Northern Elements to Interpret Write Poem & My Papa Waltz Poem Analysis

Two Part Questions

3.4 Discuss – Elements to Interpret/Write a Poem

The purpose of this activity is to understand the meaning of, and be able to find, the elements that poets use in their craft. This will equip you as an essay writer to provide evidence for a poem’s analysis, draw conclusions about a poem’s meanings, and work with the New Critical Literary Approach to poetry.


  • Watch a wonderful video on metaphor, a great tool in poetry:
  • Read the following two links about the New Critical Approach to poetry, an interpretative approach that relies heavily on the Drag on Drop literary terms practiced in this activity.
  • Review the following webpage that looks at the Elements of Poetry:
  • Choose a poetry term, for example metaphor, and click on it.
    • Read the definition that appears on the page for the poetry term.
    • Click on the link at the bottom of the page which says, for example, “Go to metaphor exercise.”
    • Familiarize yourself with the meaning of the poetry term.
    • Answer the exercise questions in the boxes (optional).
  • Write the following:
    • Your own definition of five of these elements by paraphrasing the website’s definitions and using examples from the exercises you read about it.
  • Provide, under each of your five definitions, one example from a poem the term is linked to. The link to a poem is found right below the exercise for that element. Follow this example using the word “Metaphor:”
    • A metaphor compares two very different objects that have something in common. “The fog comes on little cat feet…” is an example that compares fog to cat’s feet. Although both are very different objects, what they have in common is the quiet, light, and even surprising way they enter any space.
  • Add the terms repetition and opposition (now you have seven terms): Define each and copy and paste one example found in the poems referenced in this link or the poetry in the video on metaphor.
  • Post your reply to the discussion board as a list of seven definitions and examples.

3.5 Post – Analysis Essay on a Poem

The purpose of this activity is to prepare you, by looking at a model essay, to write an analysis essay outline with an argumentative thesis on a poem using the techniques of a New Critic.


  • Read the following:
  • Write a response to each of the following prompts about this essay, creating four separate sections:
    • Write the author’s argumentative thesis statement from this essay. What overall argument about the poem is the author making throughout this essay?
    • List the literary elements of a Close Reading that the author of the essay uses to support his thesis. If you need to review these, see the second link (“New Critical Approach”) in Step 3 of Assignment 3.4
    • Write the central “main idea” or “topic sentence” the author uses to support the thesis in each of the three paragraphs.
    • Copy and paste the sentence that you think is the conclusion.
    • MLA 8 Format: A Works Cited entry is not required for this assignment, and in the place of in text citations, refer to the origin of the quote as the “author.”
  • Postyour reply and answers to the discussion board.
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