8. Look at the structure of the poem. Does the poet use the first 8 lines to explore
a “problem”? Where is the “turn”? What “resolution” does the poet offer in the
final 6 lines?
II. Getting Ready to Write about the Poem
The step-by-step procedure outlined above will afford you an opportunity to become
closely familiar with the poem. Now you are ready to consider your writing task. Think
about an opening paragraph for an essay that would set the stage for a 2 – 3 page
discussion of the poem (this would work out to about 500 – 600 words since the pages
will be double spaced). This opening paragraph should connect with your reader, create
interest, and state your purpose and point for the essay (called the thesis in
composition classes). Since you are going to explore the meaning of the poem, your
thesis will probably have something to do with the main idea of the poem (see step 6
Once you have an introductory paragraph sketched out, you are ready to organize your
notes and think about how you plan to develop your ideas. In the body of your essay
(probably about 3 – 5 paragraphs) you want to make sure that you have continuity to
your discussion. That is, the ideas should flow from paragraph to paragraph, and each
paragraph should be organized around one key point that you want to make (topic
sentence) that supports the thesis stated in the opening paragraph.
A conclusion is more than just a restatement of your thesis. It should give the reader a
sense of closure regarding the discussion. It should be proportionate to the essay, so a
mere sentence or two would not be sufficient.
This draft described above would be called something like the shaping draft by some
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