Poetry essay: The Painter by John Ashberry

In this unit, we have looked at poems “in conversation with” paintings. Sometimes, the poem has been written about the painting, interpreting it or building on it, and sometimes the painting has been paired with an existing poem to comment on the tone, mood or theme of the written work.In Essay 2, you will examine the relationship between words and images, keeping in mind the idea of close reading and identifying poetic devices as well as the tips on “How to Analyze Visual Art,” both denotatively (defining what you see) and connotatively (interpreting what you see).Part 1: By now you have chosen a poem from The Seagull Reader: Poems that we have not read as a class. Read, reread, paraphrase, and analyze that poem. Use the “free-write questions” to help guide your thinking. Finally, assert an argument in which you interpret the poem. What is the poet specifically saying beyond the literal about…life, human nature, art, love, sexual desire, aging, childhood, loneliness, family, death, or any other topic? Support your argument by showing how the poet creates that meaning through the use of various poetic devices. Feel free to bring in your own personal experience of the topic if it’s relevant.These are some of the poetic devices and elements you should draw on for your analysis:Diction and toneImages (appeals to the five senses)Figures of speechSymbolsSound and rhymeRhythm and meterForm (the shape of the poem on the page: number of lines, short/long lines, number of stanzas, significant enjambment; line breaks, punctuation, capitalization, etc)SpeakerSetting and situationPersonificationAllusionsMetonymy, synecdocheParadoxMetaphors; similes; allegoryNarrativeAlliteration; consonance; assonanceIronyHyperbole or understatementMotifParallelismSynesthesiaIn all cases, use quotations from the poem to support your analysis.As a supplement to our class discussions, you’ll find the introduction in the Seagull: Poems text very helpful: “How Do You Read Poems?” and “How Do You Write about Poems?”Your completed essay should be roughly 1,500 words, and it should use proper MLA form for citations and a Works Cited page. The MLA forms specific to poetry are listed on “MLA citations for poetry how-to sheet,” which will be posted on Canvas. Use this to guide you in accurately citing the poems you quote.Part 2: Find OR create an image (photo, painting, meme, gif, short video, collage, etc.) that you think reflects the meaning and spirit of your chosen poem as you interpret it. The visual image does not need to illustrate the details of the poem in any specific way – indeed, avoid an image that just literally mirrors the poem, such as a photograph of a fish for “The Fish.” Rather, the image should be “in conversation with” the poem, commenting on some part of its feel, or tone, or essential meaning to you. Use the guided free-write questions to stimulate and gather your thoughts about the image and its relationship to the poem. Anything goes as long as you can……make a reasonable and persuasive argument for the pairing! To that end, write a “process narrative” (500 words) explaining why you chose this image, and in what specific ways it reflects or comments on your poem. What, specifically, does the poem bring out about the image, and how does the image illuminate the poem? What new meaning or emphasis is created by this combination that would not be apparent if one looked at the poem and image separately? In what ways do the image and poem diverge?

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