2. Writing Essays

See this page with Japanese pop-up notes (翻訳)

Throughout this course, your journal and your class discussions are ways to develop your ability to think, talk, and write about poetry. This practice comes together in the term essay, which requires you to write a short analysis of a poem using your own ideas as well as biographical and contextual research.

Download a model essay: “The Poetry of Everyday Life: “William Carlos Williams’ ‘This Is Just to Say”'(PDF format, 102 KB.

The parts of the essay include:

(1) A title which gives a clear idea of the main point in the essay. It should include keywords such as the poet’s name and the title of the poem. It should also summarize your interpretation of the poem.

(2) An introduction which chooses facts from the poet’s life and times to help introduce the poem and the main idea of your essay (the thesis statement).

(3) A thesis statement placed at the end of the introduction paragraph should focus on the poem. It should make a claim about the meaning of the poem, discussing theme, poetic technique, biography, or context.

(4) Three or more body paragraphs should deal with the poem in detail, beginning with the structure, content, and finally meaning. Each paragraph should begin with a clear topic sentence that indicates addresses as aspect of the poem or the poet’s life in relation to the poem or the context of the poem.

Use references to the text to support your view. Use quotation “marks” and include line number in brackets (l. 2) / (ll. 14-5) when you give support.

(5) The conclusion should begin by restating the thesis and then summarize the main points (the topic sentences in each body paragraph). The conclusion might also widen its focus beyond the poem: to the poet’s career or reputation, to the context in which the poem was written or to the possible universality of the theme addressed in the poem. You can also include your own response to the poem or discuss how the poem could be related to life and culture here in Japan.

(6) A list of Works Cited (including the poem you wrote about) should be attached to the end of the essay. See MLA guidelines and the model essay for details about to prepare this list.

Download a model essay: “The Poetry of Everyday Life: “William Carlos Williams’ ‘This Is Just to Say”'(PDF format, 102 KB.