1. Choose ONE of the following poems to conduct an analysis of its meaning:
• “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou
• “Remember” by Joy Harjo
• “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes
• “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson
2. After conducting a close reading of the poem by taking notes, freewriting or completing an
informal outline, isolate a subject or issue that can be interpreted as the poem’s theme.
3. Make notes on your impressions of the poetic elements of the poem as they help to
draw out the poem’s meaning:
• speaker and tone
• diction and syntax
• figures of speech
• rhythm and meter
4. Create a clear and concise thesis sentence that identifies the central argument you will prove
can be interpreted as the poem’s meaning for any of the poetic elements listed above. DO NOT
refer to the speaker in the poem as the poet—the poet uses poetic devices to convey his or her
ideas through the poem, but the poet is not performing the actions in the poem. These actions
are performed by the speaker. The only relationship between the poet and the speaker that is
arguable is that the speaker is the poet’s persona.
5. Create a well-organized final draft with body paragraphs that each have a clear topic
sentence that connects back to the thesis.
6. Provide evidence for your argument in the body paragraphs by quoting specific words or lines
from the poem to support your interpretation of its theme and poetic element(s). DO NOT
summarize or paraphrase the lines of the poem. Smoothly integrate these quotations into your
own writing using effective launch statements. (Effective launch statements avoid the verbs
“says”, “states” or “writes” and avoid referencing the line number(s) that should be placed only
within the in-text citations.)
7. Include correct in-text documentation for direct quotes, making sure to properly add a slash
between two lines of poetry or setting off three or more lines (long quotation) with block
formatting, as necessary. (See the Essay on Poetry Checklist located in the Poetry Module for
8. Include a Work Cited page at the end of your paper that follows MLA documentation rules
with ONLY the one poem listed. DO NOT use any other sources. (See the Essay on Poetry
Checklist located in the Poetry Module for an example.) Your total word count should generate a
paper at least 1,000 words but not more than 1,500 words.
9. Upload the final draft to the assignment in Canvas and through Turnitin before the due date.
Early submissions are encouraged, late submissions are not accepted.