English 207Q: Studies in Poetry , Freshman Inquiry Section                                        

Dr. Morillo


Second and Third Paper Assignments

Both Papers due Wednesday, October 11, turned in with in-class midterm


Second Paper. Graded, worth 10% of final grade.  Interpret a sonnet: pick either  Frost's Design, Yeats's Leda and the Swan, Shelley's Ozymandias, or Millay's What My Lips Have Kissed
Read the chosen poem carefully, and develop a complete interpretation of it. Bring to bear whatever aspects of the poem are significant to understand it. This may include matters of form, meter, rhyme, metaphor, theme. Whichever of these aspects you focus on, the paper will be one unified argument. Therefore all of rules on the handouts about clear expository writing, including clear, significant theses, placement of points, quality and relevance of evidence, all count toward earning a good grade.  Consequently, count on having to rewrite and revise your draft to turn your interpretation into a good, readable argument..

Third Paper. Graded. Worth 5% of your final grade

The third paper has two parts: you will write a sonnet, and a brief prose self-evaluation of it. That is, you will write about your own poem, in prose, by explaining what you tried to accomplish, and evaluating how well you think you did with the set of challenges posed by the sonnet. 

Part One, the Sonnet Itself:
Subject matter: you may write your sonnet about any topic you wish, and in any tone
Sonnet Type: Shakespearean/English (4-4-4-2) or Petrarchan/Italian (8-6)
length: 14 lines
rhyme: alternating, except for the final couplet if you chose the Shakespearean form
meter:  baseline of iambic pentameter ( 5 iambic feet in each line = 10 syllables in each line); "baseline" means the majority of feet are iambs, but not every one must be, as you've seen with other good sonnets
figurative language: try to use  metaphor and/or simile

Part Two, Prose Explanation and Evaluation:
length: 1-2 pages
Those challenges posed by any sonnet include: fitting the subject into only 14 lines; maintaining a baseline meter of consistent iambic pentameter; creating an alternating rhyme scheme; and having it say something interesting in language that is not simply prose. So I can see what you aimed to do in your poem, explain that goal first, and then evaluate how well you achieved that goal.  Aim for as clear expository prose in writing about your own work as when writing about poems in the book.

Competed third paper assignment is therefore 1 page for the poem, and 1-2 for the explanation & self-critique


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