Week 6 Assignment – Writing

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Choose one of the poems from your readings in Chapter 33: “Poetry for Further Reading” (Robert Hayden or Emily Dickinson) and compose a written explication of that poem. The poem you select must be sophisticated enough to sustain a detailed analysis.

  • Your explication should be 3-4 pages.
  • It should analyze one or more of the poem’s elements
  • Your explication is not a summary of what the poem is about. Nor are you expected to unravel the poem’s “meaning.”  Rather, you are explaining how the poet used a particular poetic element, and you are analyzing how that element affects the rest of the poem.

When writing your explication:

  • Choose a poem that is sophisticated enough to sustain a detailed analysis.
  • Include a thesis statement that states the element you are analyzing and why.
  • Follow a systematic writing pattern by analyzing the element on which you are focusing line by line or stanza by stanza.
  • Provide textual examples (words, phrases, and lines) from the poem to illustrate your analytical statements. Cite your sources using correct APA formatting.
  • The UNC Writing Center and The Purdue OWL provide detailed examples of poetry explication.

Note from the teacher:


See below for a sample poetry explication paper.  Note that it discusses the significance of the poetic elements and offers an analytical thesis.  Paragraphs have topic sentences.  Quotes/paraphrases are smoothly incorporated and are cited properly.  You will NOT see any use of first person, background information, headings for sections, descriptions, retelling of the poem, etc.  All of this is discussed in the live session. 



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