What is the theme of the poem? What is the poet trying to communicate? What is the emotional center of the poem?

Choose one of the following poems:
“Breathing Underwater” by Catherine Doty
“Buzzards” by Jon Loomis
“Poof” by Sandy Gingras
“My Husband Is Burning” Jin Cordaro
“Just Listen” by Peter Johnson
“Talking in Tongues: by Frank Walker
Then write a close reading on the poem you chose. Essay should be 3-4 pages.
A close reading is the careful, sustained analysis of any text that focuses on significant details or patterns and that typically examines some aspect of the text’s form, craft, meanings, sound, etc…
The objective of this assignment: to understand how writers craft their work, to become a more informed reader of poetry and apply those skills to your own writing.
In your close reading, you will dissect the poems in the same way we dissect poems during class. Be sure to evaluate not only the meaning of the poems but the strategic decisions made by the poet that enhance or support the overall meaning of the collection (see questions below).
When writing your close reading, utilize the vocabulary or the “language of poetry” when supporting your claims. For example: Stanzas, Enjambment, End-Stopped, Line Break, Closure, Couplets, Metaphor etc… If you need to, refer to the PDF, “A Glossary of Poetry Terms” that were uploaded to Blackboard.
If by chance, you use outside sources, be sure to use MLA carefully by citing your sources with in-text citations and providing a Works Cited page. Also, carefully proofread your paper for grammar errors and style.
Use the following questions to guide you through the essay:

  1. What is the theme of the poem? What is the poet trying to communicate? What is the emotional center of the poem?
  2. What happens in the poem? Are conflicts or themes introduced? Resolved?
  3. Who is the speaker? What is the “point of view” or perspective of the speaker? The perspective might be social, intellectual, political, or even physical.
  4. What is the setting? What is the time and place? How does the poet make use of the physical description? Does it create a mood?
  5. Are there any key statements or lines that indicate meaning? Look for one key line or symbol; however, the poet may make use of recurring symbols, actions, or motifs.
  6. How does the sound or language contribute to the poem’s meaning? Does the rhythm affect what the poet is trying to convey? What type of diction is used? Are there words with double meanings?
  7. Is there a historical, ideological, or cultural aspect? Does the poem refer to a world event, period of time, or particular aspect of culture (race, status, gender, class)? What are the basic ideas of the world or human condition or experience (love, hate, orderliness of
    the universe, etc.)?
  8. What qualities or emotions does the poem evoke? How does the poem make you feel?
  9. What imagery is used? Does the poet use physical imagery or figures of speech, such as metaphors?
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