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DescriptionTemplate for Argument Essay: Content-Function Outline – Writing is thinking!
How many Paragraphs? That is up to you.
paragraph Content (at least a topic sentence- you can include Function (what does the
other items): Remember – a Topic sentence frames paragraph do in the essayyour paragraph!
consider your premises,
ethos, logos and pathos)
Topic Sentence for the paragraph.
Introduction: Provides
background information for
your essay; provides a way
Bring in a personal anecdote? Quote from the
to engage with the reader;
poem? From the poet’s life? Your first impression? provides a thesis statement
Since you are writing a letter, will you make a
that is clear and does not
personal appeal to whom you are writing?
include premises.
Thesis Statement:
Topic Sentence:
(Remember you can have a two paragraph
introduction and have your thesis here). (you can
begin to analyze one of the poems here. Try to
connect the ideas to your thesis; remember to use
the literary terminology such as imagery, speaker
and listener, metaphor, alliteration, free verse,
symbolism, etc. throughout your analysis)
Topic Sentence:
(you are either writing about another poem by the
poet or writing more about the first poem).you can
begin to analyze one of the poems here. Try to
connect the ideas to your thesis)
Topic Sentence:
see above – 3rd poem discussion.
Topic Sentence:
Begin conclusion, make sure you connect with the
thesis and go back to the person you are writing
your letter to.
Topic Sentence:
Write more to conclude your essay? Perhaps an
appeal to your reader to read the poems?
(you can have more paragraphs if you need to)
Topic sentence
Topic sentence
Paragraph supports thesis
Provide more support for
your thesis.
Provide more support for
your thesis.
Provide support for your
thesis. Try not to repeat your
thesis exactly, but do go over
the highlights of your essay.
The final poetry assignment:
For the final poetry assignment, you wrote a letter to someone close, be it a
family member or friend, about a poem or poems that struck you and made you want
to learn more about the poet(s), their lives, the world, and perhaps read more poetry.
If you decide on writing a letter to a stranger, say, your English Instructor, that is fine
as well.
You have followed letter format, Dear NAME, at the top of you page, showing that you
have a piece of writing that is directed to a particular audience, the person to whom
the letter is addressed.
The letter will be 750-1000 words long with an outline. You will not be able to use
any online blogs for research except the two (poem-a-day and poem of the day). I
invite you also to check out our two websites, Poetry Foundation and “poem-a-day”
(Academy of American poets).
Check samples of essays titled Explication essay “Hughes- Harlem” and poetry
response sample. Check outline sample titled with “content-function” outline
What you need to include in your letter/essay:
1) What you walk away with from the poem(s) that makes you excited to write about it
and share your ideas about the poem with someone else.
2) At least one image (or more) that the poetry evokes for you and how that fits in with
the rest of the poem. (You are quoting lines from the poem, as in explication, and
using the word “imagery” properly as the model essays included in this module
and from our book do).
3) Why overall you chose this poem (s) and particular subject to write about.
The chosen prompt is 4) Writing about Marilyn Chin’s poem, “How I got my
name” with another one of her other poems. See attached doc titled Choose
your topic for the last writing assignment for poetry- FOCUS ON IMAGERY for
more details and explanations.
Please also consider these styles of writing about poems for your own

Your essay is using explication and analysis. For example, you have
discovered how through explication how the author uses figurative
language such as imagery, metaphors, symbolism, sarcasm (or irony, or a
flip in perspective) to create the poem’s means. (The imagery in Tretheway’s
poem “History Lesson” is striking showing how the calmness of a beach
scene can be “cut” so to speak with a “switchblade” alluding perhaps to the
difficult history portrayed in the poem).
Detailed Consideration of Analysis: If you are focusing on the Rankine poem
you might consider an analysis first and then explication, particularly regarding the
pronouns, since the poem is long and is written in a prose style.
With analysis, an essay is able to clearly do the following:

See the relationships between the parts of the poem
Consider what is *not* in the poem
What the characterizations of the character is in the poem?
Is there a surprise at the end?
What is the lesson that this poem aims to teach us?
Detailed Considerations for Explication:

If the poem has a title other than the first line, what are the implications of the title?
Are there clusters of patterns of imagery — for instance, religious, political or
historical images, or images drawn from nature?
Is irony (understatement or overstatement) used? To what effect?
How do connotations of certain words (for example “maiz” in Diaz’s poem help to
establish meaning?
What are the implications of the syntax — for instance, some lines that are notably
short or notably complex? What do such sentences tell us about the “speaker” in
the poem?
Do rhyming words have a meaningful connections? (Also consider, are words,
ideas, phrases are repeated and what does that add to the poem)?
• What about the implications of the appearance of the poem on the page-stanzas or the lineation?
Updated Rubric
Writing Project – Poetry – 100 points
You have followed the prompt instructions with vigor, interest and intelligence and
completed the outline, rough draft and peer reviews.
10 points
The language (SAE- MLA) you used to write in was appropriate to your audience and
you considered your purpose in writing this essay, consistent with the prompt
10 points
Using the explication format, your writing is organized, clear, cohesive and coherent.
30 points
You have completed the SLOs for this course in MLA style:
1. Analyze and evaluate literary works using appropriate critical vocabulary.
(“elements of poetry”) following the styles in the sample essays.
25 points
2. Cite from the text to support their analyses in a discussion of literature.
25 points
For the final poetry assignment, I would like to talk about Marilyn Chin’s poems “How I
got my name” and “The Survivor.” I choose these two poems of Chin because Chin talks
about her experiences of being an immigrant and how she struggles for her identity with the
influence of two different cultures as well as how the author deals with it. I have learned that
identity and race are two important matters that immigrants face in their lives, not only for
Chinese immigrants but also for other immigrants. I am also interested in how Asian
immigrants especially Chinese immigrants get off of the stereotype of “Model Minority” and
be themselves. One image from “How I got my name” I want to talk about is how Chin
imagines her Great Patriarch Chin considers his offspring by saying “peered down from his
kiosk in heaven and saw that his descendants were ugly. One had a squarish head and a nose
without a bridge Another’s profile—long and knobbed as a gourd” (Chin lines 60-63). This
image just directly implies the conflict between Chinese and American cultures. One image
from “The Survivor” is how parents teach girls that they should not do something as it
mentions “Don’t tap your chopsticks against your bowl. Don’t throw your teacup against the
wall in anger. Don’t suck on your long black braid and weep” (Chin lines 1-3). This passage
directly shows some Chinese cultural values and Chin’s family maintains them in the US.
When reading these two parts from two poems, we can create pictures by imagining the scene
that a person with a completely different appearance from you and you never see that before,
you might feel unhappy and surprised. Meanwhile, you also could imagine the scene of
taping your chopsticks against the bowl, throwing the teacup against the wall, and sucking
braid, you might feel impolite. I could relate them to my life as my parents also tell me
something like this and I also need to follow these values. My parents also once mentioned
the idea of immigration so I think what Chin has experienced would also be something that I
might encounter in the future.
Works Cited
Chin, Marilyn. “How I Got that Name.” Literature: A Portable Anthology. Bedford/St.
Martin’s, 2020, pp. 1683-1686.
Dove, Rita. “Poet’s Choice.” Washington Post, 6 February 2000,
205b4b55-29de-49a7-a027-1fec4d6b5090/. Accessed 28 February 2023.

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