How to Write Notations for LIT

For the purpose of this class, a “notation” is a 2-3 sentence analysis that contains these three parts:
• Your observation about some significant element of the text.
• A quote from the text that supports your observation.
• An explanation of the significance of this quote, and/or your analysis of the quote.
Read the 6-line poem by Gary Snyder called “How Poetry Comes to Me” (p. 403).
The following example notations discuss the various ways Snyder uses sound in this poem.
Note how each example includes each of the three parts required to be a complete notation.
Example Notations About Sound in “How Poetry Comes to Me” (Snyder)
Example 1:
This poem uses assonance. The repetition of the “I” sound in the words “night,” “frightened,” “outside,” and “campfire” (l. 2-4) makes you stop and think about what he’s talking about. He makes you think that poetry has a dominating presence.
Example 2:
In lines 5-6, the poem uses consonance by using “ts” in “meet,” “it,” “at” and “light.” This creates a feeling of small breaths that keeps you close around the campfire.
Example 3:
Snyder uses the letter “b” repeatedly, as in “blundering” and “boulders” (l. 1-2). These sounds made me picture a fox hiding from the light and ready to jump over the boulders.
Your homework will be to write a notation, yourself. Be sure to email me if you have questions about what a notation is!

Sample Solution