The Poetry Connection


For this assignment, you will be responsible for researching and thematically connecting a modern poet (20th-21st Century) to a more established poet (16th- 19th Century). The modern poet that you choose to research may still be alive or may be deceased; the important part is that the modern poet wrote during the 20-21st centuries.


You will be responsible for choosing one poem from each of the poets you choose to research. You should select a modern-day poem that you feel can be thematically and/or structurally connected to one of the more established poems. You will annotate the poems, analyze and interpret the poems, make connections and be prepared to lead a 10-15 minute discussion (via PowerPoint or Google Slides) of the poetry. In addition, you will write an 8-10 page research paper focusing on your analyses and interpretations for each poem and focusing on the thematic connections between your poems. You should present your paper with an introductory paragraph that unites both poems thematically (this should be in your thesis statement) and then go on to discuss your analyses of each poem separately before you make your connections and unite the poems thematically. As well as a discussion of the two poems, you may also include information on the poets themselves, especially if the information is relevant to the poem. Because this is a research paper, you must show evidence of research. You must include a minimum of four sources (literary criticisms) in your works cited/bibliography pages as well as copying and submitting the literary criticisms. You should have two criticisms per poem.


Your in-class presentation will include a discussion of the two poems (via PowerPoint/Google Slides), teaching the class about each poem (your analyses and interpretations) and the connections you have made. The PowerPoint presentation should be approximately fifteen minutes and will focus on the analyses, interpretations, and connections between both poems. Everyone will be responsible for preserving the poems distributed during presentations. They will be part of an assessment to be determined at a later date.


  • You will be graded on your paper, annotated poems and your presentation.
  • Poems, poets, and literary criticisms are due Friday, December 14th
  • Your library dates are as follows: 11/19, 11/26, 12/3, 12/10, 12/17, 1/7, 1/14, 1/28, 2/4, and 2/11.
  • Failure to present on your designated date will result in a deduction of half the assignment weight. Presentation dates will be determined February 25th.
  • Plan on the research paper being due approximately March 4th, with presentations to begin that day as well.

Suggested Poets

Here is a list of some poets which may interest you (feel free to choose you own poet and poem- this is just a suggestion):

  • Margaret Atwood
  • William Blake
  • Peter Davison
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Stephen Dunn
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Louise Gluck
  • Rachel Hadas
  • Leland Kinsey
  • Sharon Olds
  • Mary Olivier
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Sonia Sanchez
  • Anne Sexton
  • William Butler Yeats

A maximum of two people can research a given poet

No repeat poems are allowed

Sign-ups for poets/poems is on a first come/first serve basis

Poem Presentation Guidelines and Suggestions

  • Choose a poem that is a “manageable length” (roughly 14-20 lines)
  • Annotate each line of the poem and explain the meaning to the class
  • Supply the time period for each of the authors and any other information that helps gain meaning (from the time period/background information)
  • Explain the style and format
  • Go slowly so that your classmates can write the information that you are presenting
  • Have confidence in what you are saying
  • Submit a copy of your PowerPoint / Google Slides presentation
  • Time yourself before the presentation to make sure that you reach the time limit
  • The PowerPoint / Google Slides should be visually appealing in some way
  • Make eye contact with the audience/speak loudly and clearly


Boston Public Library e-card

As a Massachusetts Resident, you are eligible to sign up for a Boston Public Library e-card; this will give you online access to many scholarly and academic works, Including the Literary Criticism databases and the "Poetry for Students" reference encyclopedia series.

As a bonus, your BPL e-card also gives you free access to e-magazines, e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming video and streaming music. What are you waiting for? Sign-up today!


Try a book; Poems are at location 811 in the library!

Need a jumpstart? This spreadsheet lists the most popular 750 poems for students - all included in the Poetry for Students series with analysis, criticism excerpts, author bios and more.

Make yourself a copy of the spreadsheet to sort by author, title, date, or number of lines. Each poem includes a link to the text of the poem online (if findable), and a link to the longer critical article from the Poetry for Students series. The Poetry for Students articles are "view only" - be sure to make yourself a copy and add it to your Google Drive!


Quickly find thousands of full-text poems, along with short biographies of poets. Search by time period, theme, keyword, or browse.

Use to generate a citation.

Poetry Criticisms

All sources include formatted citations and can be sent directly to your Google Drive! You will need the Boston Public Library e-card to access GVRL, JSTOR, Literature Criticism Online, and Literature Resource Center.

Use your Boston Public Library Card to Access:

Access anytime: