Essay on a British poetNeed help getting started.

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clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Your original question was a little vague, but hopefully we can offer you some points of advice for getting started on this essay, despite the lack of details presented.  With any essay, the beginning steps include brainstorming ideas and working on a thesis statement which will guide your paper.

I see that you are a graduate school student, which means this essay most likely needs to be more than a biographical study on a British poet.  Therefore it is likely that you need to write an argumentative essay which is supported or refuted using scholarly publications.  There are several different paths you could take depending on the actual requirements outlined by your professor.

Keeping the idea in mind that your thesis should present an argument of some sort, I usually advise students to begin with a list of open-ended questions which will help guide both your thought process and your research.  Some examples might include:

  1. Is there a poet whom I am particularly interested in?
  2. Are there any known controversies concerning the life or the poetry of a particular British poet?  Which side of the controversy do I agree with?
  3. What have critics said about my poet or his poetry, and do I agree or disagree with the ideas?  Why?
  4. How did this poet's personal life most affect his work?  Or, how did his work affect his personal life?
  5. What is a general message or central theme of this person's poetry and why did he choose this?  What was he hoping to achieve?
  6. How have the works of this poet influenced modern day poetry, literature, and/or culture?

The first part of your research is going to be very exploratory and should help you continue brainstorming further ideas.  Once you've decided on a particular poet, for example, you might do some basic biographical research and find that critics tend to disagree on their analyses of the poet's works.  Points of public disagreement are great places to explore further, because they could help the essay writer to create a new argument.  As you study the poet and his/her works, you might find one very clear theme begin to emerge.  This could also work as a path of exploration, and you could seek to tie the context of the poet's life to the message in the poetry itself.

No matter how you decide to narrow your topic, I encourage you to keep an open mind throughout this brainstorming phase, as it is one of the best times to combine creativity into the technical and academic writing process.  Feel free to post follow-up questions here on Enotes as you find yourself in need of further guidance or advice.

wordprof's profile pic

wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

What is a British poet? This alone would make an interesting inquiry. Dylan Thomas? Robert Burns? W. B. Yeats? Is it determined only by place of birth? Subject matter? Also remember that "essay" means "to try", " to attempt" as in "essay that mountain".

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