How to Write the Poetry Essay Tips from: 5 Steps to a 5 : AP Literature Working the Prompt: 1-3 Minutes • Carefully read the question to digest what it is asking you to do. • WHY? A. You will read in a more directed manner B. Once you internalize the question, you will be sensitive to the details that will apply C. Once you know what has to be addressed, you can write an essay that STICKS TO THE TOPIC The Prompt • “such as” = you do not have to use only those ideas; you may use your own selection as well • Notice if the prompt requires more than one technique A. If so, ONE WILL NOT BE ENOUGH YOU HAVE 2 MINUTES. Reading the poem: 3 minutes YOU HAVE 3 MINUTES Preparing to write: 8 minutes • Use highlighting, arrows, circles, underlining, notes, numbers, and whatever you need to make the connections clear • Ignore what you don’t immediately understand • Concentrate on the parts you marked that could address the prompt • Remember you are not supposed to be exhaustive! • NEVER SKIP THIS STEP. IT IS THE KEY TO THE HIGH SCORE ESSAY. Review the prompt: 2 minutes • When you look at your notes, categories should pop out at you • Contrasts, Shifts, Figurative language, Imagery, Structure, etc. • ONLY LOOK AT WHAT APPLIES TO THE PROMPT! • Decide which categories apply to the prompt • If you expand the techniques/devices in each of the categories into interpretive statements and SUPPORT those with details you isolate from the poem, YOU WILL BE WRITING A WELL-DEFENDED ESSAY Introduction: 5 minutes • Introduction sets the tone for your essay and raises the expectations of the reader • Be certain your topic is very clear. • Identify both the text and poet in this first paragraph. • YOU HAVE 5 MINUTES. Introduction: Double check 1. Have you included the poet and the title? 2. Have you addressed the elements from the prompt? 3. Have you specifically mentioned the techniques/devices you will address? 4. DO NOT ADDRESS THE READER DIRECTLY!!! (don’t say you are writing an essay, don’t use the words “you” or ‘”I”) Body paragraphs: 15-20 minutes 1. Present your interpretation and the points you wish to make that are related to the prompt 2. Use specific references and details from the poem A. Refer directly to the original; don’t always paraphrase B. Use quotation marks Body paragraphs: 15-20 minutes 3. Use “connective tissue” to establish adherence to the question A. Use the repetition of key ideas from your opening paragraph B. Use “echo words” (i.e. synonyms such as insight can be inference/observation/perception; fear can be apprehension/insecurity) C. Use transitions! YOU HAVE 20 MINUTES. Conclusion: 1 minute • Does not have to be a paragraph • It can be a final remark, observation, or reference • It may only be a sentence or two • You have ONE minute.