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EN 1201 - College Writing II (Eichman-Dorr)

Understanding and Writing about Poetry

Unlike other forms of literature, poetry makes demands on a writer who try to analyze it. This can make writing about poetry very challenging. So how can you write a clear, strong essay?

One place to start is to look at any significant themes. Does the poetry deal with themes related to love, death, war, or peace? What other themes show up in the poem? Are there particular historical events that are mentioned in the poem? What are the most important concepts that are addressed in the poem?

Research as a Process

When choosing your research questions, remember: it must be interesting, significant, and problematic enough.

  • What is my topic?
  • What question am I asking or argument am I making related to this topic? 
  • What kind of keywords should I be using in my search?

Developing Keywords

Concept 1: (ex: San Martino) Concept 2:  (ex: wine) Concept 3:  (ex:  community)
(ex: festival) (ex: religion) (ex: patriotism)
(ex: autumn) (ex: paganism) (ex: Italian unification)