essay writing 117

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 best—

throwing off the light covers,

feet on the cold floor,

and buzzing around the house on espresso—

maybe a splash of water on the face,

a palmful of vitamins—

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 windows—

trees fifty, a hundred years old

out there,

heavy clouds on the way

and the lawn steaming like a horse

in the early morning.

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