Poetry Explication Guidelines
The following can serve as a general outline for your explications. You will have to add and organize your own subheadings, or you may have to delete some sections. You may also use other orders of ideas that may suit your particular content. Just be sure your explication is thorough and organized. I. Introduction
a. (Include such items as what is the poem title, who is the author, and where did you get your copy? What is the theme and subject of the poem?) II. The poem
a. (Is it a lyric poem? Is it an ode, haiku, sonnet or some other form you can identify?) III. Paraphrases of lines/stanzas
IV. Traits and examples/explanations
a. (This is where you discuss alliteration, allusion, metaphor, rhythm, rhyme, etc organize this part in a way that best fits your content. For instance, you might want to discuss the sound traits first, then go on to the figurative traits such as personification, symbol, metaphor, etc.) V. Theme
a. (Propose what the theme is and support/defend your interpretation. The object is to show that you have reached a reasonable conclusion. Think Rockwell painting-How do you know? What evidence supports your interpretation?) VI. Evaluation
a. (Make judgments about the poem. SUGGESTIONS/EXAMPLES: How well did the author do at making his/her point or creating an intended mood or other impact? Which elements were the strongest or weakest and why? Were some images or metaphors particularly interesting or effective and why? Did the rhyme scheme contribute to the poem or distract? Etc., etc., etc.) VII. Personal reactions
a. (SUGGESTIONS/EXAMPLES: What did you like or not like and why? How did you feel after reading the poem? Did it give you a new perspective or was it trite and why? Did it relate to you, or was it so foreign an idea that it did not seem to pertain to you, and why?) VIII. Conclusion
Here is an example of an explication.
Below is a short poem by Robert Frost and an explication based on its content. |The Road Not Taken | |Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, | |And sorry I could not travel both | |And be one traveler, long I stood | |And looked down one as far as I could | |To where it bent in the undergrowth; | | | |Then took the other, as just as fair, | |And having perhaps the better claim, | |Because it was grassy and wanted wear; | |Though as for that the passing there | |1Had worn them really about the same, | | | |And both that morning equally lay | |In leaves no step had trodden black. | |Oh, I kept the first for another day! | |Yet knowing how way leads on to way, | |I doubted if I should ever come back. | | | |I shall be telling this with a sigh | |Somewhere ages and ages hence: | |Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- | |I took the one less traveled by, | |And that has made all the difference. |
Explication of "The Road Not Taken."
The poem titled "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost, the text taken from the University of Toronto Index of Poets In Representative Poetry On-line (http://www.library.utoronto. ca/utel/rp/indexauthors.html), is about a man...
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