Imagery in poetry “an album of world literature” from “the Bedford Introduction to Literature”


Literature & Composition, Essay 2 Topics


To write an essay that analyzes the use of imagery in poems by one of the poets from the chapter “An Album of World Literature” from The Bedford Introduction to Literature (pgs. 1325-1338).

To do outside research to find 2 more poems that complement the poem by your chosen poet from “An Album of World Literature.”

Essay needs to consider the poem in the anthology + 2 other poems written by that same poet that you discover in your research (depending on length, it might be enough to write about 1 other poem in addition to the poem in our book… I leave this decision up to you; essay should be 6-8 pages.)

Your argument must be supported with significant textual evidence from the poem; in other words, your close reading notes and explications need to be used for support.

In the process of writing and researching this essay, you will have the opportunity to read a diverse collection of poets. You have twelve poets (& twelve countries) to choose from: Anna Akhmatova, Claribel Alegría, Yehuda Amichai, Fazil Hüsnü Daglarca, Kishwar Naheed, Marne L. Kilates, Taslima Nasrin, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, Yousif al-Sa’igh, Shu Ting, Tomas Tranströmer.


The essay should present a focused argument about the use of imagery (you should be analyzing the use of concrete images—things that you can see, hear, taste, smell, touch—examples: rocks, doors, the sun, red flowers, a goose, a python, a bed, water…[not liberty, love, justice—these are abstract images ] see pg. 841 for review). To begin, you will need to explore the poems available online. Read the poems multiple times, take notes on the images in the poems: why and how are they significant? How does the poet use them; do images recur? This is a broad topic, and it is important that you eventually focus your argument on something that you have discovered in your exploration of the poems: the essay needs to go beyond merely pointing out that certain images appear in the poems to consider how the images are used and to what effect. The poems should also complement each other in supporting your argument—don’t pick poems that you have difficulty pulling together in a focused argument about imagery.

You might find that it is insightful to know some of the biographical details about the poet’s life, and this might inform your argument about the imagery. However: at least 3/4 of the essay should consist of explication “close readings” of the poems and discussion of the imagery. You are not writing an encyclopedia entry of facts about the poet’s life. You are analyzing an aspect of the imagery.

Your argument needs to be focused: for instance, to argue that a poet has experienced war and writes about war is not enough of an argument. You could, however, focus on that writer’s use of a certain set of images (maybe they are used metaphorically), and discuss what that reveals about his or her experience. Perhaps the writer explores certain scenes and settings, or an emotional state, and these things are made vivid and meaningful with the writer’s use of specific images.

Research will involve: finding poems to discuss in addition to the poem in our anthology; reading biographical material and interviews if you can find them. You may need to read a number of poems before you find the right ones to help support your argument. If you do not find enough information to satisfy what you think you need for a strong argument, you may need to focus on a different poet—this is all part of the research process for this essay…

Peer Review:

You will submitting a polished draft of this essay for peer review.

Please read “Directions for Submitting Essay for Peer Review and Completing Peer Review” within this Module.

Length: 6-8 pages, double-spaced, saved in a Word docx format.

Submitting Final Draft submit your final draft of the essay to the instructor through Messages, attach the essay as a Word docx. At the end of your essay (after the Works Cited) paste copies of the poems not in the book, and copies of sources that you used for your essay.


Please use MLA style format for documentation: including in-text citations and the Works Cited page. A link to MLA guidelines can be found in Unit 1 Fiction, Module 4. Be sure you understand the right format for quoting poetry.

Your grade will be lowered if you do not correctly acknowledge your sources using MLA style.

Using Outside Research Sources:

When you are using outside sources, be sure to evaluate their worthiness; use the most reliable sources for a strong essay..

For websites and print sources, consider:

1). Authorship: is there an author? Check the homepage of websites to find out more info. If there is no author, make sure the source is a reputable, academic source. Wikipedia is not a reliable academic source and should not be cited (people can make changes on this site before they are checked for accuracy).

2). Sponsorship: if a website, who, if anyone, sponsors it? Check the domain name: commercial .com, educational .edu,   nonprofit   .org,     network   .net. If a book, who published it?

For this assignment, educational and organizational (edu and org) websites will be most appropriate. An online search might send you to an actual book under Google books.

3). Purpose and audience. If a website, why was it created? If the website was made to pass essays on to college students, stay away from it! Make sure the purpose is legitimate, and not biased. Avoid sparknotes,,, essays for, 123 helpme,, etc.

Feel free to use the library! Libraries have a wealth of information on hand.

Completing the Assignment:

For a complete assignment, you must submit the following (points will be deducted for missing materials):

1). Copy of your essay using MLA style documentation (includes in-text citations and a Works Cited). Essay must be saved in a Word docx format.

Include with your final draft of essay the following:

2). Copied sources that you referred to in your essay. Please copy and paste the information that you used into a Word document to attach at the end of the essay. If you used biographical material, or commentary on the poet from you research, you need to include these at the end of the essay so that I can read your sources.

3). Copies of the poems that you discuss in your essay. Copy these and attach them at the end of the essay.

(Messages on Sakai will only allow you to attach one document to a Message. So, copy and paste the supporting documents—2. And 3. described above at the end of the essay.)

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