Poetry Explication Assignment | Custom Essay Services
I would like to have this back by no later than 10:30pm. I will upload instructions and a list of poem to use. I will try to upload and you can use whichever you like but please let me know which one that is. Instructions for citing poetry are listed and very specific. Please follow those guidelines. More detailed instructions are in the attached files. Be at least 4 FULL pages long (to the bottom of Page 4). Be in proper MLA format as seen on the example essay Sample MLA Essay with proper paragraph format, one-inch margins, heading on the first page, header in upper left of each page, Times New Roman 12 point font, and double-spacing throughout. Have a Works Cited page with the poem properly cited and the poem cited within the text. Both of these elements need to be there; otherwise, it’s considered “fabrication,” a form of plagiarism, and will receive penalties
A poetry explication is a relatively short analysis that describes the possible meanings and
relationships of the words, images, and other small units that make up a poem. It is a line-by-line
unfolding or revealing of the meaning(s) of a poem as the poem develops that meaning from
beginning to end. Writing an explication is an effective way for a reader to connect a poem’s plot and
conflicts with its structural and literary features.
Write a poetry explication of a poem you choose from the selection of poems found in our
textbook. These poems should be no less than 14 lines and not more than 35. You pick. Do not
research or go to other sources to learn about your poem. It is just between you and the poem.
Trust your own brain, and don’t let others think for you.
This Poetry Explication should be 1000-1250 words. You are expected to display “reflective thinking”
in your explication, use the language of poetic analysis, and use quotes from the poem as you explicate
it. It is due in MLA Manuscript Format and Documentation Style. Essays that show clear signs of the writer
accessing outside research on their poem will lose at least -10 points.
MW Classes Due Dates for Drafts:
Draft 1 = 2/6 Draft 2 = 2/8 Draft 3 (Final) = 2/13
TR Classes Due Dates for Drafts:
Draft 1 = 2/2 Draft 2 = 2/7 Draft 3 (Final) = 2/9
Late drafts for draft 1 or 2 lose -5 points. Late final drafts lose -10 points.
Grading Rubric: http://www.lirvin.net/1302/rubricExplicationEssay.pdf
Preparing to Write the Explication
1. Read the poem silently, then read it aloud. Repeat as necessary. Read it “closely, interactively,
and critically,” particularly following strategies discussed in chpt. 2. Look up words. Annotate.
2. Analyze the poem in two ways: First, begin your analysis by identifying and
describing the speaking voice or voices (persona), the conflicts or ideas, and the language
used in the poem. Then, examine the poem closely according to its poetic elements.
Analyze the large issues
Determine the basic design of the poem by considering the who, what, when, where, and why of the
• What is being dramatized? What conflicts or themes does the poem present,
address, or question?
• Who is the speaker? Define and describe the speaker and his/her voice. What does
the speaker say? Who is the audience? Are other characters involved?
• What happens in the poem? Consider the plot or basic design of the action. How
Modified from Laurie Coleman and resources at The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2
are the dramatized conflicts or themes introduced, sustained, resolved, etc.?
• When does the action occur? What is the date and/or time of day?
• Where is the speaker? Describe the physical location of the dramatic moment.
• Why does the speaker feel compelled to speak at this moment? What is
Analyze your poem in terms of the elements of poetry
To analyze the poem, we must focus on the poem’s parts or elements, namely how the poem
dramatizes conflicts or ideas in language. By concentrating on the parts, we develop our understanding
of the poem’s structure, and we gather support and evidence for our interpretations. As you analyze
the poem line by line, examine it closely in terms of each element of poetry, looking for certain
patterns and connections to develop which provide insight into the overall meaning or interpretation
of the poem.
The Elements of Poetry include:
• Figures of Speech/Figurative Language
***See our handout on the Elements of Poetry.
Writing the Explication
An explication is a line-by-line explanation of a poem from beginning to end. “Explain” is the key
word. It differs from a thesis-support paper because it doesn’t follow a logical structure (thesis + 3
supporting reasons); instead, it has a chronological structure that unfolds or reveals the meaning(s)
of a poem as it develops from beginning to end. The explication begins with the large issues and
basic design of the poem and works through each line to the more specific details and patterns.
The First Paragraph
The explication does not require a formal introductory paragraph; the writer should simply present
their interpretation of the poem’s overall meaning and start explicating immediately. The first line(s)
of the explication should
• describe the dramatic situation of the speaker and declare the central subject of the poem
• identify the most significant conflict(s) or tension(s) surrounding this subject, and
• present your interpretation of the overall message or theme of the poem.
One university professor suggests a foolproof way to begin any explication with the following
sentence: “This poem dramatizes the conflict between …” Such a beginning ensures that you will
introduce the major conflict or theme in the poem and organize your explication accordingly.
Here is an example. A student’s explication of Wordsworth’s “Composed upon Westminster
Bridge” might begin in the following way (notice the writer quickly begins explicating the poem):
This poem dramatizes the conflict between appearance and reality, communicating the idea
that even in the unnatural city Nature’s presence can be seen. From Westminster Bridge, the
Modified from Laurie Coleman and resources at The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 3
speaker looks at London at sunrise, and he explains that all people should be struck by such a
beautiful scene. Line 1 begins with the speaker expressing his wonder: “Earth has not anything
to show more fair.” Although he stands on a bridge in the city, a place the speaker sees as
apart from nature, he finds himself seeing a scene as beautiful as any natural wonder like a
waterfall or mountain. In the next lines, the speaker further highlights the wonder of the
scene saying someone would have to have a dull soul not to be moved by “A sight so touching
in its majesty”(ln. 3). What is ironic here is that the city typically, especially early 19th century
London, is associated with pollution and human affects of the industrial revolution
In lines 4 through 9, we see details of the City scene the speaker is wondering at. In line 4, he
uses the metaphor of clothes to describe the city’s beautiful appearance: “This City now doth,
like a garment, wear/ The beauty of the morning” (lines 4-5). He seems to describe the way
the special light of early dawn illuminates the city as if this light were a beautiful piece of
clothes covering the city scene. Lines 5 and 6 catalogue what he is seeing: “silent, bare, /Ships,
towers, domes, theatres.” …
The Next Paragraphs
The next paragraphs should continue to explicate the poem’s central meaning line by line, expanding
the discussion of the meaning and conflict central to the poem in terms of the elements of poetry:
words/diction, imagery, speaker and tone, figures of speech, form, symbolism and allusion. That is, the
writer should explain the overall meaning of the poem by focusing on how the poet has used these
elements of poetry to construct this meaning.
Each “section” of the poem (stanza or grouping of text) should be explicated in a separate paragraph
in the essay. What constitutes a “section” is determined by you based upon meaning.
One analogy to describe how an Explication is organized is a thread. By expressing the overall
meaning or theme, you are saying that the poem has this particular thread running through it. When
you start your Explication, you grab the beginning of that thread, and then you follow the thread as
you interpret the poem line by line, stanza by stanza, part by part, from beginning to end.
The explication’s concluding paragraph does not simply restate the main points of the
introduction. The end of the explication should discuss any or all of the below:
• the overall value of the poem in literature,
• or the value of experiencing the poem,
• or the reader’s personal connection to the poem.
Using the Language of Poetic Analysis
The elements of poetry identify the ways poets use language to make meaning. As you are
explicating or unfolding this meaning, you need to use the language of these elements of poetry in your
discussion. Always discuss an element as it refers to meaning; avoid stating or identifying some
element just to identify an element.
Modified from Laurie Coleman and resources at The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 4
1. Refer to the speaking voice in the poem as the “speaker”, “the poet”, or “the persona.” For example, do
not write, “In this poem, Wordsworth says that London is beautiful in the morning.” However, you can
write, “In this poem, Wordsworth presents a speaker who…” We cannot absolutely identify Wordsworth
with the speaker of the poem, so it is more accurate to talk about “the speaker” or “the poet” in an
2. Use the present tense when writing the explication. The poem, as a work of literature, continues to
3. To avoid unnecessary repetition of “says” or “states” in your compositions, the following list suggests
some verbs you can use when writing the explication:
Dramatizes, emphasizes, presents, suggests, illustrates
asserts, characterizes, argues, underlines, stresses, asks, offers
4. Don’t forget to follow MLA guidelines on quoting and citing lines of poetry in your text.
a) Introduce your borrowed parts of the poem with an effective signal phrase.
Heaney directly compares poetry writing to the digging his ancestors did: “Between my finger
and my / The squat pen rests. / I’ll dig with it” (lines 29-31).
b) Use a forward slash (/) between lines where they end in the poem when you are quoting
c) Give the line numbers in the parenthetical reference at the end of your sentence. For
your first borrowing, use the word lines before the numbers: (lines 29-31). Thereafter, use
just the numbers: (12-13). No need to use page numbers.
d) Set off 4 or more lines of poetry using a block indent format:
The author David Bottoms is wise to the fact that men often use sports to communicate their
feelings. The persona of the poem, however, takes years to realize his father’s message. Once he
realizes the importance of sports to their relationship, he sends a message back to his father:
and I never learned what you were laying
down. Like a hand brushed across the bill of a
let this be the sign
I’m getting a grip on the sacrifice. (20-23)
5. Do not use ellipses [. . . ] if you are starting a quote midline. Do not use ellipses if you end a quote
6. If you remove words from the middle of a line, DO use ellipses to represent missing text:
As a boy, the speaker visited his grandfather in the fields: “Once I carried him milk. [. . .] / He
straightened up / To drink it” (Heaney 19-21).
7. If you remove one or more full line, use a line of ellipses to indicate the omission.
The persona in Hayden’s poem would wake to hear the fire his father started before dawn:
Sundays too my father got up early
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress. (1, 6-8)
8. Put line numbers after citing several single words:
Roethke uses a variety of words in “My Papa’s Waltz” that indicate physical violence, words such as
“death” (3), “battered” (9), “scraped” (12), “beat” (13), and “hard” (14).
9. For one word, put the line number at the end of your sentence:
When Heaney uses a simile to compare his pen to a “gun,” he creates a startling image (2).