Choose ONE of the following questions to answer in a short (2 pages, double-spaced) essay:
1) Choose a poem from the assigned reading in which a single word seems to be especially crucial. Write an essay that works out carefully why and how that word is important to that poem.
2) Choose a poem from the assigned reading in which syntax (the order of words in a sentence) or the placement of words on the page seems especially key to the poem’s overall effect and meaning. Write an essay explaining how and why considering word order, in either or both of these senses, might change or deepen a reader’s understanding of the poem.
The poem i choose is
by Billy Collins
Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,
then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?
This is the bestâ€”
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espressoâ€”
maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitaminsâ€”
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,
dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,
and, if necessary, the windowsâ€”
trees fifty, a hundred years old
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.