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Poetry A Poem by Billy Collins Introduction to Poetry I ask them to take a poem and hold it up to the light like a color or press an ear against its hive. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Poetry

A Poem by Billy Collins
  • Introduction to Poetry
  • I ask them to take a poem
  • and hold it up to the light
  • like a color slide
  • or press an ear against its hive.
  • I say drop a mouse into a poem
  • and watch him probe his way out,
  • or walk inside the poems room
  • and feel the walls for a light switch.
  • I want them to waterski
  • across the surface of a poem
  • waving at the authors name on the shore.
  • But all they want to do
  • is tie the poem to a chair with rope

The Basics
  • As a poet, exercise the courage to explore your
    unconventional feelings, (pg 229). It takes
    courage to write and share poetry so it is
    important to keep an open mind during the
  • Poems have as much to do with sound, rhythm and
    overtones as they do with making statements

Sophisticated vs. Simple poetry
  • Do your best to express true feelings,
    reflections and emotions.
  • Be honest with yourself and dont be afraid to go
    to a place you have not gone before, or havent
    allowed yourself to go.
  • Weve all written the roses are red, violets are
    blue poemlets try on something different here
    and stay away from greeting card poetry.

Differences between prose and poetry
  • Poetry uses the poetic line rather than the
    sentence as the primary unit
  • Poetry relies more on images than on abstractions
  • Poetry cultivates the sound of words
  • Poetry develops rhythms of language
  • Poetry creates density by implying more than is

Seven Deadly Sins of Poetry
  • The impenetrable-haze PoemYes, you have liberty
    to be playful with poetry but you still need to
    have an air of cohesiveness. Random images that
    do not connect will confuse the reader.
  • Truth-in-a-nutshell poemA lot of poems attempt
    to define truth, beauty, love or evil. Though
    these abstractions may be interesting places to
    start, they are often cliché. If you want to
    write about such abstractions, you must ground it
    in a specific truth or image (see Stephen Dunns
    poem on page 217 for an example of what I mean).

Seven Deadly Sins of Poetry
  • Oh-Poor-Miserable-Me poemThis is often common
    with new poetry writers and its easy to
    gravitate toward because we may have a lot to
    vent about. While at times self pity can be
    genuine, avoid using it repeatedly in your
  • The Marching-band poemRhyme is important to
    poetry and the sound of your words has a great
    impact on your audience, but predicable rhyming
    is better suited to greeting cards, nursery
    rhymes, song lyrics, etc. We want to create
    something new here
  • Hark, the antique language poemThis is
    essentially a poem that draws primarily on old
    language (twixt, oft, etc.). Write in the
    context of NOW not THEN.

Seven Deadly Sins of Poetry
  • The Wailing Violin poemThis one is a fine line
    because it tends to go overboard on emotions yet
    we want emotion in our poetry. Too much
    sentimentality can irritate a reader, but just
    the right about of GENUINE emotion will entice
    the reader.
  • The All Them poemThis poem incorporates
    sweeping generalizations about all women, all
    men, etc. Be careful not to lump ALL
    individuals into one category.

How do I begin Writing Poetry?
  • Visual impressionsA majority of poetry of all
    types focuses on an image or images. Dont limit
    yourself to visual impressions though, all of
    your senses can provide critical ideas for
  • People in your lifelooking at those around you
    and the important people in your life is a great
    place to start when beginning poetry. Look at
    the relationships you have with your friends,
    parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.
    Relationships are never easy and almost always a
    complex dynamic of human interactionso trust me,
    there is plenty to write about!

How do I begin Writing Poetry?
  • Freewrite on a topic, image, or idea you have to
    generate new ideas. Expose all of your thoughts
    on paper in sentence form then go back and pluck
    out ideas or words that move you. This could be
    the start of a poem.
  • Explore your journalthis one is my favorite and
    has really helped me to discover interesting
    topics that have long ago been brewing in my
    subconscious. Go back and reread all of your
    journal entriesare there any fires burning?
  • If you keep a private journal, consider making a
    list of things you honestly feel but dont tell
    anyone. IF you do so, as Dunn recommends, late
    at night, you may understand how such secrets
    are like a small fire. They burn if you get
    too close, but they may also serve as the
    genesis of new poems, (pg 229).
  • Page 234 provides six ways to jump-start a new
    poem, some of which have been included here. Use
    this as you begin exploring poetry.

Types of Poems we will write
  • Haikus
  • 3 Stanza object poem
  • Free Verse (image poem)
  • Poem of your choice if you want a challenge, try
    some of the Stanza poems in Chapter 31 (rhyming
    couplets, triplets, quatrains, rhyme royal,
    sonnet, rondeau, pantoom, villanelle)

  • A form of Japanese poetryin English it is
    typically broken down into three lines
  • First line has five syllables
  • Second line has seven syllables
  • Third line has five syllables
  • Thus forming a 5,7,5 stanza
  • Traditionally the haiku draws on some aspect of
    nature and either states or implies a particular

3 Stanza object poem
  • Consists of three stanzas or sections
  • Each section includes a reference to a specific
    object the author has chosen
  • The sections stand alone in story but correlate
    in theme

Image poem/free verse
  • One or multiple images are the focus of the poem
  • Often written without meter
  • There is no regular rhyme scheme in free verse
  • The author is at liberty to play within poetry
    with free versenot tied to a specific set of

Stanza poems You could try one of these for your
poem of choice
  • Rhyming Couplets two lines that rhymethis could
    turn in to a deadly sin if not careful. It can
    become boring after awhile.
  • Triplets A poetic stanza with three lines, often
  • Quatrains A poetic stanza with four lines
  • Rhyme royal A seven line stanza in iambic
  • Sonnet A metered and rhymed poem of 14 lines
    usually in iambic pentameter.
  • Rondeau Consists of three stanzasfirst has five
    lines, second four lines and last has six lines.
  • Pantoum A verse formed in quatrains (stanzas of
    four lines). Lines 2 and 4 in each stanza repeat
    as lines 1 and 3 in the next stanza.
  • Villanelle A French verse form of 19 lines in
    iambic pentameter divided into five tercets (same
    as a triplet, stanza with three lines) and a
    final four-line stanza.

Poetry buzz words
  • Stanza In metered poetry a regularly recurring
    group of lines usually separated by spaces and
    unified by line length, metrical system, and
    often by a rhyme scheme.
  • Iambic pentameter is a type of meter that is
    used in poetry and drama. It describes a
    particular rhythm that the words establish in
    each line. That rhythm is measured in small
    groups of syllables these small groups of
    syllables are called 'feet'. The word 'iambic'
    describes the type of foot that is used. The word
    'pentameter' indicates that a line has five of
    these 'feet'.
  • Image An item that can be perceived by one of
    the five senses. The most common are visual
  • Meter A system of stressed and unstressed
    syllables that creates rhythm in certain types of
  • Rhyme scheme A recurring pattern of rhymed
    endings repeated regularly in each stanza of a

Now lets look at some examples
  • Hakiupg 204
  • 3 Stanza poemhandout
  • Image poempg 207
  • Stanza Choicepg 205

Reading Poetry
  • In small groups, read at least six poems from
    Chapter 26you can choose which ones interest
  • Read following the guidelines on page 199 of
    Three Genres Slow down, give it multiple
    readings, return to puzzling lines or phrases,
    use a pencil and mark it up!
  • Next, answer the questions following each poem
    and the following questions What moved you
    about the poem? What images stand out to you and
    why? Please write you answers down and be ready
    to share with the class your discoveries
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