Insight Paper on “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

Reading of poem that needs to be analyzed –

Questions being asked when analyzing the poem and its reading – 

In your annotations (these can be written or verbal – see video below for more details): 

identify the poet (and do a little brief research about the poet)
identify the speaker of the poem (this is not necessarily the poet.  For instance, although Langston Hughes wrote “Theme for English B,” the speaker is a student at Columbia in New York, not Hughes.  Hughes is in his forties when he writes the poem.

Then, use these questions to analyze (and annotate) your chosen poem. 

Notice the stanzas, the line breaks:  what do you see in these?  How do these look on the page?
How many complete sentences (Links to an external site.) do you see?  How many lines are these stretched over?
As the Khan Academy video notes, the line breaks indicate a pause and impact the rhythm of the poem.  Notice the line breaks:  how do they impact the spoken delivery of the poem?  
Look at the spacing of the poems.  Are any lines scooted in?  Are there any extra spaces between stanzas?  And if so, how does that impact you as a reader?  As a listener? 
Again, the Khan Academy video notes that poems do not have to rhyme.  Some do, though.  So look and listen carefully to your poem.  Do you detect rhyme?  If so where?  How does that rhyme impact you as a reader? 

Week 5 Insight Paper – 5.4 
Now that you have completed your Week 5 reading journal and have received my comments and suggestions, turn your reading journal into an insight paper.  
What you include in your insight paper depends on the approach you took in your journal.  Use your notes from your journal to explain how the Favorite Poem Project poem impacted you, paying attention to line breaks and rhyme and what you know about the poet and the speaker.
In other words, use the questions you worked through in your journal to help guide your interpretation of the poem (the meaning you are making and taking away from it).  You’re working to explore and figure out what you think by practicing close textual analysis and explanation. 
What Goes in My Insight Paper?

An introductory paragraph that provides context (meaning background) of where you are coming from.  You, as a writer, have to think about what tha means and what youll need/want to include.  Try your best not to overthink it; be authentic and help the reader understand what is shaping your insights. 


Also, in this introductory paragraph, provide a sense of the focus of this paper.  In revised papers, this would be called your thesis.  In this insight paper, it can be a question, a wondering.  It does not have to be an explicit thesis statement and it does not have to be the last sentence of the introduction. 


Include three body paragraphs that serve to work out/explore the focus of your paper.  Because you are writing about literature, be sure you include textual evidence (a direct quote or paraphrase) in each paragraph.  You do not have to follow MLA format, but do be sure to use quotation marks () to indicate you are using a direct quote.   You want to work on breaking down and interpreting this quote:  what does it mean?  How/why is it significant?  


Include a final paragraph (often referred to as the conclusion) in which you offer your big so what.  So what did you learn by writing this insight paper?  What new insights do you have about the text?  Life?  literature?  

** If you are comfortable with the deductive academic essay frame, please!  Use it!  The thesis-driven essays is just not required for these informal insight papers**
However, while I want you to use the five-paragraph frame, your paper does not need to be deductively organized.  In other words, you do not have to have an explicit thesis statement; your body paragraphs do not need to start with your point/topic sentence.  Many writers (including me!) often figure out/work our way to our point (main idea) as we are writing.  And thats ok and encouraged in these insight papers.  I want you to work on practicing getting your ideas down on the page–using quotes from the texts and making connections and meaning out of them.