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Written Report Activity


Theodore Roethke’s “Papa’s Waltz” and

Julia Alvarez’s “Ironing their Clothes”

Read the poems listed above and write two critique papers (do a quick research on what a critique paper
is if you have forgotten it from your RWS class) for each. Take note that plagiarism will not be tolerated
for this activity. Which means that any line which is copied and pasted without proper citation (APA
Format) will mean a zero over one hundred points and/or an automatic failing grade for the subject.

Paper specifications: [READ CAREFULLY] work must be a short size bond paper, 1 inch margin on all sides,
font will be book antiqua size 12, paragraph alignment must be justified, and the line spacing must be
exactly 1.5.

Critique specifications: Below is a quick guide on writing a critique paper plus additional notes on how
your submission should look. Avoid spelling worlds incorrectly, make sure you check your grammar, and
use only the English language for this paper. Your critique for each poem must not be any lesser than two
full pages of short bond papers.

Submissions must be online: Email your final work to, make sure to type in
your full name as the subject of your mail and attach your file in strictly pdf
form. Make sure that your notify me if you do not receive a response from
me 6 hours after you have sent your mail.

Deadline: Monday May 27, 2019

Outline for a Critique

I. Introduction
A. State the name of author and title of essay (i.e., Georg Knapp's The State Theory of
B. Give a brief summary of the poem
C. Write your thesis statement--( .)
II. Body --use three supporting Criticisms to explain your thesis further
A. Point One--
1. Use theory one
2. Explain why or how the theory demonstrates Point One
3. Explain how and why this supports your thesis
B. Point Two--
1. Use ….
2. Explain why or …..
3. Explain how and why this supports your thesis
C. Point Three--
1. Etc...
III. Conclusion
A. Restate your thesis
B. Summarize your critique
Sample Critique submission from


Stolen Rivers

The poem Stolen Rivers is by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, an award-winning South

African poet whose work focuses mainly on race, sexuality, class, and gender within
the context of living in South Africa. Though written in an easy-to-digest manner, the
poem involves the weight of history and oppression. Let us discuss the meaning and
poetic devices in this poem.

Stolen rivers

for Chiwoniso Maraire

We Africans came to Berlin to sing

and recite poetry. We had an agenda:
remembering our anthems of loss,
galloping, consuming,
the pillage, the cries
like forest fires, like haunted children,
how can we, how can we even
begin to redress?
Enraged, we wanted revenge
and then, Chiwoniso, you stepped on the stage and
you opened your mouth and
every stolen river of platinum and gold
poured out of your mouth in song;
your voice etched us out of the night
and doubled the light in each of us.
You restored all the treasure-houses
from Benin to Zimbabwe, Mapungubwe to Cairo;
Africa moved its golden bones,
shook off its heavy chains
and danced again.
That night I thought
if only
love could purchase bread,
Africans would not be hungry.

Sample Critique submission from

Name of Student Date of Submission

Subject/ Course

Critique on Stolen Rivers

by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

The first thing we need to know is who Chiwoniso Maraire is, as the poem is
dedicated to this person and is mentioned in the poem itself. According to the
website Poem Analysis, “The poem, Stolen Rivers, by Phillippa Yaa De Villiers, is a
eulogy, dedicated to Chiwoniso Maraire, who was well-known as a Zimbabwean
singer, songwriter, and an exponent of Zimbabwean mbira music. De Villiers was
immensely inspired by Chiwoniso whose songs too like Phillippa Yaa De Villiers’
poetry revolved around politics, colonialism, and racism, and among other heavy
topics. Chiwoniso died at 37 on 24 July 2013, in South Medical Hospital in
Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe…” (Green, William, et al). It seems that de Villiers sees a
kindred spirit in Chiwoniso, and highlights her country’s plight and previous riches
(material and non-material) through his singing.

I would say that this poem is filled with emotion and inspiration. And as I
mentioned before, it carries the weight of a troubled history of oppression. These two
factors make the poem startling, poignant, and impressive. The tone is mixed: it is a
celebration and a cry for the current plight of South Africa. I believe this poem
represents life in South Africa well: its citizens have a sense of renewed hope, but yet
they live in the dominating shadow of their past.

There is a use of similes and metaphorical imagery in Stolen Rivers. Starting from
“like forest fires, like haunted children” similes are employed. But the main image the
poet concentrated on, and the most poignant, is the depiction of South Africa’s riches
pouring out of Chiwoniso’s mouth as he sings. From this act, a celebration begins, but
Sample Critique submission from

as the last four lines illustrate, even a performance of this level is not enough to
alleviate the present horrors of the country.

The poem runs as one stanza like a river, which is appropriate for the context of
the poem. However, a lot of punctuation was used. I think that though this poem flows
well, the punctuation is needed for readers to stop and to consider the weight of the
phrases. The line breaks seem natural, and almost as if the lines were written
spontaneously in a surge of inspiration. However, with the conciseness and
effectiveness of the language, I am sure the poet edited this poem as well. The trick,
poets often say, is to make a poem seem like it was written easily. I think this poet has
achieved this feeling.

An emotional tribute to a South African musician and hero, this poem bursts with
pathos. With poignant imagery and an effective use of poetic devices, Stolen
Rivers impacts a reader to a great degree. It is a fine addition to African literature that
will be sure to be anthologized and treasured for years to come.


Green, William, et al. “Analysis of Stolen Rivers by Phillippa Yaa De Villiers.” Poem
Analysis, 9 June 2017,

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