Assignment: select a specific poem to explicate. The review should be between 500 and 750 words (2 to 3 pages double space).
Questions to ask yourself during the writing of the paper:
Speculate on the purpose the poet might have had in mind when writing the poem.
Place the poem in its widest possible historical context. Who is the speaker? What is the occasion?
Paraphrase (as needed) the poem line by line. Your essay should get at the theme: imagine yourself taking the innards of a clock apart. You are to examine all of its intricate workings. How the theme is drawn out and developed. This might best be done by identifying:
Figues of speech (alliteration, metaphor, simile, person-ification)
Key connotation words. The tone (poet’s attitude towards himself and the subject). Symbolism. Diction. Unusual rhythm scheme. Whether the poem is using free or closed verse.
You do not need to answer everything set worth in this handout to write a successful analysis. Select out those areas which seem to be important to your specific poem.