For this essay assignment, you will write an explication of one of the poems in the “Poetry of Nature” segment. Make sure you carefully read the lecture “Explicating Poetry” from the UNC Writing Cente

For this essay assignment, you will write an explication of one of the poems in the “Poetry of Nature” segment. Make sure you carefully read the lecture “Explicating Poetry” from the UNC Writing Center, which is included in this unit. Select one poem from the “Poetry of Nature” segment for your essay. You may select one of the poems you used for your discussion post, but you must generate new material for the essay.

You can choose between these 2 poems: Blackberrying by Sylvia Plath or The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Study your selected poem line by line, observing its elements and development. Explicate the selected poem, giving full attention, in this order (and as outlined on the lecture on explication) to: 

  • The large issues of design of the poem (the “who, what, when, where, why” of the dramatic situation)
  • The individual parts of the design which include, form, rhetoric, syntax and vocabulary (and other specific parts you may notice and wish to discuss).
  • The poem’s patterns, including rhyme, patterns of sound, visual patterns, and rhythm and meter.

Your finished essay should be approximately 750 to 1000 words long.  Include textual evidence and cite it using MLA style conventions.

Read the lecture on “Close Reading and Poetry Explication” to get a feel for a formal explication. You should not limit yourself to the compositional choices, voice, tone, diction or style of the author of the sample.

This assignment has two separate phases, both of which are completed for a grade. During the first phase, you compose a rough draft for your paper and submit it to the Peer Review Workshop discussion topic, where you will give and receive feedback from your peers. During the second phase, you revise your draft and submit it for a grade in the appropriate assignments folder.

The rough draft should be a true attempt at the essay. Therefore, the instructions for the essay are presented first on this page. After you have read and understood these instructions, read the instructions for the Peer Review process, which are presented on the page following this one.

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