1) Please note that you are asked to provide the dates of composition and publication, and to note where the circumstances are particularly interesting. Your focus should be on the text and not the poet’s life (unless the poet specifically invites such speculation by referring to him or herself in the poem). If socio-historical context plays a role in the composition and publication, you could mention that.

Throughout the poetry report I’ll expect you to notate genres correctly: i.e. long works are italicized Songs of Innocence and Experience and short works are signified by quotation marks: i.e. “The Lamb”

2a) It may be that you’ll need to look up several words before you find really productive vocabulary. Do not be content with the first two words you look up if they do not lead you in interesting directions. You should also note the source that you used. Please italicize the words you are working with or otherwise clearly indicate them.

b) Please be clear about what an allusion is before you embark upon this task (Broadview Glossary 11). If there aren’t any allusions there are not any allusions, recognizing that there aren’t any there is worth 5 points, but that means you can’t miss any either. You can use allusions noted in the footnotes, but you must take them further either by exploring the significance of the allusion to the work. Some poems are full of allusions: choose the ones that are most evocative. If there are not allusions, you will want to speculate as to why? Often it has to do with the poem’s audience, form and/or intent.

3) Sometimes you must describe the poem rather than relying upon formal nomenclature. In either case, you should describe what is going on specifically: identify the meter, the stanza form, the rhyme scheme (if there is one), and the significance of the structure. Here is a strong entry.

On Smith’s Sonnet LIX: “The piece is a Petrarchan (or Italian) Sonnet. The meter is iambic pentameter, except lines 3 and 6 which both begin with a dactyl, before resuming the iambic pattern, but still remaining pentameter. Lines 8 and 9 seem to use words with heavy accents and in scansion are slightly different using more dactyls [unsullied and dignity] perhaps to draw the reader’s attention to the rumbling clouds below the serene moon, lest they be forgotten. The rhyme scheme is abbaababcdcdcd.


on the same poem: “Sonnet (Italian). The standard consists of an octet in ABBA then a turn or resolution presented in the following sestet of CDCCDC or CDECDE. Smith varies a bit on form having Sonnet LIX rhyme ABBAABABCDCDCD. However, the turn is clearly marked with the pause in the dash. The poem shifts from the observation of a simple natural occurrence to a representation of great human unrest. The turn feature of the sonnet form is very important to this piece.

4) Here is where you get to suggest an interpretation of the poem. As a rule, the rest of the poetry report collects information, rather than poses an interpretation. Please be specific and precise in your language. Always include at least 1 (and ideally more than 1) direct citation from the poem under consideration. Please use the MLA citation method. Here is a link to a helpful site (although it does not replace the book): The Purdue OWL

5) The key to getting 10 points here is being specific. Do not traffic in vague generalities about similarities and differences, or in vague references to other works. Be specific.

6) You will need to go beyond #5 if you are still working with the same texts and ideas.

Don’t run out of steam! The last three entries are worth 25 points.