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Directions: This essay should be typed and double spaced. The essay should be approximately 1500-2000 words in length. The purpose of this essay is to try to explain something about the mind and/or the life of a poet by analyzing several works of poetry by the same poet. You can write your essay based on the poetry of any poet you choose, as long as you can find enough poems by that poet to analyze in your essay. The poet you choose can be any person whose work you can analyze for its poetic content, which may be a songwriter or a spoken-word artist in addition to a traditional poet. Your essay must include the following contents:
A fairly detailed discussion of at least four poems by the same poet.
A biographical account of the life of the poet, focusing on aspects of that poetâ€™s life that you discuss in his or her poetry.
At least two sources of critical analysis on the work of the poet.
This means that if you write about the work of a poet who is not covered with biographical information and critical essays in the textbook about that poet and his or her work, you will have to do research to cover that aspect of the essay. There are two poets in the textbook whose life and work are covered in a Critical Casebook: Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes. If your essay covers either of these poets, you can use material from the textbook. If you would rather not write about one of these poets, you can write your essay based on the poetry of some other poet whose work we may cover in class (such as Marianne Moore, Sylvia Plath, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, etc.), but because we wonâ€™t have covered very many poems from those poets, you will have to find additional poetry by that poet to analyze in your essay as well as additional biographical and critical information about that poet. If your essay includes discussion of poems not in the textbook, you should also attach the full text of the poems you discuss at the end of your essay. Your essay should be unified. That is, although you will be discussing at least four poems by that poet, your analysis of those poems should develop a consistent thesis about that poet and his or her poetry and support that thesis with reference to specific aspects of his or her poetry and life as well as in the critical sources that you cite. You should, therefore, focus much of your essay on a single theme found in the poems you analyze. You can analyze other aspects of the poems you discuss, such as the tone, the imagery, the figures of speech, or any other significant technique of those poems. But make sure that whatever aspects of the poems you include in your essay are used to reflect on a single theme that occurs in those poems. Relate that theme to the author of the poems. Include information about the life or the thoughts of that poet, and show how the poems you discuss are a reflection of aspects of the life and the mind of that poet.
Because you are writing about poetry, and because the language used in poetry is indispensable to understanding poetry, you must include some actual quotations from the poems you are writing about. Choose quotations carefully. Make sure that the quotations you include in your essay are interesting in and of themselves and that the quotations are appropriate to the ideas you are covering in your essay. Make sure that you explain all the quotations you include in your essay. When you quote from poems, if you quote four or more lines, you should introduce the quotation with a colon and separate the lines of poetry from the body of your essay by indenting the lines of the quotation ten spaces. If you quote three lines or fewer, you should include the quotation in the body of your essay, put quotation marks around the lines you quote, and include a slash ( / ) between separate lines within the quotation. It is not necessary to cite the page number of quotations from these poems. If you include quotations from any other information from the textbook, make sure to cite the author of the quotation and the page number of the quotation in parentheses after the quotation. If you include information or ideas from sources other than the textbook, cite the sources for that information in your essay and prepare a Works Cited page according to MLA format.