Step 1: Choose a poet (see the list below).
Step 2: Research the poet’s biography and some critiques of his/her work.
Step 3: Find some of your poet’s work, read several pieces, and select a few to annotate and use in your paper.
Step 4: Construct a thesis which synthesizes the information you found through researching and reading his or her poetry. Your focus is yours to establish. Consider the following when limiting your topic:
Does the poet see the world through a particular lens?
What can you say about his/her voice and tone?
Is your poet a political writer? What was his/her purpose? Is your poet writing about personal experiences or is his/her work social commentary?
What is his/her overall style like? Evaluate how the poet exploits/uses language and imagery to develop meaning. How does the writer’s style impact their content?
What is your poet known for?
Do you agree or disagree with your poet’s critics/admirers?
Step 5: Use your research, your own annotations/analyzes, and support from 3-4 poems to construct your paper. Your paper should be 4-6 pages in length, double-spaced.
Step 6: Format your entire paper and the works cited page using MLA 8 standards.
Step 7: Engage in peer editing and polish your work before “publishing” it.
*Recommended poets include, but are not limited to:
William Blake, William Wordsworth, William Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, Billy Collins, Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, Robert Lowell, John Keats, Emily Dickinson, John Milton, Sylvia Plath, E.E Cummings, Derek Walcott, John Donne, Robert Browning, William Butler Yeats, Anne Sexton, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Phillis Wheatley, Allen Ginsberg, Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Gwendolyn Brooks, William Carlos Williams.