Who was your poet and why were they important? How did the history of their times affect their writings?
Focusing on a minimum of three (3) poems by your poet, find a common theme and craft this into your thesis. What message do these poems have for today’s world? Why are they important? This will become the thesis of your RESEARCH PAPER
The middle of the essay (pages 2 – 4) should focus on poetry only. There should be no biography here. These pages will analyze the poems, one at a time, and include primary quotes as evidence.
WORD COUNT: Your paper should be about 1,675 – 1,950 words long, or possibly longer. If it is significantly shorter, you need to expand; if it is significantly longer, you need to edit.
Thesis at the bottom of the second paragraph (you will have a “dual-introduction”). Paper begins BROADLY, and narrows to the poetry. (Your thesis & essay map should happen at about word count 425 – 450.)
Reference information quote information (see sample research essay in textbook).
REMINDER: Remember that the thesis is not about a poet but about “poetry.”
As you write each paragraph, form strong topic sentences that are clear and precise. They should relate back to the thesis in paragraph two.
Practice sentence variety throughout and use interesting punctuation–something besides commas and periods. (There is a link under USEFUL URLs that shows different sentence types.)
Differentiate between the “speaker” and the poet and use words appropriate to the task, or “poetical terms” along with a formal voice. (There is a “Glossary of Literary Terms” in the text.)
Must use MLA formatting only. If you review the sample essay, your essay should resemble this. Remember that the font for this class is Times New Roman 12. (There is also a sample document under USEFUL RESOURCES.)
Proofread your work / find and fix mistakes (Finish early / get a peer review–go to Discussions and share your essay). Remember that 40% of the grade is from mechanics!
Include a fresh and creative conclusion that does not repeat. Remember that your conclusion will be LONGER, a double paragraph. (You may bring back in some limited history orbiography.) The best conclusions “step away” from the poems, and discuss how the theme is ever present today & why poetry matters.
Use only an objective point of view: There should be no “I” or “We” or “You” or “The reader” unless you briefly use it–in the conclusion ONLY.
Point of view: Biography & history is past tense; poetry is present tense.
Reference the poem itself by summary, paraphrase, and direct quotes. Every single body paragraph that is about the poem should feature at least one direct quote as evidence.(Two or three shorter quotes can also work well.)
Set up quotes with commas OR colons only. (Do not use a period before a quote.) Locate quotes toward the middle of the paragraph. If you need a refresher, consult the “Quoting PowerPoint” under USEFUL RESOURCES.
SOURCES: Two secondary sources must come from a book.Do not use Wikipedia, Sparknotes, enotes, or Shoomp, or other such sites that have extensive advertising and weak analysis. This is in addition to your poems that you will quote. Poems may come from Internet sites OR books. IT IS OKAY TO HAVE MORE THAN TWO BOOK SOURCES.
Rather, use the AVL (there is a link under USEFUL URLs); Bloom’s; Masterplots; Poetryfoundation, or other services that you can access by the AVL. (p.s. Poetryfoundation.org is a “goldmine” of a website!)