NOTE: Do not fall into the paraphrase trap; that is, do not take your reader line by line just to fill your essay with words. The point of explication is not to retell the poem; instead, you are explicating to point out in the poem those elements that need interpreting or those places within the poem where you find something interesting. Although the goal of explicating is to explain as much about a poem as is necessary, you should explicate reservedly and intelligently.
In the second part, titled “Part II: Explication,” begin explicating the poem. Move through the poem slowly in a logical manner, pointing out any literary devices or elements of interest. In this second part of the essay, you are helping your reader gain an understanding of the poem in terms of its narrative—what’s going on in the poem—and in terms of the poet’s use of poetic devices to convey meaning.
Stanzas (how many, what shapes, appearances, what breaks, rhyme scheme, are they all the same?)
Lines (lengths, line breaks, enjambment or end-stopped?)
Syntax/Diction (Is the poem grammatical? Does it follow English conventions? Why?)
Meter/Rhyme (free verse or metrical? How many feet? Is it consistent?)
Punctuation (anything unusual? Is it excessive, conventional, or omitted?)
Organization (how does the poem progress in time and space? What does it look like on the page?)
Form/Mode (is it a special type of poem: ode, dramatic, narrative, sonnet, elegy, or a mixture?)
Part 2: Explication
I will argue that Yvor Winters poetic theory, The Fallacy of Expressive Form, written in 1939, arguing that poetry must be traditionally written can be tested using a Non Traditional song, Seven Nation Army by The White Stripe, and a Traditional poem, Incident by Countee Cullen; I will then explicate each poem to furthe...