Poetry Assignment 2

Due Wednesday, October 18

Typed, printed out, and stapled. Do not forget to type the interpretation of your poem.

This assignment has two parts. The first part is a poem of between 100 and 150 words. The second part is two (or more) paragraphs that interpret the poem. Your interpretation must follow the guidelines below. Type your poem and interpretation and hand it in during class on October 18.

For this assignment you will hopefully write a poem that will develop your thoughts about class difference. You have a great deal of freedom in choosing what exactly happens in your poem, but make sure that you have concrete imagery and action by specific people you can picture in specific situations. Your interpretation will hopefully become a part of the longer analytical essay that you will turn in with your third poem.

In this poem it will be very important for you to mention specific objects and activities. The more specific the object or the activity, and the more specific the relationships between characters in the poem, the easier it will be to analyze the poem with regard to class difference. For example, the word shirt does not have a clear class (or gender) marking. However, a modifier for the word (such as the name of the fashion design house, the material, or the amount of wear and tear on the shirt) could indicate the wearer's class position. Likewise, riding in a car with someone does not have a clear class marker. If someone is paid to drive the car there might be a class difference between the driver and passenger. Furthermore, the act of driving a car for a romantic partner might be at the intersection of class, gender, and sexuality.

With regard to form, there are four guidelines in addition to the guidelines from Poem 1. First, be intentional in your use of line breaks (verse). Second, the first line of your poem should contain an image or use the same words as a line from the Poem 1 of one of your group members. Each group should select one line or image from a group member's poem, and everyone in the group should begin their second poem with the line or image. Hopefully your group has selected a line or image that mentions a specific object or activity. That line or image should become the starting point for your own poem. 

Your poem should develop what your group's line or image means to you and how it has been significant in situations that you have experienced. Here are the lines/images for each group:

  • Smelly Toes: Boring sunny day
  • CDC: I watch the sunshine alone through the window
  • WHXJX: My friend asked me to pay all of us
  • Higher Sisters: Since we are in totally different family
  • ID 17: The narrow road full of mud and dirt with chicken and cows on the road
  • Generic: You have no idea how it feels
  • Shady Umbrella: The sound of footsteps can be heard early in the morning
  • Fab Five: It knows no boundaries
  • Lancer HGXZ: The sun light was rarely coming
  • 6 Flags: What she called home, we called a garage sale

Third, pay attention to the way your poem sounds. Read your poem out loud, and make adjustments so that the poem sounds the way you want it to sound. It should be as easy as possible for you to recite your poem.

Fourth, aim to make your poem as concentrated as possible with nouns and verbs. Avoid function words (especially relative pronouns such as which and that).


Your interpretation should consist of two parts. In the first part, describe the process that you used to write your first poem, and then describe the process you used to write your second poem. You might need more than one paragraph to describe your writing processes. Make sure that your discussion identifies the line that you borrowed from your group member and the group member. Your discussion should state how you used line breaks, how you cut out unnecessary words, and your strategy (or strategies) for orienting your reader by identifying relationships between characters and marking times and locations. You might also consider other aspects of your writing, such as differences in tone or in the use of images, feedback you received from friends, or your intended audience and the effect that you want to have on your audience.

In the second part, restate what the poem says and give any information that you believe is necessary for interpreting the poem. It would be appropriate for you to discuss how your poem signals class difference. The second part should consist of only one paragraph. Note, however, that your poem should be able to stand on its own without the interpretation.
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