Poetry Essay Writing 101 (for Ap Literature & Composition Ap Exam)

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What is the purpose of the Poetry Essay? The College Board wants to determine your facility in reading and interpreting a sustained piece of literature. You are required to understand the text and to analyze those techniques and devices the poet uses to achieve his or her purpose. There are various types of prompts and questions asked in this section of the exam. For example, -How does the language of the poem reflect the speaker’s perceptions, and how does that language determine the reader’s perception? -Discuss how poetic elements, such as language, structure, imagery, and point of view, convey meaning in a poem. -How does the poet reveal character? (i.e., diction, sound devices, imagery, allusion) -Discuss the similarities and differences between two poems. Consider style and theme. You should also time and plan out the essay. Timing is crucial. 1-3 minutes reading and working the prompt. The quality of your essay depends on correctly addressing the prompt. Once you analyze the prompt and know what is expected, you will be able to read in a more direct manner and pay attention to details. Once you know the facts you can write a complete essay that demonstrates adherence to the topic. 5 minutes reading and making marginal notes about the poem. There are two ways to read and annotate the poem. Choice one is to read quickly to get the gist of the poem and then reread using the highlighting and marginal notes. Choice two is to read slowly, as if speaking aloud and then reread to confirm that you understand the full impact of the poem. Try to isolate two references that strike you and this can be your opening and closing. Your opening sets the tone of your essay and possibly raises the expectation of the reader, spending time on this paragraph can maximize your score. To show that you fully understand what is expected of you make your topic very clear.

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