LITR201-1403B-06 : Literature: A Reflection of Life

Reading assignment

Dog’s Death” by John Updike, p. 340

“The World is Too Much with Us” by William Wordsworth, p. 491

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” by William Shakespeare, p. 492

“The Facebook Sonnet” by Sherman Alexie, p. 495

“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas, p. 496

“Form” by Elaine Mitchell, p. 507

“Shooting the Horse” by David Shumate, p. 510

“A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns, p. 565

“This morning (for the girls of eastern high school)” by Lucille Clifton, p. 566

“Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson, p. 568

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, p. 575

“Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, p. 578

“Harlem” by Langston Hughes, p. 579

“Written in Disgust of Vulgar Superstition”, p. 582

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, p. 582

What is poetry? This literary genre has been around, first as an oral tradition, since the beginning of human history. Yet there is no absolute, agreed-upon definition of poetry. The poet Salvatore Quasimodo said it is “the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own,” while Greek philosopher Plutarch called it “painting that speaks.” And contemporary author and poet Salman Rushdie has said, “A poet’s work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.” Whatever your own feelings, try to approach the Phase 3 readings with openness. You just may discover that all three writers were correct about poetry!

Part A: Chosen Poem

After reading the fifteen assigned poems, choose one that especially resonates with you and speaks your truth in some way. Write a paragraph elaborating on at least three reasons why you selected this particular poem. Which lines are especially memorable to you?

Part B: A Poet and Didn’t Know It

Try your hand at composing your own 8 to 20 line poem. Choose a topic that interests you: anything from a hobby to a place to a special person or memory. It doesn’t matter whether it is rhymed or unrhymed, but it does need to include vivid imagery and figurative language. Don’t worry about perfecting your poem; you are not expected to produce a finished product. Rather, this is an exercise in learning about the poet’s creative process. Try not to over-think it; one of the wonderful gifts of poetry is that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to write it.

What do you think of this poem? I wrote it when I was a teenager

As I sit here and watch you die I find it very hard to I hold in my cry, I try so hard to hold it in but I just can’t wait until the very end.

Through all the laughter and all the tears; Mom you’ve stood beside me through all my childhood years. You gave me life, you taught me love, and I will continue to treasure these values when you’re above.

I’ll miss you now more than ever, and that’s why I wish you could live forever: I know that wish will never come true because God want’s you now and there’s nothing I can do.

 I’m glad that we shared this special time together; that I will cherish in my heart forever and ever. I want you to know as I watch you go that my love for you will never let go.



You will be writing an essay of 1,100 words or more about two additional poems from the assigned reading list. Please select two works from the list of fifteen—excluding the one you already reflected on in Part A of the Phase 3 DB assignment—and answer the questions below. Again, be sure to begin your paper with an engaging introduction and clear thesis statement, develop each point in the body of your paper using examples and quotes from the poems, and conclude your paper with a restatement of your thesis and closing remarks. Also, make sure you maintain your credibility by including in-text citations and a reference list correctly formatted in APA style.

  1. Imagery: What visual images can you identify in both poems? Comment on the details you notice about objects, places, people, colors, textures and so forth. Which of your other senses are stimulated by the poets’ descriptions?
  2. Figures of Speech: List the specific metaphors, similes, puns and other figures of speech each poet uses and how they contribute to the poem’s overall meaning. (Remember, figurative language is not literal but rather suggestive of something else. For example, the metaphor, “Jack is a pig,” is not a reference to an actual animal with hooves but rather someone named Jack who has pig-like qualities or mannerisms.)
  3. Symbolism: Identify the symbols you notice in each poem. What abstract concepts (e.g., love, death, truth) might the concrete objects (e.g., persons, places, things) suggest?
  4. Language and Word Choice: Every word in a poem has been included (or left out) after much deliberation, as poets choose their words very carefully. Remark on the following in each poem: Does the poet use informal or formal language? Does he or she write in an older dialect or contemporary English? Provide examples.
  5. Tone: What tone does each poet take (e.g., sad, humorous, sarcastic, loving, etc.) toward his or her subject matter?
  6. Themes: What are the main messages of both poems? Give reasons for your answers.
  7. Sound: Read both poems aloud. What do you notice about their rhythms, rhyme schemes and musicality? How does listening to the sound of a poem differ from merely reading it as words on a page?
  8. Final Thoughts: Poetry can enlighten and/or evoke deep emotion in readers. Express the impact each of the two poems you have analyzed for this assignment had on you. What insights did you gain about life or human nature, and what feelings did each piece stir in you? Has your view of poetry changed in any way since reading and analyzing the Phase 3 poems? Explain your answer

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