Please help me compose an essay on the topic of "What is Poetry?" The essay will use three short poems as examples, Frost's "Stopping by the Woods," Blake's "Rose, thou art sick" and Gray's "Elegy."
This assignment is designed to make you attempt to define the poetic genre inductively, by looking at the commonalities among three poems. In some ways, the selected poems represnt a very limited subset of poetry, appealing to a fairly traditional, quasi-romantic sensibility. The are all releatively short poems, using formal meter and rhyme, and generally displaying a melancholic tone.
To write the essay, you need to examine first style. How do the three works depart for English prose in terms of their use of sound (meter, rhyme, alliteration, etc.), diction (do they use unusual words), use of figures of speech, and syntax (word order, sentence structure). Next, you need to look at content and rhetorical stance. Look for commonalities among the subject matters and approaches of these works which are distinct from what one might find in ordinary prose. Also examine close the emotional tone.