature, please research the proper way to cite short stories, plays, or poems.
Read: Sharon Olds, “First Thanksgiving” at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/53387
Read: Sharon Olds, “Still Life in Landscape” at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/53386
Read: Sharon Olds, “After Making Love in Winter” at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=36723
Read: Sharon Olds, “The Planned Child” at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=36230
Read: Linda Pastan, “A Rainy Country” at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=42085
Read: Linda Pastan, “I Am Learning to Abandon the World” at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/34957
Read: Linda Pastan, “The Obligation to Be Happy” at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/39788
Read: Linda Pastan, “Why Are Your Poems So Dark?” at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/41918
Read: Larry Levis, “SIgns” at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/47941
Read: Larry Levis, “To a Wren on Calvary” at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/47946
Read: Larry Levis, “Winter Stars” at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/53388
Reading and Writing about Poetry (Lesson 7)
Like novels, poems can be analyzed as singular events, or they can be compared/contrasted in a broader conversation. You might look at multiple works from the same author, works featuring the same themes, works with the same image pattern, or works in the same genre (lyrics, elegies, etc.) There are lots of options. When asked to analyze poetry try to think of a persuasive thesis ( an opinion), then brainstorm at least three forms of evidence to help you construct the body paragraphs. When writing a compare/contrast, you want to think of your three forms of ‘evidence’ instead as your ‘three points of comparison’.
A poetry analysis, then, might have thesis statement like this:
Although “Traveling Through the Dark” by William Stafford uses the same situation as Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” it presents a view of humanity and nature that is far more bleak.
I would then construct the body of the paper to explore and discuss the ways in which the two poems differ.
I could have said:
“Traveling Through the Dark” by William Stafford uses imagery of birth and death to imagine a world in which human beings are like the cruel gods of Greek mythology, deciding the fate of others arbitrarily.
The evidence I choose to support my opinion helps me to structure my piece, no matter what the evidence is.
Compare and Contrast Writing
If I’m comparing/contrasting, I might think of two subjects and then three ways to compare/contrast them, my “points of comparison.”
I would then, most likely, structure the body of my paper like this:
Intro with thesis
1st body paragraph: Setting: discuss both poems and how they treat the physical setting of the poem.
2nd body paragraph: Imagery: discuss the particular images employed in each poem.
3rd body paragraph: Theme: discuss how the first two elements create a thematic statement in each poem.
Then I would conclude.
This is called a point-by-point arrangement and can be applied to any compare and contrast assignment, whether you are examining movies, poems, generals, disease treatment protocols, presidents, graduate schools, etc.
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