Sunday, February 11, 2018

Peer editing questions

Use these questions to guide you in responding to your peer's explication. Be sure to write a specific answer to each at the end of their draft, in addition to making marginal and in-text comments. Ask for a piece of scratch paper if there's not room at the end of or on the back of the draft for your feedback.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Metaphysical poets and their conceits

The Metaphysical poets were a loose group of British lyric poets spanning the 17th century, whose poems are marked by extreme and at times strange metaphors and subtle but often deliberately outrageous logic; Their poems are often organized in the form of an urgent or heated argument. (The category included John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, and other lesser-known poets. These poets were not formally affiliated; The term “metaphysical poets” was applied to them by Samuel Johnson, and taken up by later critics.)

A conceit is a figure of speech, usually a simile or metaphor, that forms an extremely ingenious or fanciful parallel between particularly dissimilar or incongruous objects or situations.

Samuel Johnson describes the metaphysical conceit as “a discovery of occult resemblances in things apparently unlike ... the most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together.”

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Mutability: Literally, mutability means, simply, change. But poets over the centuries have used the word to grapple with the more complex reality/crisis of human physical and mental change over time––decline and eventual death and decay––and the more general problem that, simply put, good things can’t last forever. Poets struggle with this issue throughout the centuries. (Mutability is related to mortality, but focused as well on the decline of the living person as well as their eventual death…)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Explication-related homework

  • Spend 10-15 minutes developing a theory of what the extended metaphor in "This Is a Wonderful Poem" by David Wagoner is––what does the “it” represent, and what point might the poem be making about it?
  • Spend 15 minutes looking at your explication poem, reading it over, taking notes on it, making observations about it.