Write an essay on ONE of the poems listed below where you analyze its

language and images, using your chosen school of literary criticism, in

order to interpret the poem’s overall meaning. This essay is for a general

academic audience.


To learn to write an analysis about a poem for a general audience.

● To analyze a poem using literary terminology.

● To find and understand information about your chosen literary


● To articulate the poem’s overall meaning based on the “lens” of a

literary theory.


750-1000 words(approx. 3-4 pages) not including the Works Cited page;

MLA formatting (see https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/1/ for

help.) Remember to include your word count at the end of your essay, and

also a Works Cited page that cites your poem, plus at least one outside

sources to support/explain your chosen literary theory.


● Use your chosen literary theory (e.g., feminist, psychoanalytical, new

criticism, post structuralism, etc.) to analyze the poem to explain what

the poem “means.”

● Use examples from the text to convincingly support the claims you’re


● When quoting extensively, take time to explain the specific parts in the

quote that prove your point.

● Avoid simply offering a summary or restating of each separate lie, but

analyze and discuss the words/lines with a purpose.

● Use the present tense when describing or discussing events in the

poem. In writing about literature, the convention is to always use the

present tense throughout. The idea is that the poet is currently

communicating thoughts to you in the present time.

● Ensure you have correctly spelled all names and titles. Put the name of

the poem in double-quotation marks. When referring to the poet, write

out his/her full name (and later references can be last name only).

● Don’t confuse the poet with the speaker of the poem – they are different.

● Remember to put quotation marks at the beginning and end of each

quoted part. Review the online lectures on Canvas, especially the one

about MLA conventions of writing about poems (week 10).

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