Poetry Essay


An Important Note:

Your essay grade can drop dramatically if you:

  • Write about topics other than the assigned topic or about the topic of the sample essay.
  • Do not satisfy the minimum page requirement or exceed the maximum page requirement.
  • Have missing MLA in-text citations and/or parenthetical references.
  • Have missing MLA works cited entries.
  • Do not use all or some of the required sources.

Getting Started:

  • Use Google to identify poems and songs written about similar types of relationships.  Type  “a list of _____ poems” and “a list of _____ songs,” inserting the  adjectives that describe the type of relationship for which you are  seeking information (“true love,” for example).
  • Review the search lists to identify credible sources, such as websites, for you to use.
  • Access the credible sources for  information about the poems and songs.  This information can guide your  work, such as the narrowing of a topic, generation of search phrases,  etc.

Assigned Topic:

You are selecting a poem which appears  in the textbook and a song—a current hit song, one to which your  grandparents listened while they were courting, a Broadway show tune,  etc.  Additionally, you are selecting a song and a poem in which the  speakers make similar comments about the same type of relationship (a  true love, an extramarital affair, an amicable or bitter divorce, a  long-distance relationship, a love-hate relationship, etc.).  In your  essay, you are comparing the points that the two speakers of each work  are making about the relationship.

An Illustration:

Think about “To My Dear and Loving  Husband,” written by Anne Bradstreet in 1678, and “My Guy,” performed by  Mary Wells in 1964.  At first, you may think that no common link exists  between them, but you soon discover that the speakers are focusing on  true love and that they are expressing similar points about it.

  • Read the poem, which appears on page 625.
  • Click the link to view the lyrics of the song:  My Guy.docPreview the document
  • Click the video to hear the song.
  • Now that you have read the poem and  the lyrics and viewed the video, note how the speakers of the poem and  of the song are making similar comments about true love.  For example,  the poem opens with reference to the wife and husband acting as one  rather than as two; the song opens with a similar reference–the two  individuals becoming one by being stuck to each other with glue.

Some Suggested Topics If You Need One:

  • “To a Daughter Leaving Home” and “Don’t Forget to Remember Me,” by Carrie Underwood
  • “To His Coy Mistress” and “Tonight (I’m Loving You),” by Enrique Iglesias
  • “Leaving the Motel” and “Is There Somewhere?” by Halsey
  • “My Papa’s Waltz” and “Walk a Little Straighter,” by Billy Currington
  • “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” and “When I’m Sixty-Four,” by the Beatles
  • “My Last Duchess” and “Obsession,” by Animotion


Write an essay of at least three pages  but no more than five.  The works cited page counts as the fourth or  fifth page.  The essay must have these sections:

  • an introduction with a thesis statement
  • at least 2 developmental (body) paragraphs
  • a conclusion
  • an MLA Works Cited page with an entry  for each source from which information was borrowed and included as  part of the essay  (Since there are four required sources, the works  cited page must have an entry for each one.)

The required sources are:

  • two primary sources, which are printed or electronic versions of the poem and the song
  • for the poem, an article from a  database to which the Valencia College library subscribes (This database  is considered a secondary source.)
  • for the song, a credible secondary  source of your choice (a book with information about the song, a  credible website, another database article, etc.)

You may use additional sources to supplement the material borrowed from the required sources.