Explication of a poem
• The poetry explication (10% of
the course grade)
calls for students to write an explication
about any poem of appropriate length or complexity for a paper of
approximately 1000 words total.
An explication is a
kind of argument academic writers make about a work of literature that
that work means and also how the
author produces that meaning
through the use of (in the case of poetry) language.
Students should review
this website in order to gain a better understanding of the
characteristics and typical concerns appropriate for poetry
Additionally, students will find the poetry-related links in the
and Writing about Poetry topic area of the Moodle site useful for any
"level" of poetry reader, from neophyte to aficionado.
• As you explain the what and
the how, stick close to the text of
the poem: You must use specifics of the text as evidence to
support your claims about what the
poem means and how
it achieves that
meaning, and you should use Modern Language Association (MLA) style for
the standards of poetry usage and citation.
• The written explication will be
evaluated on the quality of thesis
and supporting argument, on proper MLA-style integration of relevant
and sufficient textual support, and on the quality of written
• The written explication should be
approximately 1,000 words in
length, and should be double-spaced and word-processed. For other
MS Word document format guidelines, please consult any of the newer
handouts and handbooks available in the Writing Center or in online
•Students submit their papers via
e-mail or upload to Moodle.