Assignment: Close Reading #2 LCS 352 / Studies in Poetry / Winter 2018 Instructor: Eric Paul Final Draft Due: 1/16
Topic: Choose one of the following poems: “The Sudden Light and The Trees” by Stephen Dunn, “The Two-Headed Calf” by Laura Gilpin, “Clown” by Chelsea Minnis, “Holes” by Sara Jean Alexander, “Little Children Riding Dogs” by Mark Leidner, “Palindrome” by Nate Marshall, “C.R.E.A.M.” by Danez Smith, or “And Then it Was Less Bleak Because We Said So” by Wendy Xu and write a 2-3 page close reading of the poem. A close reading is the careful, sustained analysis of any text that focuses on significant details or patterns and that typically examines some aspect of the text’s form, craft, meanings, etc… The close reading is similar to the exercises we’ve conducted in class. Overall, the aim of this assignment is to: learn about language and rhetorical technique, gain a deeper understanding of a text understand how writers craft their work, and to simply, become a more informed reader of poetry. For this second close reading, please, try utilize the vocabulary or the “language of poetry” when supporting your claims. For example: Stanzas, Line Breaks, Closure, Couplets, Metaphor etc… If you need to, refer to the PDF, “A Glossary of Poetry Terms” that I uploaded to Blackboard. If by chance, you use outside sources, be sure to use MLA carefully by citing your sources with in-text citations and providing a Works Cited page. Also, carefully proofread your paper for grammar errors and style. REQUIREMENTS: No Outside Sources Required. Adhere to MLA Formatting Plagiarism of any kind is unacceptable. A zero will be given to the paper. Use the following questions to guide you through the essay: 1. What is the theme of the poem? What is the poet trying to say? What is the poem about? 2. What happens in the poem? Are conflicts or themes introduced? Resolved?
3. Who is the speaker? What is the “point of view” or perspective of the speaker? The perspective might be social, intellectual, political, or even physical. 4. What is the setting? What is the time and place? How does the poet make use of the physical description? Does it create a mood? 5. Are there any key statements or lines that indicate meaning? Look for one key line or symbol; however, the poet may make use of recurring symbols, actions, or motifs. 6. How does the sound or language contribute to the poem’s meaning? Does the rhythm affect what the poet is trying to convey? What kinds of words are used? Are there words with double meanings? 7. Does the poem refer to other literary works? For example, is there a Biblical reference or reference to another poem? How does the other work relate to the meaning? 8. Is there a historical, ideological, or cultural aspect? Does the poem refer to a world event, period of time, or particular aspect of culture (race, status, gender, class)? What are the basic ideas of the world or human condition or experience (love, hate, orderliness of the universe, etc.)? 9. What qualities or emotions does the poem evoke? How does the poem make you feel? 10. What imagery is used? Does the poet use physical imagery or figures of speech, such as metaphors?