For scholars, visiting a poet’s papers in archive libraries can provide valuable insight into to poet’s work. Researchers look for clues in an author’s correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other documents and objects authors have kept that can help shed some light on the poetry. One of the most valuable sources of insight in authors’ papers is drafts of poems, which give a glimpse into both the writing process and what the writer was thinking about while writing.
For this assignment, you will have an opportunity to do original, archival research by studying poetry drafts in the Rose Library. We will spend a class session at the Rose, where you will learn about the process of reading drafts and spend time looking at various drafts. Then, you will select a poem from the provided list to write about, and make an appointment to go back to the Rose on your own to examine drafts for your selected poem. You will pay particular attention to how the language and form of the poem changes in the drafts. Be sure to take careful notes as you read the drafts, so that you will be prepared to write your paper.
After you have studied your drafts, you will write a paper that offers a close reading analysis of the draft and published poem. Paying close attention to the changes the author makes to language and form, you will draw conclusions about what the language, form and structure of the poem is doing. It might be useful to do some basic research about the context of the poem to help you make your conclusions. Your goal here will be do develop your own specific claim about the finished poem in relation to the draft(s), which you will develop through close reading. This paper will be approximately 4 pages, and a draft is due on October 22nd.