poem essay 2

Write an essay (approx. 700-1000 words) on one of the given topics. To support your ideas, provide plenty of specific evidence, including correctly introduced and documented quotations, with in-text citations in MLA format. You do not need to include a Works Cited page. This essay must be your own work. Do not consult any sources besides the poems provided.

Your essay should include the following:

  • An intro paragraph with a clear and arguable thesis statement
  • Limited summary throughout your paper and a focus on analysis instead
  • A quote in each body paragraph with a citation in MLA format
  • A thoughtful conclusion

Using the poems provided, write an essay of approximately 700-1000 words.

Poems (provided):

  • Christina Rossetti, “In an Artist’s Studio”
  • Judith Askew, “Bakery of Lies”
  • Maggie Smith, “Good Bones”

Compose an essay in response to ONE of the following topics:

  1. Christina Rossetti’s poem, “In an Artist’s Studio,” explores ideas such as memory, truth, and art, and how different images such as the paintings mentioned in the poem can share a common meaning. The poem also suggests that truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Focus on “In an Artist’s Studio” and one of the other poems provided above and write an essay that examines the concepts of memory and truth in the poems. Is memory in the poems subjective or selective—for instance, do artists necessarily create an image that is factual and accurate, or might details be changed or invented in some way to “dress up” an idea or emphasize the “truth” an artist (or poet, or storyteller) wishes to share? How do your poems “capture” the process of remembering?
  1. While an essay is usually explicit and direct (think of the evidence you compiled as you composed your research papers), poetry is typically more interested in capturing feeling and emotion, so meaning may be implied or latent. Choose two of the poems above and examine their treatment of surface versus depth, or appearances versus reality. How do your poems explore what might be “buried” or “hidden”? Is there a tension between what is on the surface and the meanings that are hidden below?
  1. “Good Bones” describes lies of omission—leaving out details, for instance to control a narrative or withhold information you believe unnecessary for your audience, like the mother in the poem who keeps certain harsh truths from her children, or the realtor who focuses on the “good bones” of a house and less on other details. Write an essay that argues for your interpretation of this poem.What does the bleak imagery in the poem (broken children, stones thrown at birds, etc.) or the repetition in the poem reveal about the speaker’s concerns? How does this contrast with the speaker’s confession that they’ve shortened their own life in “a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways”? Why do you think Maggie Smith uses the idea of a house for sale in the end of the poem?

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