Essay 2: Creative Synthesis 30% of Final Grade
Task: Write your own poem as an extension of, or in response to, or in imitation of, any of the poems we’ve read this semester. The poem can be any form you want; you may even set it to music if you’re a song writer. Then write an essay to analyze the rhetorical and artistic choices you made in your poem, and how your poem is in dialogue with the original poem.
For your poem, you may engage any one of the poems we have studied over the semester; consider the ideas and themes, styles and forms, and poetic strategies we have studied to shape how you craft your response poem. If you want to write in response to a poem we have not read in the course, that may also be an option if you let me know your purpose for it—it may be a good opportunity to explore other forms we have not had time to cover. Be formally deliberate: you should have a reason for whatever poem and style you choose.
The self-analysis essay, or artist’s statement, should be analytic. It should not just summarize what the poem is about, or simply repeat what the original poem is about. Rather, it should make a specific argument about how your poem is in creative dialogue with the original poem, and how the poetic strategies you use contribute to your meaning and purpose in extending or responding to the original poem. You can use first person (“I”).
Purpose: The purpose of this final paper is to open up space to explore your own voice and creativity, as well as to practice being deliberate and self-aware in that creativity by analyzing how you choose to shape and direct your voice. Furthermore, this is your chance to create your own “so what” for the course, your final take-away.
Role and audience: While you may be writing for various audiences, bear in mind that I am also your audience; you are writing to demonstrate your increased capacity for creative expression and critical self-analysis through effective writing.
- Friday Nov 20, 11:59pm, post your poem on the peer review discussion board for peer review
- By Tuesday Nov 24, 11:59pm, post peer review responses to the people in your discussion group
- Friday Dec 4, 11:59pm, submit a copy of the original poem, of your own response poem, and of your self-analysis as a single Word doc on Canvas
Format: The poem can be as long or short as you need; the analysis should be 4-5 pages, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins, and consistent citation style if you engage outside sources; see a variety of guidelines online:
Papers that do not meet the page minimum will be penalized one full letter grade (e.g. A- to B-).
Poetry Analysis Rubric
|This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Thesis/Argument
The paper has a strong introduction that builds to a thesis statement or interpretive claim about the text that is sophisticated and purposeful; it develops an arguable stance that shows great creativity and insight.
|This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Evidence/Analysis
Author demonstrates deep familiarity with the text under discussion. The author uses textual support with considerable skill and with serious thought about its appropriateness. Textual evidence is closely analyzed in a way that advances the argument. Author shows awareness of objections or possible alternative interpretations and addresses them skillfully and smoothly.
|This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Organization
The paper is extremely well-organized. The argument flows seamlessly through transitions and topic sentences, with no ruptures in thought.
|This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Conclusion
The conclusion reiterates the argument gracefully and situates the paper within a larger point about the text, a “so what” or broader purpose for the argument.
|This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Mechanics
Sentences are pithy and clear and show a superior command of phrasing and vocabulary. The paper is almost entirely clear of grammar and punctuation problems (perhaps one or two in the whole paper). The paper is consistently formatted.
Longer Description of Criteria for evaluation:
An A paper is superior work:
- The paper has a strong introduction that builds to a thesis statement or interpretive claim that is sophisticated and unique; it makes a clear claim about the poem that shows great originality and insight.
- The author closely analyzes the form and content of their creative poem, showing a nuanced and sophisticated understanding not only about what formal choices inform their work, but also about what effect those formal choices have on the poem’s larger purpose in relation to the content and theme or larger idea of the original poem. What happens in the poems and what that poems are about are both deliberately analyzed in relation to each other.
- The paper is extremely well-organized. The analysis flows seamlessly with no ruptures in thought; topic sentences and transitions are strong and efficient.
- The conclusion reiterates the thesis statement gracefully and situates the paper within a larger point about the poem, a “so what”—why the analysis is insightful for a greater understanding of the poem.
- Sentences are pithy and clear and show a superior command of phrasing and vocabulary. The paper is almost entirely clear of grammar and punctuation problems (perhaps one or two in the whole paper).
- Paper is consistently formatted.
A B paper is good to very good:
- The paper has a thesis statement about the poem that is good but might need strengthening. The introduction stimulates interest in the author’s work.
- The author does more than merely reiterate what they did in the poem; they attempt to gesture to hidden nuances or interpretations. However, the author stops short of fully analyzing both form and content, what happens in the poem and what that poem is about in relation to each other; the analysis may not be clearly grounded in the details of the poem.
- The paper is generally well-organized but is at times choppy; topic sentences and transitions between paragraphs or ideas may need more attention.
- The conclusion reiterates the thesis or the main points but creates an abrupt ending; it may attempt to address a “so what” but could do so in a more insightful way or be better warranted by the analysis of the poem.
- Grammatical or punctuation errors are present (a couple per page), but author overall shows a relatively strong command of grammar and punctuation. Sentences are mostly clear and strong without wordiness, though at times the author succumbs to confusing or overwrought sentence structures. Author shows a good command of vocabulary.
- Paper is generally consistently formatted, though some deviations are present.
A C paper is adequate:
- The author identifies a thesis statement, but the thesis is too broad, too vague, or is more of an observation than a contestable argument about the poem. The introduction itself may be vague or unfocused, more descriptive than argumentative.
- The author does not venture beyond reiterating or describing the creative work, stopping short of the work of analysis, or talking about their own broader ideas without grounding them in the specific details of the creative work.
- The author has organized their material in a relatively coherent fashion but without much attention to transitions between different parts of the paper. Author is vague and moves away from claims without developing them. Details may not be appropriate for the specific claims.
- The paper’s conclusion is under-developed and/or abrupt.
- Grammar and punctuation problems are present but do not detract from the paper in the fashion of a D paper. Sentences may be long and confusing or abrupt and monotonous.
- Paper is not consistently formatted in multiple respects.
A D paper is poor:
- The paper at least hints at a theme, but it does not make a clear claim about the work of the poem. The introduction is unfocused.
- This paper does demonstrate that the author had an idea in mind for the creative piece, but it is not analyzed with any depth or specificity.
- The paper shows a greater attempt at organizing thoughts than an F paper, but such attempts are tentative and fragmentary.
- Paper often falls into summary or simple descriptions of the creative piece without analyzing it.
- The paper may not contain a conclusion.
- The paper has serious problems with grammar and punctuation (sentence fragments, problems with subject/verb agreement, seeming lack of knowledge about usage of commas, semicolons, and colons).
- Paper ignores consistent formatting.
An F paper has no thesis or recognizable argument:
- The paper does not make any attempt to analyze the poem. Ideas are not organized in any coherent fashion. The paper is riddled with grammar and punctuation problems and ignores consistent formatting.