poetry journals

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In your reading, I asked that you pay particular attention to the following poems.

Dickinson, “Success is counted sweetest”


Dickinson, “Water, is taught by thirst”


Dickinson, “The Soul selects her own Society”


McKay, “The White City”


Johnson, “Calling Dreams”


Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”


Hughes, “Ballad of the Landlord”


Hughes, “Harlem”


Complete a journal entry for each of the eight poems above (eight entries total), using the following categories and using the two columns (evidence and interpretation). Make sure to complete the reading above first regarding poetry terms so you will better understand each category:

Diction (What type of diction is used, according to the definitions on p. 571?)

Connotations (What are the connotations of certain significant words in the poem—beyond the denotative, or literal, meaning?)

Persona (Who is the speaker of the poem? That is, what is the persona the poet has adopted?)

Tone (What is the tone of the poem?)

Syntax (What strikes you about the syntax of the poem?)

Ambiguity (Are there any ambiguities or contradictions in the poem? What are they?)

Imagery (What types of images are created?)

Metaphor/Simile (What types of metaphors or similes are used? And how?)

Meter (What type of meter is used? What words are emphasized owing to the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables?)

Rhyme (What do you notice about the rhyme scheme? See p. 667-668)

Punctuation (What do you notice about the punctuation?)

Sounds (How is the poem using sound? See pp. 661-666)

Themes (What themes does the poem raise?)

Anything else

NOTE: For your poetry assignment, I am going to ask that you send me your journal notes for Hughes’ “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and two other poems that you are most proud of analyzing.


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