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DISCUSSION TOPIC: For your discussion board posting today, choose a poem from the book to discuss.

DISCUSSION TOPIC: For your discussion board posting today, choose a poem from the book to discuss.
Answer the following questions about the poem you chose. (Please note, for this posting, you do not have to follow the usual posting guidelines that require an essay format.)
•         What is this poem about, generally? Who is the speaker and what is the situation? (In other words, who is talking to whom?) What happens in the poem?
•         What is your “gut” reaction to the poem? What does it make you think about? For example, Is it upsetting? Uplifting?
•         Describe the tone of the poem. Tone refers to the “mood” of the poem. Is it angry? Joyful? Sad? Melancholic? Please be more specific than saying “depressed” or “positive” or “negative.” Humans possess a great range of emotions. Try to pinpoint the emotional effect of this poem. List several words in the poem that create this mood for you.
•         What is the theme (or themes) of the poem? In other words, what ideas is it trying to express?
•         Pay attention to WORD CHOICE. Discuss at least three words in the poem that you find striking and discuss their sound effects and connotations. Why are these words so well-chosen for the purpose of this poem?
•         Discuss at least three images in this poem. (An image is something that you can see, smell, feel, touch, or taste.) Is there a pattern of images? (By pattern, I mean are there a lot of images of light and dark? Of nature? Of cold, hard things? What associations are connected with these images? (For example, if there are a lot of images of springtime, there may be associations of birth, new life, renewal.)
•         How do all of the above answers work together to create an overall effect?
The purpose of today’s posting is to come up with a basic outline for your poetry explication paper.
1.       First of all, after reading the poem through carefully, decide what you think the poem is trying to say. In other words, what is its theme? Remember, don’t just say “this poem is about X.” Tell me what the poem is saying ABOUT X. So, for example, don’t say “this poem is about springtime.” Rather, say something like “The speaker in this poem finds the renewed life of springtime a painful reminder of her husband’s death.”
2.       NEXT, decide which three or four literary techniques you think are MOST important in this poem. For example, you might choose 1) a central symbol; 2) the form of the poem; 3) the irregular rhythm, and 4) the pattern of dark imagery.
3.      The next step is perhaps the most challenging for Intro Lit students. At this point, you’ll want to figure out the literary EFFECT of these techniques. The way to do that is to determine how this literary technique contributes to the theme of the poem. Please, do not just say something like, “this technique makes the poem more meaningful or vivid or easy to picture.” Saying something like that is not helpful to understand the poem. Instead, say something like “the irregular rhythm helps to emphasize the speaker’s emotional upheaval.”
4.      Finally, you will put together the theme and the techniques into an overall thesis. Your thesis should include both WHAT the poem is about and HOW it conveys that idea. In other words, it should contain both the theme of the poem and some of its literary techniques.
Your posting should end up roughly following this guide:
_________”Title of poem” by _______ is about ________________________.
____1st literary device to be discussed____ occurs ___where in poem____________ and has the following effect _____________________________.
____2nd literary device to be discussed____ occurs ___where in poem____________ and has the following effect _____________________________.
____3rd literary device to be discussed____ occurs ____where in poem___________ and has the following effect _____________________________.
[____4th literary device to be discussed____ occurs __in the poem_____________ and has the following effect _____________________________.]
Therefore _____________name of the poet_________ uses these literary devices to produce _______________________effect_________ in __________””________.

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