Your first writing assignment–which comes prior to the first essay–is a poem interpretation journal. A journal is a place to practice and experiment. It is less formal than an essay. Choose poems from the list of links provided on the next page and write a detailed entry on each work that you examine.
What to write about?
Aim to get at the meaning or central message of the poem, but know that it may be ambiguous and there may be several possible interpretations. Do not go running to find out what others have said about the meanings of these works. This is your opportunity to explicate poems on your own without worrying about being right or wrong. This is a practice exercise.
Now that you have read some poetry and looked at writing about the poems, it is time to engage as a writer on your own terms.
Criteria: Each of your journal entries should:
- be a full paragraph (at least 8 sentences)
- contain topic and concluding sentences
- employ examples, brief quotations, or concrete details (using in-text citation by line)
- apply what you have learned about explication, close reading, and poetic terms
Even though journal entries are less formal, this is a writing course, so practice your writing skills. Write thoughtfully, revise, and edit your paragraphs before you submit. Create a separate Word document for this submission.
Choose FIVE from the following to read and write about in your journal: