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Literature & Language
English (U.S.)
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Close Reading: Ryan Declan, A Unique Style of Writing Poems (Essay Sample)


For extra credit in this class you may write a short paper (approximately 500-750 words or 2-3 typed pages) according to the guidelines below. You must follow the instructions below EXACTLY--essays which fail to do so will receive a zero.
This paper must be a close reading of one poem taken from a PRINTED journal or magazine published THIS YEAR OR LAST YEAR (dated 2014 or 2015—NO ONLINE MAGAZINES (you MUST include a photocopy of the poem and of the journal cover or copyright page with the name of the magazine/journal and the date it was published). Some examples of journals/magazines you may use include Poetry, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, The Texas Review, and New Letters. The Texas State University literary magazine Personna IS NOT acceptable. All of these magazines and many others may be found in the open stacks on the third floor of the Alkek Library. Ask a librarian if you are unsure. 
For the purposes of this paper, a “close reading” is a more-or-less line-by-line explanation of what you perceive to be the meaning, significance, and intent of the poem. You should support your explanation by specific reference to the individual lines, words, and images in the poem. It must be a complete essay, with an opening and closing, and arranged into paragraphs. It will be graded according to four criteria: insight, thoroughness, effort, and clarity. The first two are self-explanatory; effort is how much evidence the paper shows of investment of time and thought, and clarity encompasses accuracy of thought and the grammatical and syntactical cleanness of the prose. Hint: picking a short, simple, obvious poem will handicap you, because it will suggest that you weren’t trying very hard.


Close Reading
Ryan Declan employs a unique style of writing in his poems. In most of his poems, he provides the reader with the chance to synthesize the meaning of the work upon the first time of reading. The poem then retains the same meaning upon the second and subsequent readings. In other terms, Declan pioneers for live poetry, or that form of poetry that in some way, ‘fights back.' He combines this with a lyrical touch which makes the poem more memorable and artistic. In the poem Rope-a-Dope, he assumes similar, typical approach of Ryan Declan. The poem generally talks about the much-publicized heavyweight boxing duel between the legendary Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. This is arguably the greatest fight in history.
At the beginning of the poem, there is some transition from a moment of utter boredom to some excitement. The first line, "Nothing for days, then a message…;The persona in some way is trying to imply that the poem ,or the fight between these two men, as highlighted by the second line "I want to see a fight," is the silver lining of excitement that would save people from the prevailing boredom. The conversational nature of the first three lines of this poem is also a highlight of its ability to be read ou...
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