Poetry: An Introduction

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-10-06
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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Flexible enough for any poetry course, this text is designed to make your students lifelong lovers of poetry. It combines classic poetry with today's hippest verse, mixing in delicious portions of contemporary life, humor, and universal themes. In-depth chapters on authors such as Emily Dickinson and Billy Collins reveal the real-life contexts in which poets create. There is also plenty of support for students with thorough chapters on the poetic elements, six sensible chapters on critical reading and writing, and many helpful sample close readings, writing assignments, and student papers.

Author Biography

Michael Meyer (Ph.D., University of Connecticut) has taught writing and literature courses for more than 30 years — since 1981 at the University of Connecticut and before that at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the College of William and Mary. His scholarly articles have appeared in distinguished journals such as American Literature, Studies in the American Renaissance, and Virginia Quarterly Review. An internationally recognized authority on Henry David Thoreau, Meyer is a former president of the Thoreau Society and coauthor (with Walter Harding) of The New Thoreau Handbook, a standard reference source. His other books for Bedford/St. Martin's include The Bedford Introduction to Literature (2011); The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature (2009); and Thinking and Writing about Literature (2001).

Table of Contents

List of Authors

Preface for Instructors


The Nature of Literature

Emily Dickinson, A narrow Fellow in the Grass

The Value of Literature

The Changing Literary Canon


poster: Dorothy Parker, Unfortunate Coincidence

photo: Carl Sandburg, Window

cartoon: Roz Chast, The Love Song of J. Alfred Crew
photo: Tim Taylor, I shake the delicate apparatus

poster: Eric Dunn and Mike Wigton, National Poetry Slam

web screen: Poetry-portal.com

web screen: Ted Kooser, American Life in Poetry

poem in newspaper: David Allan Evans, Neighbors


1. Reading Poetry
Reading Poetry Responsively

Marge Piercy, The Secretary Chant

Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays

John Updike, Dog’s Death

The Pleasure of Words

William Hathaway, Oh, Oh

SAMPLE CLOSE READING: An Annotated Version of Oh, Oh
Robert Francis, Catch

A SAMPLE STUDENT ANALYSIS: Tossing Metaphors Together in "Catch"

Elizabeth Bishop, The Fish

Philip Larkin, A Study of Reading Habits

Robert Morgan, Mountain Graveyard

E. E. Cummings, l(a

Anonymous, Western Wind

Regina Barreca, Nighttime Fires


Billy Collins, Introduction to Poetry

Poetry in Popular Forms

Helen Farries, Magic of Love

John Frederick Nims, Love Poem

*Bruce Springsteen, Devils and Dust

S. Pearl Sharp, It’s the Law: A Rap Poem

perspective: Robert Francis, On "Hard" Poetry
Poems for Further Study

*Peter Pereira, Anagrammer

*Mary Oliver, The Poet with His Face in His Hands

Lisa Parker, Snapping Beans

Alberto Ríos, Seniors

Alfred Lord Tennyson, Crossing the Bar

Billy Collins, Marginalia

*Christian Bok, Vowels

2. Writing about Poetry: From Inquiry to Final Paper

From Reading to Writing

Elizabeth Bishop, Manners

A SAMPLE CLOSE READING: An Annotated Version of Manners

A SAMPLE STUDENT ANALYSIS: Memory in Elizabeth Bishop’s "Manners"

3. Word Choice, Word Order, and Tone

Word Choice


Denotations and Connotations

Randall Jarrell, The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

Word Order


Judith Ortiz Cofer, Common Ground

Colette Inez, Back When All Was Continuous Chuckles

Kathryn Howd Machan, Hazel Tells LaVerne

*SAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE: Tone in Kathryn Howd Machan’s "Hazel Tells LaVerne"

Martín Espada, Latin Night at the Pawnshop

Paul Lawrence Dunbar, To a Captious Critic

Diction and Tone in Four Love Poems

Robert Herrick, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress

Ann Lauinger, Marvell Noir
Sharon Olds, Last Night

Poems for Further Study

Barbara Hamby, Ode to American English

Thomas Hardy, The Convergence of the Twain

David R. Slavitt, Titanic

Peter Meinke, (Untitled)
Joanne Diaz, On My Father’s Loss of Hearing

Sharon Olds, Sex without Love

*Mary Oliver, Oxygen

Cathy Song, The Youngest Daughter

John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn

Gwendolyn Brooks, We Real Cool

*Joan Murray, We Old Dudes

Alice Jones, The Larynx

Louis Simpson, In the Suburbs
Herbert Lomas, The Fly’s Poem about Emily

A Note on Reading Translations

Three Translations of a Poem by Sappho

Sappho, Immortal Aphrodite of the broidered throne (translated by Henry T. Wharton)

Sappho Beautiful-throned, immortal Aphrodite (translated by T. W. Higginson)

Sappho, Prayer to my lady of Paphos (translated by Mary Barnard)

Two Translations of a Poem by Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda, Verbo (original Spanish version)
Pablo Neruda, Verbo (translated by Ben Belitt)
Pablo Neruda, Verbo (translated by Kristin Linklater)

4. Images

Poetry’s Appeal to the Senses

Li Ho, A Beautiful Girl Combs Her Hair

William Carlos Williams, Poem

Jeanette Barnes, Battle-Piece

Walt Whitman, Cavalry Crossing a Ford

David Solway, Windsurfing

Theodore Roethke, Root Cellar

Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

Jimmy Santiago Baca, Green Chile

Poems for Further Study

Amy Lowell, The Pond
H. D. [Hilda Doolittle], Heat

Linda Pastan, Pass/Fail

*Ruth Fainlight, Crocuses
Mary Robinson,
London’s Summer Morning

William Blake, London

*A SAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE: Imagery in William Blake’s "London" and Mary Robinson’s "London’s Summer Morning"

Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est

*Marvin Bell, The Uniform

Patricia Smith, What It’s Like to Be a Black Girl (for Those of You Who Aren’t)

Rainer Maria Rilke, The Panther

Jane Kenyon, The Blue Bowl

*Donna Masini, Slowly

Sally Croft, Home-Baked Bread

John Keats, To Autumn

*C.K. Williams, Shock

Ezra Pound, In a Station of the Metro

Cathy Song, The White Porch

perspective: T. E. Hulme, On the Differences between Poetry and Prose

5. Figures of Speech
William Shakespeare
, From Macbeth (Act V, Scene 5)

Simile and Metaphor

Margaret Atwood, you fit into me

Emily Dickinson, Presentiment—is that long Shadow—on the lawn—

Anne Bradstreet, The Author to Her Book

*Jay Rogoff, Death’s Theatre

Other Figures

Edmund Conti, Pragmatist

Dylan Thomas, The Hand That Signed the Paper

Janice Townley Moore, To a Wasp

J. Patrick Lewis, The Unkindest Cut

Poems for Further Study

Gary Snyder, How Poetry Comes to Me

*A SAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE: Metaphor in Gary Snyder’s "How Poetry Comes to Me"
Margaret Atwood, February

William Carlos Williams, To Waken an Old Lady

Ernest Slyman, Lightning Bugs

*Peter Meinke, Unnatural Light

Sylvia Plath, Mirror

Judy Page Heitzman, The Schoolroom on the Second Floor of the Knitting Mill
William Wordsworth, London, 1802

Jim Stevens, Schizophrenia

Walt Whitman, A Noiseless Patient Spider

John Donne, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

Linda Pastan, Marks

*Kay Ryan, Hailstorm

Ronald Wallace, Building an Outhouse

Elaine Magarrell, The Joy of Cooking

Ruth Fainlight, The Clarinettist 154

perspective: John R. Searle, Figuring Out Metaphors

6. Symbol, Allegory, and Irony


Robert Frost, Acquainted with the Night


Edgar Allan Poe, The Haunted Palace


Edwin Arlington Robinson, Richard Cory

*A SAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE: Irony in Edwin Arlington Robinson’s "Richard Cory"

Kenneth Fearing, AD

E. E. Cummings, next to of course god america i

Stephen Crane, A Man Said to the Universe

Poems for Further Study

Bob Hicok, Making it in Poetry
Jane Kenyon, Surprise

Martín Espada, Bully

*Kevin Price, Proof of Origin

Carl Sandburg, Buttons

Wallace Stevens, Anecdote of the Jar

*May Swenson, All That Time
William Stafford, Traveling through the Dark

Julio Marzán, Ethnic Poetry

Mark Halliday, Graded Paper

*Charles Simic, The Storm

James Merrill, Casual Wear

Henry Reed, Naming of Parts

Rachel Hadas, The Compact

*Bruce Weigl, Snowy Egret
Robert Browning, My Last Duchess

William Blake, The Chimney Sweeper

Walt Whitman, From Song of Myself
Gary Soto, Behind Grandma’s House

perspective: Ezra Pound, On Symbols

7. Sounds

Listening to Poetry

Anonymous, Scarborough Fair

John Updike, Player Piano

May Swenson, A Nosty Fright

Emily Dickinson, A Bird came down the Walk—

*A SAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE: Sound in Emily Dickinson’s "A Bird came down the Walk—"

Galway Kinnell, Blackberry Eating


Richard Armour, Going to Extremes

Robert Southey, From The Cataract of Lodore

perspective: David Lenson, On the Contemporary Use of Rhyme

Sound and Meaning

Gerard Manley Hopkins, God’s Grandeur

Poems for Further Study

Thomas Lux, Onomatopoeia

*Molly Peacock, Of Night
Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), Jabberwocky

*Harryette Mullen, Blah-Blah

William Heyen, The Trains

John Donne, Song

Alexander Pope, From An Essay on Criticism

Haki R. Madhbuti, The B Network
Maxine Hong Kingston, Restaurant

*Andrew Hudgins, The Cow

Paul Humphrey, Blow

Robert Francis, The Pitcher

Helen Chasin, The Word Plum

*Richard Wakefield, The Bell Rope

John Keats, Ode to a Nightingale

Howard Nemerov, Because you Asked Me about the Line Between Prose and


8. Patterns of Rhythm

Some Principles of Meter

Walt Whitman, From Song of the Open Road

William Wordsworth, My Heart Leaps Up


Timothy Steele, Waiting for the Storm

*A SAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE: The Rhythm of Anticipation in Timothy Steele’s "Waiting for the Storm"

William Butler Yeats, That the Night Come

Poems for Further Study

*Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Break, Break, Break

Alice Jones, The Foot

A. E. Houseman, When I was one-and-twenty
Rita Dove, Fox Trot Fridays

Rachel Hadas, The Red Hat

Robert Herrick, Delight in Disorder

Ben Johnson, Still to Be Neat

*Sonia Sanchez, Summer Words of a Sistuh Addict

William Blake, The Lamb

William Blake, The Tyger

Carl Sandburg, Chicago

*Mark Doty, Tunnel Music

*Mark Turpin, Sledgehammer’s Song
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade

Theodore Roethke, My Papa’s Waltz

*Thylia Moss, Tornados

*Floyd Skloot, Winter Solstice

perspective: Louise Bogan, On Formal Poetry

9. Poetic Forms

Some Common Poetic Forms

A. E. Houseman, Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Robert Herrick, Upon Julia’s Clothes


John Keats, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer

William Wordsworth, The World Is Too Much with Us

William Shakespeare, Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

William Shakespeare, My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun

Edna St. Vincent Millay, I will put Chaos into fourteen lines

*A SAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE: The Fixed Form in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s "I will put Chaos into fourteen lines"

Molly Peacock, Desire

Mark Jarman, Unholy Sonnet

*X.J. Kennedy, The Purpose of Time is to Prevent Everything from Happening at Once


Dylan Thomas, Do not go gentle into that good night
Wendy Cope, Lonely Hearts


Algernon Charles Swinburne, Sestina

Florence Cassen Mayers, All-American Sestina


Samuel Taylor Coleridge, What Is an Epigram?

A. R. Ammons, Coward

David McCord, Epitaph on a Waiter

Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Theology


Anonymous, There was a young lady named Bright

Laurence Perrine, The limerick’s never averse

Keith Casto, She Don’t Bop


Matsuo Basho, Under cherry trees

Carolyn Kizer, After Basho

Sonia Sanchez, c’mon man hold me

Theodore Roethke, Elegy for Jane

Andrew Hudgins, Elegy for My Father, Who Is Not Dead

*Brendan Galvin, An Evel Knievel Elegy


Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind

*Baron Wormser, Labor

Blanche Farley, The Lover Not Taken

X. J. Kennedy, A Visit from St. Sigmund

Picture Poem

Michael McFee, In Medias Res


Elaine Mitchell, Form

10. Open Form
E. E. Cummings
, in Just-

Walt Whitman, From I Sing the Body Electric

perspective: Walt Whitman, On Rhyme and Meter

*A SAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE: The Power of Walt Whitman’s Open Form Poem "I Sing the Body Electric"

Richard Hass, A Story about the Body

Richard Hague, Directions for Resisting the SAT
Galway Kinnell, After Making Love We Hear Footsteps

Kelly Cherry, Alzheimer’s

William Carlos Williams, The Red Wheelbarrow

*Natasha Tretheway, On Captivity
Gary Gildner, First Practice

Marilyn Nelson Waniek, Emily Dickinson’s Defunct

*Jeffrey Harrison, The Names of Things

Sharon Olds, Rite of Passage

Julio Marzán, The Translator at the Reception for Latin American Writers

*Todd Boss, Advance
Robert Morgan, Overalls

*Louise Glück, March

*Linda Pastan, To a Daughter Leaving Home
Anonymous, The Frog

Tato Laviera, AmeRícan

Peter Meinke, The ABC of Aerobics

*Sandra M. Gilbert, Chairlift

*Mary Stewart Hammond, The Big Fish Story

Found Poem

Donald Justice, Order in the Streets

11. Combining the Elements of Poetry: A Writing Process
The Elements Together

Mapping the Poem

John Donne, Death Be Not Proud

Asking Questions about the Elements

A SAMPLE CLOSE READING: An Annotated Version of Death Be Not Proud


Organizing Your Thoughts


The Elements and Theme

A SAMPLE EXPLICATION: The Use of Conventional Metaphors for Death in John Donne’s "Death Be Not Proud"


12. A Study of Emily Dickinson

A Brief Biography

Photo: Emily Dickinson, age 16

Silhouette: Emily Dickinson, age 14

Photo: Emily Dickinson, unauthenticated image

Photo: Edward Dickinson

Letter and Cartoon: Emily Dickinson to William Cowper Dickinson

Photo: Susan Gilbert Dickinson

Letter and Cartoon: Emily Dickinson to Susan Gilbert Dickinson

An Introduction to Her Work

Emily Dickinson, If I can stop one Heart from breaking

Emily Dickinson, If I shouldn’t be alive

Emily Dickinson, The Thought beneath so slight a film—

Emily Dickinson, To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee


Emily Dickinson, Success is counted sweetest

*Emily Dickinson, Some things that fly there be

Emily Dickinson, Water, is taught by thirst

Emily Dickinson, Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—(1859 version)

Emily Dickinson, Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—(1861 version)

Emily Dickinson, Portraits are to daily faces

Emily Dickinson, Some keep the Sabbath going to Church—

Emily Dickinson, "Heaven"—is what I cannot reach!
Emily Dickinson, "Hope" is the thing with feathers

*Emily Dickinson, The Robin’s my Criterion for Tune—

Emily Dickinson, I like a look of Agony

Emily Dickinson, Wild Nights—Wild Nights!
Emily Dickinson, What Soft—Cherubic Creatures—

Facsimile: Manuscript Page of "What Soft—Cherubic Creatures--"

Emily Dickinson, The Soul selects her own Society—

Emily Dickinson, Much Madness is divinest Sense—

Emily Dickinson, I dwell in Possibility—

*Emily Dickinson, They dropped like Flakes—

Emily Dickinson, After great pain, a formal feeling comes—

*Emily Dickinson, Pain—has an Element of Blank—

*Emily Dickinson, The Morning after Woe

Emily Dickinson, I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—

Emily Dickinson, One need not be a Chamber—to be Haunted—

Emily Dickinson, Because I could not stop for Death—

Emily Dickinson, I felt a Cleaving in my Mind—

Emily Dickinson, A Light exists in Spring
Emily Dickinson, O Sumptuous moment

Emily Dickinson, The Bustle in a House

Emily Dickinson, Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
Emily Dickinson, There is no Frigate like a Book
*Emily Dickinson, Fame is the one that does not stay—

Perspectives on Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson, A Description of Herself

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, On Meeting Dickinson for the First Time

Mabel Loomis Todd, The Character of Amherst
Richard Wilbur, On Dickinson’s Sense of Privation

Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, On Dickinson’s White Dress

Cynthia Griffin Wolff, On the Many Voices in Dickinson’s Poetry

Paula Bennett, On "I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—"

Martha Nell Smith, On "Because I could not stop for Death—"

Ronald Wallace, Miss Goff

Two Complementary Critical Readings

Charles R. Anderson, Eroticism in "Wild Nights—Wild Nights!"

David S. Reynolds, Popular Literature and "Wild Nights—Wild Nights!"



Emily Dickinson, "Faith" is a fine invention

Emily Dickinson, I know that He exists

Emily Dickinson, I never saw a Moor—

Emily Dickinson, Apparently with no surprise

A SAMPLE STUDENT PAPER: Religious Faith in Four Poems by Emily Dickinson
Suggested Topics for Longer Papers

13. A Study of Robert Frost

A Brief Biography

Photo: Robert Frost, age 18

Photo: Robert Frost, age 47

Photo: Robert Frost at his writing desk

An Introduction to His Work

Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost, The Pasture


Robert Frost, Mowing
Robert Frost, My November Guest
Robert Frost, Storm Fear

Robert Frost, Mending Wall

Robert Frost, Home Burial

*Robert Frost, The Wood-pile

Robert Frost, After Apple-Picking

Robert Frost, Birches

*Robert Frost, An Old Man’s Winter Night

Robert Frost, "Out, Out—"

*Robert Frost, The Oven Bird

Robert Frost, Fire and Ice

Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay
Robert Frost, Unharvested

Facsimile: Manuscript page of "Neither Out Far nor In Deep"

Robert Frost, Neither Out Far nor In Deep

Robert Frost, Design
Perspectives on Robert Frost

Robert Frost, "In White," An Early Version of "Design"

Robert Frost, On the Living Part of a Poem

Amy Lowell, On Frost’s Realistic Technique

Robert Frost, On the Figure a Poem Makes

Robert Frost, On the Way to Read a Poem

Herbert R. Coursen Jr. , A Parodic Interpretation of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

Peter D. Poland, On "Neither Out Far nor In Deep"

Derek Walcott, The Road Taken

Two Complementary Critical Readings

Richard Poirier, On Emotional Suffocation in "Home Burial"

Katherine Kearns, On the Symbolic Setting of "Home Burial"

Suggested Topics for Longer Papers

14. A Study of Langston Hughes
Image: Langston Hughes Stamp

A Brief Biography

Photo: Harlem Renaissance couple

Photo: The Lafayette Theatre

Photo: Langston Hughes at the McCarthy Hearings

Langston Hughes, The Negro Speaks of Rivers

An Introduction to His Work

Langston Hughes, I, Too


Langston Hughes, Negro

Langston Hughes, Danse Africaine

Langston Hughes, Jazzonia

Langston Hughes, Dream Variations

Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues

Langston Hughes, Cross

Langston Hughes, Formula
Langston Hughes, Esthete in Harlem

Langston Hughes, Lenox Avenue: Midnight

Langston Hughes, Song for a Dark Girl

Langston Hughes, Red Silk Stockings

Langston Hughes, Rent-Party Shout: For a Lady Dancer
Langston Hughes, Ballad of the Landlord

*Langston Hughes, Ku Klux

*Langston Hughes, 50-50

*Langston Hughes, Harlem Sweeties
Langston Hughes, 125th Street

Langston Hughes, Dream Boogie
Langston Hughes, Harlem

*Langston Hughes, Motto

Langston Hughes, Un-American Investigators

Langston Hughes, Old Walt

Facsimile: manuscript page of "Old Walt"

*Langston Hughes, High to Low

Langston Hughes, Dinner Guest: Me

Langston Hughes, Frederick Douglass: 1817–1895

Perspectives on Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes, On Harlem Rent Parties

James E. Emanuel, Hughes’s Attitudes toward Religion

Richard K. Barksdale, On Censoring "Ballad of the Landlord"
Karen Jackson Ford, Hughes’ Aesthetics of Simplicity

David Chinitz, The Romanticization of Africa in the 1920s

Two Complementary Critical Readings
David Rampersad, On the Persona in "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"
Adrian Oktenberg, Memory in "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"

Suggested Topics for Longer Papers
* 15. A Study of Billy Collins: The Author Reflects on Five Poems

Photo: Billy Collins

A Brief Biography and Overview of Collins’s Work

Photo: Billy Collins, first day as a student at St. Joan of Arc School

Photo: Billy Collins, first day as a student at College of the Holy Cross

Photo: Billy Collins, yearbook photo

Photo: Billy Collins, with cigarette

Photo: Billy Collins, with dog

Photo: Billy Collins in his office

A Chronology

Book Cover: Questions About Angels

Book Cover: The Art of Drowning

Book Cover: Nine Horses

Book Cover: The Trouble with Poetry

"How Do Poems Travel?": An Introduction by Billy Collins

Billy Collins, Osso Buco

Billy Collins, On Writing "Osso Buco"

Billy Collins, Nostalgia

Billy Collins, On Writing "Nostalgia"

Billy Collins, Questions About Angels

Billy Collins, On Writing "Questions About Angels"

Billy Collins, Litany

Billy Collins, On Writing "Litany"

Billy Collins, Building with Its Face Blown Off

Perspective: On "Building with Its Face Blown Off": Michael Meyer Interviews Billy Collins

Facsimiles: Three Manuscript Pages

Photo: Billy Collins Action Poetry Web site

Photo: Poetry 180 Web site

16. A Study of Julia Alvarez: The Author Reflects on Five Poems
Photo: Julia Alvarez

A Brief Biography

Book Cover: A Cafecito Story

Photo: Julia Alvarez and students at Alta Gracia

An Introduction to Her Work

Julia Alvarez, On Writing "Queens, 1963"
Passport Photo: Julia Alvarez, age 10

Julia Alvarez, Queens, 1963

photo: Queens Civil Rights Demonstration, 1963
perspective: Marny Requa, From an Interview with Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez, On Writing "Housekeeping Cages" and Her Housekeeping Poems

Julia Alvarez, Housekeeping Cages

Julia Alvarez, On Writing "Dusting"
Julia Alvarez, Dusting
Julia Alvarez, On Writing "Ironing Their Clothes"
Julia Alvarez, Ironing Their Clothes

Julia Alvarez, On Writing "Sometimes the Words Are So Close" (From the "33" Sonnet Sequence)

Julia Alvarez, Sometimes the Words Are So Close

Drafts of "Sometimes the Words Are So Close": A Poet’s Writing Process

Facsimiles: Four Draft Manuscript Pages

Photo: Library Way Bronze Plaque of "Sometimes the Words Are So Close"
Julia Alvarez, On Writing "First Muse"

Julia Alvarez, First Muse

Image: Chiquita Banana
perspective: Kelli Lyon Johnson, Mapping an Identity

17. A Critical Case Study: T. S. Eliot’s "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Photo: T.S. Eliot, age 18

A Brief Biography

Painting: T.S. Eliot, by Wyndham Lewis

Photo: T.S. Eliot as Prufrock

T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Perspectives on T. S. Eliot

Elisabeth Schneider, Hints of Eliot in Prufrock

Barbara Everett, The Problem of Tone in Prufrock

Michael L. Baumann, The "Overwhelming Question" for Prufrock

Frederik L. Rusch, Society and Character in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Robert Sward, A Personal Analysis of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Suggested Topics for Longer Papers

18. A Thematic Case Study: Love and Longing

Christopher Marlowe, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

William Shakespeare, Not marble, nor the gilded monuments

Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear and Loving Husband

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Recuerdo

E. E. Cummings, since feeling is first

Mark Doty, The Embrace

Joan Murray, Play by Play

Billie Bolton, Memorandum
Michael Ryan, Bunny

19. A Thematic Case Study: Humor and Satire

Fleur Adcock, The Video
John Ciardi, Suburban
Daisy Fried, Wit’s End
Ronald Wallace, In a Rut
Howard Nemerov, Walking the Dog
Linda Pastan, Jump Cabling

Peter Schmitt, Friends with Numbers
Martín Espada, The Community College Revises its Curriculum in Response to
Changing Demographics

*Denise Duhamel, Language Police Report
M. Carl Holman, Mr. Z
Gary Soto, Mexicans Begin Jogging
Bob Hicok, Spam Leaves an Aftertaste

Thomas Lux, Commercial Leech Farming Today

*Lee Upton, Dyserotica

Anthony Hecht, The Dover Bitch
*X.J. Kennedy, On a Young Man’s Remaining an Undergraduate for Twelve Years

20. A Thematic Case Study: Milestones

*Allen Braden, Sweethearts

*Baron Wormser, Shoplifting

*Jan Beatty, My Father Teaches Me To Dream

*Marilyn Nelson, How I Discovered Poetry

*Charles Simic, In the Library

*Trevor West Knapp, Touch

Sharon Olds, Rite of Passage

*Sandra M. Gilbert, How We Didn’t Tell Her

*Anne Carson, Father’s Old Blue Cardigan

*Barbara Crooker, Listening to Her Practice: My Middle Daughter, on the Edge of Adolescence, Learns to Play the Saxophone

Luisa Lopez, Junior Year Abroad

Yusef Komunyakaa, Slam, Dunk, & Hook

Suggested Topics for Longer Papers

21. A Thematic Case Study: Crossing Boundaries
Transcendence and Borders

Phillis Wheatley, On Being Brought from Africa to America

Diagram: An 18th Century Slave Ship
Advertisement: A 1784 Slave Auction Poster

Identity and Borders

Pat Mora, Legal Alien

Image: Jacalyn López Garcia, I Just Wanted to be Me

Immigration and Borders
Sandra M. Gilbert, Mafioso
photo: Baggage Examined Here, Ellis Island

Expectations and Borders

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Indian Movie, New Jersey
Soundtrack cover: Rawal Films, Ladki Pasano Hai (I Like this Girl)

Beauty and Borders

Janice Mirikitani, Recipe

photo: Chiaki Tsukumo, Girl and Licca Doll

Freedom and Borders

Thomas Lynch, Liberty
photo: Alex MacLean, Somerville, Massachusetts

Suggested Topics for Longer Papers

22. A Thematic Case Study: Confronting the Environment

*Tom Disch, Birdsong Interpreted

*Jane Hirschfield, Happiness

*Leslie Marmon Silko, Love Poem

*Margaret Atwood, A Holiday

*Maxine Kumin, Though He Tarry

*Gail White, Dead Armadillos

*Dave Lucas, November

*Walt McDonald, Coming Across It

Alden Nowan, The Bull Moose

*Robert B. Shaw, Wild Turkeys

*Edward Hirsch, First Snowfall: Intimations

*Paul Zimmer, What I Know about Owls

Suggested Topics for Longer Papers


23. An Album of Contemporary Poems

Michelle Boisseau, Self-Pity’s Closet

*Eamon Grennan, Herringbone

*Mary Stewart Hammond, High Ground

Tony Hoagland, America
Rachel Loden, Locked Ward, Newtown, Connecticut

Susan Minot, My Husband’s Back

Robert Morgan, Fever Wit
Alberto Ríos, The Gathering Evening

Cathy Song, A Poet in the House

*C.K. Williams, The United States

24. An Album of World Literature
Anna Akhmatova (Russia), Lot’s Wife

Claribel Alegría (El Salvador), I Am Mirror

Yehuda Amichai (Israel), Jerusalem, 1985

*Fazil Hüsnü Daglarca (Turkey), Dead
Mahmoud Darwish (Palestine) Identity Card

*Marne L. Kilates (Philippines), Python in the Mall

Taslima Nasrin (Bangladesh), At the Back of Progress
Pablo Neruda (Chile), The United Fruit Co.

Octavio Paz (Mexico), The Street

Yousif al-Sa’igh (Iraq), An Iraqi Evening

Shu Ting (China), O Motherland, Dear Motherland

Tomas Tranströmer (Sweden), April and Silence

25. A Collection of Poems

Anonymous, Bonny Barbara Allan

*Craig Arnold, Uncouplings

William Blake, The Garden of Love

William Blake, Infant Sorrow

Anne Bradstreet, Before the Birth of One of Her Children

*Elizabeth Barrett Browning, When Our Two Souls Stand Up Erect and Strong

Robert Browning, Meeting at Night

Robert Browning, Parting at Morning

Robert Burns, A Red, Red Rose

George Gordon, Lord Byron, She Walks in Beauty

Lucille Clifton, this morning (for the girls of eastern high school)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan: or, a Vision in a Dream

*Wyn Cooper, Puritan Impulse

E. E. Cummings, Buffalo Bill ’s

John Donne, The Apparition

John Donne, The Flea

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), In a London Drawingroom

*Debra Garrison, Unbidden Sonnet with Evergreen

*Katie Ford, Ark

*Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Queer People

Thomas Hardy, Hap

Thomas Hardy, In Time of "The Breaking of Nations"
Frances E. W. Harper, Learning to Read

George Herbert, The Collar
Gerard Manley Hopkins, Hurrahing in Harvest

Gerard Manley Hopkins, Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Windhover

A. E. Houseman, Is my team ploughing

A. E. Houseman, To an Athlete Dying Young

Julia Ward Howe, Battle-Hymn of the Republic

*Andrew Hudgins, The Cadillac in the Attic

Ben Jonson, On My First Son

Ben Jonson, To Celia

John Keats, To One Who has been Long in City Pent

John Keats, When I have fears that I may cease to be

John Keats, La Belle Dame sans Merci

*John Keats, Written in Disgust of Vulgar Superstition

Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus

*Phillis Levin, May Day

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Snow-Flakes

John Milton, On the Late Massacre in Piedmont

John Milton, When I consider how my light is spent

Sir Walter Raleigh, The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd
Christina Georgina Rossetti, Some Ladies Dress in Muslin Full and White

Christina Georgina Rossetti, In Progress
Christina Georgina Rossetti, The World

Christina Georgina Rossetti, Promises Like Pie-Crust

*Sigfried Sassoon, They

William Shakespeare, That time of year thou mayst in me behold

William Shakespeare, When forty winters shall besiege thy brow

William Shakespeare, When, in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes

Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

Sir Philip Sidney, Loving in Truth, and Fain in Verse My Love to Show

Lydia Huntley Sigourney, Indian Names
Wallace Stevens, The Emperor of Ice-Cream

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ulysses

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Tears, Idle Tears
Richard Wakefield, In a Poetry Workshop

Walt Whitman, I Heard You Solemn-Sweet Pipes of the Organ

Walt Whitman, When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

Walt Whitman, One’s-Self I Sing

Miller Williams, Thinking about Bill, Dead of AIDS

William Carlos Williams, Spring and All

William Carlos Williams, This Is Just to Say

William Wordsworth, A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal

William Wordsworth, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
William Wordsworth, It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free

William Wordsworth, The Solitary Reaper

William Wordsworth, Mutability

William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

William Butler Yeats, Leda and the Swan

William Butler Yeats, Sailing to Byzantium

William Butler Yeats, Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop


26. Critical Strategies for Reading
Critical Thinking

The Literary Canon: Diversity and Controversy

Formalist Strategies

Biographical Strategies

Psychological Strategies

Historical Strategies

Literary History Criticism

Marxist Criticism

New Historicist Criticism

Cultural Criticism

Gender Strategies

Feminist Criticism

Gay and Lesbian Criticism

Mythological Strategies

Reader-Response Strategies

Deconstructionist Strategies

27. Reading and the Writing Process
The Purpose and Value of Writing about Literature

Reading the Work Closely

Annotating the Text and Journal Note-Taking
Choosing a Topic

Developing a Thesis

Arguing about Literature

Organizing a Paper

Writing a Draft

Writing the Introduction and Conclusion

Using Quotations

Revising and Editing
Questions for Revising and Editing

Manuscript Form

Types of Writing Assignments

A SAMPLE EXPLICATION: A Reading of Dickinson’s "There’s a certain Slant of light"

Emily Dickinson, There’s a certain Slant of light 634

A SAMPLE ANALYSIS: Disembodied Images in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Comparison and Contrast
A SAMPLE COMPARISON: Andrew Marvell and Sharon Olds Seize the


28. The Literary Research Paper
Writing a Literary Research Paper

Choosing a Topic

Finding Sources

Annotated List of References

Electronic Sources
Evaluating Sources and Taking Notes

Developing a Thesis and Organizing the Paper


Documenting Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

A SAMPLE RESEARCH PAPER: Individuality and Community in Frost’s "Mowing" and "Mending Wall"

29. Taking Essay Examinations
Preparing for an Essay Exam

Keep Up with the Reading

Take Notes and Annotate the Text

Anticipate Questions

Types of Exams

Closed-Book versus Open-Book Exams

Essay Questions

Strategies for Writing Essay Exams


Glossary of Literary Terms

Index of First Lines

Index of Authors and Titles

Index of Terms

Resources for Reading and Writing about Poetry

*new to this edition

Rewards Program

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