Week 5 Discussion Forum: Poetry 2: Poetry Annotations

POEM: https://poets.org/poem/mending-wall


  • Understand the general nature, purposes, and techniques of literature with a sense of its relationship to life and culture. 
  • Recognize a representative selection of literary works by major writers (including notable stylistic devices and features) representing a diversity of prominent historical and cultural traditions and issues.
  • Understand the biographical, historical, and cultural contexts of a representative selection of works by major writers. 
  • Identify the relationships among the literary works studied and the philosophical, religious, political, social, and economic milieus of the cultures and subcultures within and among which they were written.
  • Engage and respond to literary texts personally and creatively.
  • Think, write, and speak about literary texts critically and effectively.

Primary Post

Select one poem from the collection you chose to read. Do some research to situate the poem historically and culturally. When was it written? Consider what events (personal or public), movements, or culture its content reflects. What is special about the poem’s form or structure? Why are specific words significant? What meanings do they carry? How does figurative language deepen the poem’s meaning? What images are most impacting?

After your initial research, annotate the poem by writing ten notes explaining your reading and interpretation of the poem. An example is included.

  1. Each note should be 1-5 sentences long.
  2. You must write notes that fit in eight of the following categories (see list below). That means you may skip one and you will need to repeat one or two. See the example provided.
  3. You may use a comment system as shown in the example or other method of inserting your comments into a copy of the poem as long as your comments are easily distinguished from the lines of the poem.
  4. Include a Reference Page at the end of your assignment, noting any sources that helped you to understand the poem.

Annotation Categories

  • Date and culture (When was the poem published, and how does this help us to understand the poem? Are there any references that are best understood within a certain cultural context?)
  • Diction (Discuss the poet’s word choices. Why are the specific words he or she uses important? What meanings do they carry?)
  • Form (Write a comment on the form of the poem, including the way its stanzas or lines are grouped, any specific structure it conforms to (such as sonnet, haiku, ode, etc.), or the use of repetition or structure of the lines. There are many poetic forms explained in the two glossaries of poetic terms listed under this week’s resources.)
  • Explanation (What does a particular phrase or line mean? How is a certain poetic device at work? Explain it in your own words. Your explanation will likely be longer than the line you are explaining.)
  • Figurative language (Label and discuss the effect of an example of figurative language: simile, metaphor, apostrophe, personification, onomatopoeia, etc.)
  • Imagery (Identify and discuss the effect or importance of an example of imagery)
  • Shift (Identify a moment in the poem where the tone, purpose, or direction changes. What new focus does the shift lead a reader to?)
  • Question (Write a question about a line, image, or phrase in the poem. Include a possible answer.)
  • Theme (Discuss the poem’s theme. What message do you take away from the poem? Try to include a note on theme. How does a certain phrase, word, or poetic device build the theme?)
  • Sound (What devices use sounds to create effects in the poem? Rhyme? Alliteration? Cacophony? Repetition? Anaphora? How do the sound devices establish a mood or add a layer of meaning to the poem?)

Example of PoemAnnotation

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914 – 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Poem and annotations CONTINUED on next page

Commented [Office1]: Question: I wonder why the word gentle is used instead of gently. Perhaps, it is because he does not want his dad to be gentle with death. Also, even though the son begs the dad to five in to death, he recognizes that death is a good night.

Commented [Office2]: Date: The poem was published in 1947, not long after WWII. Ironically, Thomas died himself two years after the poem was published for causes related to his alcoholism (Tearl).

Commented [Office3]: Form: The imperative form here is direct addressing the speaker’s father (Do Not Go Gentle). The speaker in this poem is Thomas himself. The imperative (command) gives the poem a strong opening tone. Thomas is commanding his father to rage against the dying of the light. He questions, he commands.

Commented [Office4]: Form: Rhyme scheme is A B A until last stanza where it is A B AA. This regular scheme suggests a pattern and order to the universe. It also gives the poem a musical quality. This rhyme scheme makes the poem a villanelle. A villanelle is a difficult poem to write in English and this showcases Thomas’s talent.

Commented [Office5]: Figurative Language: These words create a metaphor: life is a candle or burning light. He uses this metaphor to make his point throughout the poem.

Commented [Office6]: Question: How could words fork or divide lighting? I see this as meaning that their words were able to direct great energy and impact the wise men’s surroundings. They made a difference.

Commented [Office7]: Imagery: The natural imagery here symbolizes life and vitality. Green for life and dancing for vitality.https://www.poets.org/node/44729

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night – Meaning, and Usage. (2017, September 23). Retrieved January 06, 2019,

from https://literarydevices.net/do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night/

Tearl, O. (2017, February 17). A Short Analysis of Dylan Thomas’s ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’.

Retrieved December 06, 2018, from https://interestingliterature.com/2017/02/22/a-short-analysis-of-dylan-


Commented [Office8]: Explanation: Sang its flight refers to capturing its beauty in some kind of art (Tearl). Sang seems to indicate a kind of praise.

Commented [Office9]: Diction: The word grave here has a double meaning. Grave can mean serious or a burial place.

Commented [Office10]: Explanation: The repetition of “rage” creates a haunting kind of effect and emphasizes the son’s grief.

Commented [Office11]: Shift: There is a huge shift in the poem here. We move from a description of all the men who fight death to a more intimate address of his father who he also hopes will rage against the dying of the light.

Commented [Office12]: Diction: Why “height” here? This implies that he is at a position to jump, to die. It might also imply a high /successful point in his father’s life.

Commented [Office13]: Theme: Thomas’s poem sends the message that all kinds of men should value life by resisting death. He emphasizes the effect of one life. Still, while he wants to remind us that we should live well, the poem reminds us with its images that death is inevitable. Rage as we will, the fire will eventually die out (Tearl).https://literarydevices.net/do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night/https://interestingliterature.com/2017/02/22/a-short-analysis-of-dylan-

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