I need help writing an explication of Wallace McRae's poem "Reincarnation" in explication format.

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James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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There are some standard ways to write an explication of a poem, but the details differ a little with each source. To me, in general, an explication addresses the following things: the title (and the reader's expectations of what the poem is about), the form of the poem, the relationship between the form and the content of the poem, and any distinctive elements that make the poem stand out.

The title, to me, seems to bring up a serious, complex subject. I almost expect some sort of theological discussions in the poem. Of course, in reading the poem, I soon learn that things are not all that serious. It may be possible to pin down exactly where in the poem the tone or approach to the subject changes.

The poem has a clear form: regular line lengths, regular meter, and regular rhyme. The form isn't very complicated, though, as seen for example in the repeated use of "-ound" to end the rhyming couplets.

A final item that I would be sure to bring up in the explication would be the colloquial English (e.g. "done eat" and "concludin'") alongside the overly formal Englsh (e.g. "travails" and "rendered"). The poem seems to play a lot with this disparity between the two levels of dction.

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