For this paper, you will be writing an explication of a poem 5 – 8 paragraphs. You may choose any of the poems we have read in this unit. A poetry explication is an explanation of what you believe the message of the poem is. Because you will be explaining your own personal interpretation of the poem, you will need to gather some evidence to support your ideas about the poem. The goal of an explication is to "illuminate" the meaning of the poem for other readers. First of all READ the poem. Read it several times. Read it aloud. Notice the way it looks on the page, the way the words sound when you read them aloud, and anything the words make you think about. You will probably have to look some words up in the dictionary—remember that the definition you know might not be the ONLY definition there is. Once you feel like you have formed some good initial ideas about the poem, you can begin to really examine the tools (literary devices) that the poet used to create the poem. Answer the following questions using your answers as a rough draft for your paper.
- What does the title contribute to the reader's understanding?
- Who is speaking? What is the situation?
- What difficult, special, unusual words does the poem contain?
- What references need explaining?
- How does the poem develop? Personal statement or a story?
- What is the main idea of the poem?
- What kind of figurative language is the poem using? What about symbolism or literary allusions