HW due 4/19: Poetry Explication

1. Poetry Explication–Choose one of the poems read this term and explicate it formally.  How to Explicate (click the link) a poem.   An explication entails a more detailed break down of a piece of literature (i.e. line by line). Here’s a sample poetry explication!

The first paragraph

The first paragraph should present the large issues; it should inform the reader which conflicts are dramatized and should describe the dramatic situation of the speaker. The explication does not require a formal introductory paragraph; the writer should simply start explicating immediately. A sample opening sentence may be “In If We Must Die Claude McKay (thematic sentence).”

The next paragraphs

The next paragraphs should expand the discussion of the conflict by focusing on details of form, rhetoric, syntax, vocabulary, sound, and figurative language. In these paragraphs, the writer should explain the poem line by line (stanza by stanza) in terms of these details, and he or she should incorporate important elements of rhyme, rhythm, and meter during this discussion. Alternatively, you can explain the poem detail by detail.


  • 2-4 pages
  • Double-spaced; size 12 font; Times New Roman or similar
  • .75 margins on both left and right sides. Justify margin. Indentations– .5” or 1 tab space.
  • All pages beyond the first page should be numbered.  Page numbers should be placed at the bottom right of each page.
  • No Cover Page.  Include name, class, and date (Single space the heading)
  • If you are explicating If We Must Die, title should be formatted as such:
    An Explication of If We Must Die

Avoid the Following:

  • Avoid Pronouns: I, it, you, me, we, us
  • Avoid Troublesome language. Do your best to avoid the following words: it, these, this, those, kind of, almost, seems, maybe, like, then, later, eventually, basically, so, many, a lot, things, due to the fact (or any variations of the fact that), in reality, very, really, forms of the verb “to be”
  • In the intro, nix all book-review commentary—i.e. “is fascinating, interesting…”
  • Contractions
  • While I am not suggesting that you avoid all modifiers, you certainly should be conscious of how you are using them. Yet, definitely avoid the likes of really, basically, very, excellent, terrible, etc.
  • Avoid misspelling proper nouns!
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