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Introduction to Poetry


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Title: Introduction to Poetry

Introduction to Poetry
  • 9th Pre-AP English

Poetry A Definition
  • Length
  • Visual impressions
  • Concentrated, intense language that makes
    deliberate sound effects which can involve
    rhythm, rhyme, or other sounds
  • Written in lines and stanzas rather than
    sentences or paragraphs
  • Meaning is gleaned from understanding the use of
    metaphor, symbol, imagery, etc.

Poetry A Definition
  • Subject matter can cover the intellectually safe
    or the profane the marginal or society
  • Fixed or free form
  • Fixed form is a poem that may be categorized by
    the pattern of its lines, meter, rhythm, or
    stanzas a style of poetry that has set rules.
    Ex sonnet, villanelle, limerick
  • Free Form is a poem that has neither regular
    rhyme nor regular meter. Free verse often uses
    cadences rather than uniform metrical feet.

Subject Matter of Poems
  • Love Poem, Political Poem, Metaphysical Poem,
    Confessional Poem
  • Elegy (poem that reflects on death or solemn
  • Epithalamion (poem that praises a wedding)
  • Proverb (a poem that imparts wisdom, learning,
    and aid memory)
  • Found poem (poems that are discovered in everyday
  • Pun (word play, humor, or cleverness--Pasteurize
    Too far to see.)
  • Epigram (short, witty, concise sayingcan be
    sarcastic or parodic, about a person or an idea
    Swans sing before they die--'twere no bad thing
    / should certain people die before they sing!)

How do you read a poem? from pg. 489 in your text
  • Read the poem slowly and out loud to help hear
    the musicality of the poem.
  • Be patient, for poems can be ambiguous or
    confusing. Talk about it with others who have
    read it, when possible.
  • Read the poem several times.
  • Look for punctuation in the poem telling you
    where sentences being and end.
  • Do not make a full stop at the end of a line if
    there is no period, comma, colon, semicolon, or
    dash there.
  • If a passage of a poem is difficult to
    understand, look for the subject, verb, and
    complement of each sentence.
  • Be alert for comparisonsfor figures of speech.

Looking at a Poem
  • Hearing the Words
  • Rhyme (end, internal, approximate)
  • Rhyme scheme (Roses are red. . .abcb)
  • Neologism (a new word or expression)
  • Oxymoron
  • Microsoft Works , Bitter Sweet, Anarchy
    Rules! http//

Looking at a Poem
  • Hearing the Words, cont
  • Inversion - Beautiful is she.
  • Assonance - how now brown cow
  • Consonance - Whose woods these are I think I
  • Alliteration - She sells seashells by the
  • Onomatopoeia - snap, crackle, pop

A few words on diction. . .
  • Connotation
  • Snake

any of numerous scaly, legless, sometimes
venomous reptiles having a long, tapering,
cylindrical body and found in most tropical and
temperate regions
evil or danger
Looking at a Poem
  • Lines
  • End-stopped
  • My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun.
  • Coral is far more red than her lips red.
  • Enjambment
  • Let me not to the marriage of true minds
  • Admit impediments. Love is not love
  • Which alters when it alteration finds Or
    bends with the remover to remove. Shakespeare
  • Flow of language and the Sound of the Poem
  • cadence -- the drum beat of words
  • caesura-- E.B. Browning How do I love
    thee?//Let me count the ways.
  • dissonance - Are you lamenting because your
    enjambment is not working in your couplet?
  • Meter
  • Fixed form
  • Iambic pentameter (blank verse with 5 feet of
    iambsdaDUM daDUM daDUM daDUM daDUMBut soft,
    what light through yonder window breaks?)
  • Free verse (aka Free form)
  • NOTE see page 740 741 in your book

Looking at a Poem
  • Refrain
  • Quoth the raven, "Nevermore.
  • Synaesthesia / Synesthesia
  • a deafening yellow sunburnt mirth
  • Epithet
  • swift-footed Achilles rosy-fingered dawn Ivan
    the Terrible

Looking at a Poem
  • Lines - a single line of poetry.
  • Stanzas - a group of lines set off from the other
    lines in a poem the poetic equivalent of a
    paragraph in prose. In traditional poems, the
    stanza usually contains a unit of thought, much
    like a paragraph.
  • Tercet
  • The winged seeds, where they lie cold and
    low, Each like a corpse within its grave,
    until Thine azure sister of the Spring shall
  • Punctuation used for emphasis
  • Structure of images / symbols within the poem
  • Watch for colors, patterns, figurative language

Types of Poems
  • Sonnet
  • 14-line poem with specific rhyme scheme
  • English (a.k.a. Shakespearean)
  • ababcdcdefefgg (three quartrains and a couplet)
  • Italian (a.k.a. Petrarchan)
  • abbaabbacdecde (octet, sestet, volta is between
    lines 8 and 9)

Example of Sonnet
  • Shakespeares Sonnet 116 Let me not to the
    marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is
    not love Which alters when it alteration
    finds, Or bends with the remover to remove O no!
    it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests
    and is never shaken It is the star to every
    wandering bark, Whose worth's unknown, although
    his height be taken. Love's not Time's fool,
    though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending
    sickle's compass come Love alters not with his
    brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to
    the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me
    proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Types of Poems
  • Haiku Japanese poem with 17 syllables -- first
    line has 5, second has 7, last line has 5.
  • It combines form, content, and language in a
    meaningful, yet compact form
  • Haiku doesn't rhyme. A Haiku must "paint" a
    mental image in the reader's mind.

A Rainbow by Donna Brock Curving up, then
down. Meeting blue sky and green earth Melding
sun and rain.
Types of Poems
  • Cinquain a poem with five lines
  • Line 1 is one word (the title) Line 2 is two
    words that describe the title. Line 3 is three
    words that tell the action Line 4 is four words
    that express the feeling Line 5 is one word that
    recalls the title

Tree Strong, Tall Swaying, swinging,
sighing Memories of summer Oak
Types of Poems
  • Villanelle - 19 lines long, but only uses two
    rhymes, while also repeating two lines throughout
    the poem. The first five stanzas are triplets,
    and the last stanza is a quatrain such that the
    rhyme scheme is as follows "aba aba aba aba aba
    abaa." The tricky part is that the 1st and 3rd
    lines from the first stanza are alternately
    repeated such that the 1st line becomes the last
    line in the second stanza, and the 3rd line
    becomes the last line in the third stanza. The
    last two lines of the poem are lines 1 and 3
    respectively, making a rhymed couplet. Confused?
    A villanelle needs no particular meter or line
    length. It is terribly obsessive and can bring
    out the emotions of any neurotic writer.

Example of a Villanelle
  • Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age
    should burn and rave at close of day Rage, rage
    against the dying of the light.
  • Though wise men at their end know dark is
    right, Because their words had forked no
    lightning they Do not go gentle into that good
  • Good men, the last wave by, crying how
    bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a
    green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the
  • Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night,
  • Grave men, near death, who see with blinding
    sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be
    gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
  • And you, my father, there on the sad
    height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce
    tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good
    night, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night By Dylan
Types of Poems
  • Dramatic Monologue a poem in which a single
    speaker who is not the poet utters the entire
    poem at a critical moment. The speaker has a
    listener within the poem, but we too are his/her
    listener, and we learn about the speaker's
    character from what the speaker says. In fact,
    the speaker may reveal unintentionally certain
    aspects of his/her character. Robert Browning
    perfected this form.

Example of Dramatic Monologue
  • My Last Duchess by Robert Browning
  • Aint I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth
  • See page 611 in your textbook
  • Lucinda Matlock by Edgar Lee Masters
  • See page 607 in your textbook

Types of Poems
  • Ode usually a lyric poem of moderate length,
    with a serious subject, an elevated style, and an
    elaborate stanza pattern. There are various kinds
    of odes. The ode often praises people, the arts
    of music and poetry, natural scenes, or abstract

Types of Poems
  • Elegy a sad and thoughtful poem lamenting the
    death of a person.
  • Limerick short sometimes bawdy, humorous poems
    consisting of five anapestic lines. Lines 1, 2,
    and 5 of a limerick have seven to ten syllables
    and rhyme with one another. Lines 3 and 4 have
    five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each

Example of Limerick
  • There was an Old Person whose habits, Induced
    him to feed upon rabbits When he'd eaten
    eighteen, He turned perfectly green, Upon which
    he relinquished those habits.

Types of Poems
  • Ballad (folk and literary) Randalls The Ballad
    of Birmingham
  • Epic Homers Illiad and Odyssey
  • Diamante
  • Concrete Poem

Example of Concrete Poem
  • Bird 3    by Don J. Carlson
  •                     Poe's                   raven
    told             him nothing nevermore            
           and Vincent's circling                    
    crows were a threat to destroy                    
       sunlight. Now I saw a bird, black with a
    yellow                         beak, orange
    rubber legs                            pecking to
    kill the                              lawn, storm
    bird                               hates with
    claw,                                   evil
    n                                     and eye

Figures of Speech
  • Simile Shes as big as a house.
  • Metaphor
  • Direct Shes a brick house.
  • Implied The man brayed his refusal to leave.
    (because the subject--the man--is never overtly
    identified as a mule)
  • Extended See the next slide Catch
  • Dead tying up loose ends, a submarine sandwich,
    a branch of government, and most clichés
  • MixedThe movie struck a spark that massaged the
    audience's conscience.
  • Personification The house creaked with old age.

Example of an extended metaphor
  • Catch by Robert Francis Two boys uncoached are
    tossing a poem together, Overhand, underhand,
    backhand, sleight of hand, everyhand, Teasing
    with attitudes, latitudes, interludes,
    altitudes, High, make him fly off the ground for
    it, low, make him stoop, Make him scoop it up,
    make him as-almost-as possible miss it, Fast, let
    him sting from it, now, now fool him
    slowly, Anything, everything tricky, risky,
    nonchalant, Anything under the sun to outwit the
    prosy, Over the tree and the long sweet cadence
    down, Over his head, make him scramble to pick up
    the meaning, And now, like a posy, a pretty one
    plump in his hands.
  • Robert Francis' poem "Catch" relies on an
    extended metaphor that compares poetry to playing
    catch. A controlling metaphor runs through an
    entire work and determines the form or nature of
    that work.'

Examples of Language
  • Metonymy (one term for another with which it is
    commonly associated or closely related.)
  • the pen is mightier than the sword
  • the crown (referring to a Queen or King)
  • all hands on deck
  • Synecdoche (part for the whole)
  • give us this day our daily bread
  • The U.S. won three gold medals. (Instead of The
    members of the U.S. boxing team won three gold

Irony, doncha think?
  • Irony involves a contradiction.  "In general,
    irony is the perception of a clash between
    appearance and reality, between seems and is, or
    between ought and is.
  • Verbal irony--Saying something contrary to what
    it means. In daily language, being ironic means
    that you say something but mean the opposite to
    what you say.  "Oh, how lucky we are to have SO
    MANY AP classes to choose from!" Depending on how
    you say it, there is a contradiction between your
    literal meaning and your actual meaning--and this
    is what we call verbal (rhetoric) irony. 
  • Dramatic irony -- Saying or doing something
    while unaware of its ironic contrast with the
    whole truth verbal irony with the speaker's
    awareness erased" -- so that the irony is on the
    speaker him/herself, but not what s/he talks
  •    Situational irony-- Events turning to the
    opposite of what is expected or what should be.  
    The ironic situation --the "ought" upended by the
    is -- is integral to dramatic irony.  In Alanis
    Morissete's Ironic" we can see a lot of
    situational ironies -- or ironies of fate.
  • Cool article explaining the song "Ironic"

Watch Your Tone!
  • "The word tone in literary discussion is borrowed
    from the expression tone of voice. Tone is the
    manner in which a poet makes his statement it
    reflects his attitude toward his subject. Since
    printed poems lack the intonations of spoken
    words, the reader must learn to "hear" their
    tones with his mind's ear. Tone cannot be heard
    in one particular place since it reflects a
    general attitude, it pervades the whole poem."
    (Poems Wadsworth Handbook and Anthology by C. F.
    Main Peter J. Seng)

Hey, DIDLS diddle. . .
  • Use DIDLS to consider the tone of a poem.
  • Dictionthe connotation of the word choice
  • Consider the following when discussing diction
  •          monosyllabic/polysyllabic
  •          colloquial/informal/formal
  •          denotative/connotative
  •          euphonious/cacophonous
  • Imagesvivid appeals to understanding through the
  • DetailsFacts that are included or omitted
  • LanguageThe overall use of language, formal,
    colloquial, clinical, jargon, etc...
  • Sentence StructureHow structure affects the
    readers attitude

  • Well save this for another powerpoint )
  • One last note. . .
  • The speaker of the poem IS NOT necessarily the
    poet. It is a persona (a character) used to
    voice the poem. The speaker addresses an
    audience or another character. Identify and
    describe the speaking voice or voices, the
    conflicts or ideas, and the language used in the