Explication of a Poem

Select one of the following poems* listed below and write a 500 word standard five paragraph essay explicating the poem. How do you write an explication? The best technique to use is a close-reading of the literary work. When you write an explication paper you want to examine the literary work very closely. You want to pay attention to the style of the writing, including the individual elements of the work such as the sentence structure, whether or not the author uses figurative language such as similes and metaphors. Look closely as the imagery the author creates (or maybe, does not create), look at word choice, even grammar and punctuation. The goal in an explication paper is to 1) point out the important elements of style in the literary work; and 2) explain the purpose and effect of those elements within the literary work itself (also known as the text).Choose only one poem from the the following list.

Emily Dickinson – any of her poems found in the textbook
Maya Angelou – “Still I Rise”
Billy Collins – “Forgetfulness”

Sample Solution