SUNY College of Agriculture I Said by Rumi and Enough by David Whyte Analysis

Final Essay

Directions: For this essay, choose a poem from any of our Week Mixes of Poems (linked here or our “Today” poem from Week 10) and put it in conversation with another literary text of your choice. For your other literary text, you may choose another poem from class, a poem from somewhere else, song lyrics, a quote, some words from a movie or TV show, or your own poetry. Provide your reader an analysis that answers the following questions:

  • What is the topic, theme, or context that puts these two literary works in conversation? (The closer they are, the more interesting of a conversation.)
  • What can close reading expand about each work that your reader would not see without your essay?
  • How are these two works different enough from each other to justify spending time on both?

Audience: Someone who likes poetry, who read both works already and liked them enough to want to read your thoughts on them.

Skills to use and show:

  • ICE: Introduce, MLA Cite, and Explain Quotes through Close Reading of Specific Words (and perhaps form)
  • Topic Sentences: Topic + Main Point
  • Transitions: Show How Paragraphs BUILD
  • Thesis: Explains how your essay will BUILD and hints at answers to the three questions from the Directions
  • Conclusion: Why should readers spend more time on these works / specific quotes?


  • Creative Title and Title Page MLA
  • Essay of 1100-1750 words: count just the essay, not including the other parts. Probably 6-9 paragraphs
  • MLA Work’s Cited Page: both works, and any sources quoted or paraphrased

Suggested and Optional (This is what I do when I read):

  • Pick literary works with 1-2 quotes that are meaningfully worth your time to explore and reflect upon. (For example, if you find empathy or race or gender or success or environmentalism or religion or love or anxiety or fear or death or ______ meaningful, find work that explores this. I read almost everything looking for the topic of empathy—both for others and for the self.)
  • Challenge yourself to be surprised as you reread deeply and use the tools of writing. Meet your edge, be open, and honestly listen.
  • Memorize these quotes so you can carry them with you and use them in life.

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