There are lots of resources on the Internet to help you do just what we’ve been practicing for the first four weeks of class: close read a poem.
I want to point out to you to a couple of additional references for understanding and putting into practice the tools and goals of close reading and close reading poetry, in particular.
Sometime we learn best when we watch (or in this case read) someone do the task we need to do. Imagine learning to play a sport without ever having seen someone play it?! Here’s an example of a close reading of poetry: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~felluga/exam337F98b.html
Play special attention to the second paragraph in this essay. Note how the writer is doing just what we’ve been practicing in class. The writer is slowly taking the reader–step-by-step–through the process of showing how form and content inform each other. I would like to see something similar in your own close reading papers.
You might also want to take a look at how this student conducts an explication of a few lines of poetry: http://www.uah.edu/aaww/samplecr_olsen.htm.
How does the student discuss the poem? How does the student connect her evidence and argument?
Here’s a good site on “Critical Reading”: http://www.brocku.ca/english/jlye/criticalreading.html
As you look through this site you will see that the professor asks 13 questions, many of which we have covered in the class and a few that are still on our horizon to cover. As you work on your poetry paper you might point your browser to this page and work through the various questions.