Intro to Poetry






The end of the semester is quickly approaching. The last assignment for the
semester is this Final exam. Once you complete and submit your Final Exam,
you have completed this class and can go take a break.
This is a COMPREHENSIVE, ESSAY-BASED, TAKE-HOME Final Exam, which means that you
could write about any poem from the entire semester, all of your answers will be in essay
format, you will have the exam several weeks early, and you can complete it at your
convenience. Read through the rest of this for specifics about the exam.
Exam Questions
For your final exam, write THREE responses to the following prompts. Each response should be two pages.
The entire exam should be a total of six+ pages. At least one of your responses should include formal
quotes from the text of the poem, use poetic terminology, and include the analytical tone of PE1 and
PE2 (likely from ‘Analyzing Poems’). Your other two responses can be a personal and do not require formal
citations or an analytical focus.
Exam Question Options:
Analyzing Poems
1. Choose a poem from our textbook that we didn’t read in class, or choose a poem you like from outside
of class, and write an analysis of it. Identify major themes, analyze using poetic concepts and
terminology, and discuss overall meaning(s).
2. Choose a poem from our reading list that made you feel uncomfortable or was outside of your comfort
zone. Identify major themes, analyze using poetic concepts and terminology, and discuss overall
meaning(s), with a focus on your personal reactions to it.
3. Choose a poetic theme oridea from our class that you enjoyed (either a formal one or one of your own)
and discuss several poems as examples. Identify major themes, analyze using poetic concepts and
terminology, and discuss overall meaning(s).
4. We read four contemporary poets not included in the textbook (Osman, Smith, Gibson and Kaminsky).
Choose one or more of these authors, pick a poem that you found meaningful from them, analyze it,
and discuss its value to contemporary readers.
Poetry in Society
1. Discuss the importance of poetry (or the lack of) in today’s world. Think about where you see poetry
in the world, where it is displayed, sold or read, and its cultural value today. Think about classic poems,
contemporary poems, or both.
2. Choose a poem from our reading list and discuss its significance from the perspective of other
nationalities, cultures, communities or identities, with an emphasis on multiple readings of the poem.
3. Write about the personal value of poetry to you, emotionally, intellectually, or socially, either your
own creative writing or writing that you read.
Creative Writing
1. Share a poem that you’ve previously written, write a reflection of how, why and when you wrote it,
and write an analysis of it like we’ve done with poems from the textbook.
2. Write an original poem for the exam, either on one of our class themes or inspired by/in the style of
one of the poems from class. Include a writer’s note explaining your creative choices.
1. Semesters are complicated under the best of circumstances, Write a reflection on your experiences
during Spring ’22: how you did academically, how you did in our class in particular, what ups and
downs you experienced in your life in general, anything about the pandemic, etc.
2. Life moves on after the semester is over. Reflect on this class in the context of your major, your
education path, and your eventual career. Where does poetry fit? Do any of the artistic, philosophical,
social or academic ideas from our class benefit you? Where do you see poetry fitting into your life
moving forward?
3. We had a great group this semester, and we’ve been socially distanced for a long time. Reflect on a
moment during class, a class discussion or a day that meant something to you.
Writing Suggestions
• Even though this is a take-home Literature final, I’d treat it like any other exam. Read the prompt early,
outline your responses, re-read the poems, re-visit your notes and generally prep for this like you
would study for any other exam.
• This exam isn’t a secret. We will discuss it in class, so ask me questions, talk to your peers about their
answers, and generally use the class to brainstorm ideas, workshop your answers and plan for the
Final Exam.
• Since this Final Exam is separated into three parts, it’s easy to write it in pieces. Write part one and go
to work, write part two that night, and write part three the next day before lunch. It’s NOT a sustained
six-page paper, so make the most of the short essay structure.
• Since this is due at the end of the semester, there is no revision option. Show me drafts or bring drafts
to the Writing Center so you know your Final Exam is strong when you submit it.
• This Final Exam will posted a good two weeks in advance and can be completed on your own time.
Use that to your advantage. Is it better to finish the final early and free up time for your other classes?
Are you so busy that you need to push it back to finals week? Use the early release of the Final Exam
in this class to be strategic about finals week in general.
• Students who get low grades on the Final usually do so for the same reasons: they procrastinate and
don’t start until right before the due date, they write answers well below the two-page minimum for
each section, they don’t follow or answer the prompts, they don’t cite lines in parts one and two, and
they don’t give their exam an edit before submitting it. None of these things are that hard. Just do the
opposite of this and you’ll probably do fine. Some people don’t submit the Final Exam at all. At 15% of
your grade, that’s obviously a bad idea.
Grading Guidelines
This Final Exam is worth 15% of your final grade.
Consider each of your responses to be a standalone, formal essay: begin with a thesis, organize your
reasoning and evidence, quote evidence from poems when necessary, and edit and polish your writing. You’ll
be graded on the following categories:
• Content: that your responses are accurate, show an intelligent reading and interpretation of the
poems, and reflect perspectives we discussed in class related to the poems.
• Writing: that your writing is clear, easy to read, grammatically correct, and properly quoted.
• Length: that each response you write is two pages long and that your exam is six pages total. Going a
little over on length is fine, though not required. Anything LESS than two pages per section/six pages
total will result in points off.
Submission Options
• Your final exam is due at the end of our Finals Week class time listed on the calendar.
• Submit a digital copy to Blackboard and double check that it uploaded correctly.
• Submit your Final Exam in a single Word document (as opposed to submitted three separate files).
• Late papers submitted after the Final’s Week due date and time will receive a zero.


Sample solution

Dante Alighieri played a critical role in the literature world through his poem Divine Comedy that was written in the 14th century. The poem contains Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The Inferno is a description of the nine circles of torment that are found on the earth. It depicts the realms of the people that have gone against the spiritual values and who, instead, have chosen bestial appetite, violence, or fraud and malice. The nine circles of hell are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed and wrath. Others are heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Dante’s Inferno in the perspective of its portrayal of God’s image and the justification of hell. 

In this epic poem, God is portrayed as a super being guilty of multiple weaknesses including being egotistic, unjust, and hypocritical. Dante, in this poem, depicts God as being more human than divine by challenging God’s omnipotence. Additionally, the manner in which Dante describes Hell is in full contradiction to the morals of God as written in the Bible. When god arranges Hell to flatter Himself, He commits egotism, a sin that is common among human beings (Cheney, 2016). The weakness is depicted in Limbo and on the Gate of Hell where, for instance, God sends those who do not worship Him to Hell. This implies that failure to worship Him is a sin.

God is also depicted as lacking justice in His actions thus removing the godly image. The injustice is portrayed by the manner in which the sodomites and opportunists are treated. The opportunists are subjected to banner chasing in their lives after death followed by being stung by insects and maggots. They are known to having done neither good nor bad during their lifetimes and, therefore, justice could have demanded that they be granted a neutral punishment having lived a neutral life. The sodomites are also punished unfairly by God when Brunetto Lattini is condemned to hell despite being a good leader (Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). While he commited sodomy, God chooses to ignore all the other good deeds that Brunetto did.

Finally, God is also portrayed as being hypocritical in His actions, a sin that further diminishes His godliness and makes Him more human. A case in point is when God condemns the sin of egotism and goes ahead to commit it repeatedly. Proverbs 29:23 states that “arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” When Slattery condemns Dante’s human state as being weak, doubtful, and limited, he is proving God’s hypocrisy because He is also human (Verdicchio, 2015). The actions of God in Hell as portrayed by Dante are inconsistent with the Biblical literature. Both Dante and God are prone to making mistakes, something common among human beings thus making God more human.

To wrap it up, Dante portrays God is more human since He commits the same sins that humans commit: egotism, hypocrisy, and injustice. Hell is justified as being a destination for victims of the mistakes committed by God. The Hell is presented as being a totally different place as compared to what is written about it in the Bible. As a result, reading through the text gives an image of God who is prone to the very mistakes common to humans thus ripping Him off His lofty status of divine and, instead, making Him a mere human. Whether or not Dante did it intentionally is subject to debate but one thing is clear in the poem: the misconstrued notion of God is revealed to future generations.



Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). Dante’s inferno: Seven deadly sins in scientific publishing and how to avoid them. Addiction Science: A Guide for the Perplexed, 267.

Cheney, L. D. G. (2016). Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno: A Comparative Study of Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccaro. Cultural and Religious Studies4(8), 487.

Verdicchio, M. (2015). Irony and Desire in Dante’s” Inferno” 27. Italica, 285-297.