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Poetry: Home

A supplementary guide to English 1302 for the Critical Analysis Assignment.

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Introduction to the Assignment

The assignment will consist of two parts: a biography of the poet you choose, and a critical analysis of one poem written by the poet.

To begin the assignment, conduct a preliminary search using the following databases to verify there is enough material/content available to complete the critical analysis for your research paper:  Scribner Writers, Twayne's Author Series, or Bloom's Literary Criticism.


To complete the biography section of the paper, use the following databases: Credo Reference, Contemporary Authors, Dictionary of Contemporary Authors, or Academic Search Complete.


Additional resources can be found on the Articles/Database page in this guide.

Basic Writing Tips

1. Read the assignment very carefully.  Look for specific keywords such as describe, analyze, compare or contrast. What resources (books, online databases, journals, newspapers) are you allowed to use?  These specifics will help to direct your research.  If you're still not sure, talk to your professor.  

2. Select your topic.  Decide on a topic and begin gathering supporting material. A search of the library's databases and online catalog is a good first step that will give you an idea of the published research that is available to support your topic. Gathering information can be time consuming, so don't delay!  

3. Begin writing your draft copy.  Determine your thesis statement, the main point of your paper. To help you organize your thoughts, create an outline of points that you wish to make about your topic.  Write down your own thoughts and list questions that you want to address from your research.

4. Don't plagiarize!  Write the paper in your own words.  When quoting others, be sure to attribute that work to them.  

5. Refine your paper.  Does your paper have a clear thesis statement?  Have you included enough supporting information?  Are your points clearly stated?  Do the ideas and paragraphs transition well throughout the paper?

6. Proofread your paper.  Check for misspelled words and grammatical errors.  Have you followed your instructor's specific formatting requirements?  Finally, you might ask someone that you know (friend, parent, teacher) to look over the paper for you.  


Leif Pierson's picture
Leif Pierson