ENG201Y (Reading Poetry): Essay #2

||Choose a poem|| ||Readings for units 3&4|| ||Format your paper|| ||Help writing essays|| ||Late papers||

Due: Thursday 30th November 2000, by 6 p.m.

Length: approx. 1000 words (4 250-word pages).

Essay #2 invites you to present a clear, complex interpretation of a poem that draws many of its supporting points from observations about the poemís sound (rhythm/meter, and the effects of regularity/variation; front- or end-rhyme; other segmentaleffects like consonance and assonance) and its structure (e.g., whether itís stichic or stanzaic, the relationship between thematic and formal structure). The readings for units 3 and 4 are essential for this assignment.

You will find that some aspects of your argument have to be supported with analysis of other kinds of details (i.e. figurative language). Thatís ok, and obvious! However, your paper must focus as much as possible on sound and structure.

Each paragraph of your essay should unfold a stage of your argument/interpretation, and should thus be content-based. (Donít use a form-based structure (i.e. a paragraph about rhythm, a paragraph about rhyme, etc.): form-based structures are inevitably incoherent and repetitious. I really donít like the structure of the essay on Tennysonís meter in Robertsí chapter on "Writing about Prosody", though its content is useful.)

You must choose a poem (or section of a poem) from the list below. If you write on Pope, youíll have to focus the topic further.

Do not write about a poem that you have already written about for essay #1: the penalty for duplication is a grade of "0".

Choose one of the following:

Anon, "I Syng of a Mayden".

Anna Laetitia Barbauld, "Washing-Day."

William Blake, "The Tyger" or "London".

John Donne, "The Sun Rising", or "Goodfriday, 1613. Riding Westward".

Anne Finch, "The Introduction".

Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" or "Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat".

John Keats, "To Autumn" or "Ode on a Grecian Urn".

Mary Leapor, "The Epistle of Deborah Dough"

Andrew Marvell, "The Garden".

John Milton, Book I of Paradise Lost.

Pick one passage: your analysis should also identify its function in context. You might pick "The infernal serpent" (34-83, or part of it); "Thus Satan talking" (192-241); "Is this the regionÖ" (242-270); "There stood a hill" (670-730). Check with me if you want to do something different.

Alexander Pope, "Epistles to Several Persons. II. To a Lady, on the Characters of Women."

Youíll need to focus this further.

Edmund Spenser, "Prothalamion".

William Butler Yeats, "Leda and the Swan".


Your essay.


1. Please type or neatly print your assignments.

2. On a separate title page, please provide a unique (and interesting) title that reflects the topic; your name & student number; my name; and the date.

3. Do not put your name on the body of the essay. Your essay's title and your student number are my keys to your identity once I've finished grading. Please put the paper's title and your student number at the top of EACH page; number each p age at the top right.

4. Please use a paper clip rather than a stapler to hold the paper's pages together. I do comments on the word processor, and it is easier for me to attach them to your essay if I don't have to chew off the staple.


5. In the body of your essay, please use parenthetical references rather than footnotes. When quoting from your poem, give line numbers rather than page numbers. If youíre quoting dictionary definitions, your parent hetical reference should give both the headword (the word you look up) and a short title for the dictionary. For instance: ("charter", OED).

6. In your Work(s) Cited, please give full documentation for your text, either a URL and date of downloading, or a full bibliographical entry. For instance:

Blake, William. "London". The Broadview Anthology of Poetry. Ed. Herbert Rosengarten

and Amanda Goldrick-Jones. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1993. 157.


Academic writing and report-giving

The College Writing Centres can help you with all stages of the essay-writing process.

Iím available during office hours (TW12:15-1), or by prior appointment.

The U of T Writing Home Page has links to advice on writing all kinds of essays (and resumes and application letters). Check it out!




Papers are considered to be late after 6 p.m. on the due date. I will accept late papers up to and including two weeks beyond the due date, with a penalty of 2% per working day (total 20%, or two letter grades). I will not nor mally accept work later than that. But see below.

If you cannot give me a piece of work in person, you must leave it at the porter's lodge in WETMORE Hall, the north building of New College. It is your responsibility to make sure that it has been date-stamped and initialled by the porter. Do not slide it under the door of my office: if you have read Tess of the d'Urbervilles, you know the possible consequences of such an action.

In order to give penalty-free extensions for medical or personal reasons, I do need to see documentation that covers the relevant dates--a doctor's note, xerox of obituary, etc. If you would rather not reveal details to me, get your college registr ar to write me a letter.


It is an academic offence "to represent as one's own and idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic ... work" (Faculty of Arts and Science Calendar). The U of T Writing Home Page has links to the How Not To Pl agiarize handout: http://www.utoronto.ca/writing/plagsep.html.

Please consult me at any time if you remain in any doubt about if and/or how to acknowledge the assistance of others.