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Introduction to Poetry


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Title: Introduction to Poetry

Introduction to Poetry
Poetry is the most misunderstood form of writing.
It is also arguably the purest form of writing.
Poetry is a sense of the beautiful characterized
by a love of beauty and expressing this through
words. It is art. Like art it is very difficult
to define because it is an expression of what the
poet thinks and feels and may take any form
the poet chooses for this expression.
Poetry is not easily defined. Often it takes the
form of verse, but not all poetry has this
structure. Poetry is a creative use of words
which, like all art, is intended to stir an
emotion in the audience. Poetry generally has
some structure that separates it from prose.
The basic unit of poetry is the line. It serves
the same function as the sentence in prose,
although most poetry maintains the use of grammar
within the structure of the poem. Most poems have
a structure in which each line contains a set
amount of syllables this is called meter. Lines
are also often grouped into stanzas.
The stanza in poetry is equivalent or equal to
the paragraph in prose. Often the lines in a
stanza will have a specific rhyme scheme. Some of
the more common stanzas are Couplet a two line
stanza Triplet a three line stanza Quatrain a
four line stanza Cinquain a five line stanza
Meter is the measured arrangement of words in
poetry, the rhythmic pattern of a stanza,
determined by the kind and number of lines.
Meter is an organized way to arrange
stressed/accented syllables and
unstressed/unaccented syllables.
Whose woods / these are / I think /I know
Rhyme is when the endings of the words sound the
same. Read the poem with me out loud.
Dust of Snow by Robert Frost The way a
crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a
hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of
mood And save some part Of a day I had rued.
Rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyming words at
the end of each line. Not all poetry has a rhyme
scheme. They are not hard to identify, but you
must look carefully at which words rhyme and
which do not.
Dust of Snow by Robert Frost The way a
crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a
hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of
mood And save some part Of a day I had rued.
Poems of more than one stanza often repeat the
same rhyme scheme in each stanza.
Repetition is the repeating of a sound, word, or
phrase for emphasis.
Inside Inside the house (I get ready) Inside the
car (I go to school) Inside the school (I wait
for the bell to ring)
? ? ?
Whenever you describe something by comparing it
with something else, you are using figurative
language. Figurative language is any language
that goes beyond the literal meaning of words in
order to furnish new effects or fresh insights
into an idea or a subject. The most common
figures of speech are simile, metaphor, and
alliteration. Figurative language is used in
poetry to compare two things that are usually not
thought of as being alike.  
A simile is a figure of speech in which two
essentially unlike things are compared, often in
a phrase introduced by like or as.
The clouds looked like cotton candy. Grandpa was
as stubborn as a mule Tom's head is as hard as a
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which an
implied comparison is made between two unlike
things that actually have something important in
Clouds are cotton candy. Grandpa was a mule.
Tom is a rock.
They are fluffy. They are stubborn. They are
Alliteration is the repetition of the same sounds
or of the same kinds of sounds at the beginning
of words or in stressed syllables, as in "on
scrolls of silver snowy sentences" (Hart Crane).
Modern alliteration is predominantly consonantal.
To find an alliteration, you must look the
repetitions of the same consonant sound through
out a line.
Silvery snowflakes fall silently Softly sheathing
all with moonlight Until sunrise slowly
shows Snow softening swiftly.
Now you try the one in your packet.
Imagery is an appeal to the senses. The poet
describes something to help you to see, hear,
touch, taste, or smell the topic of the poem.
Fog The fog comes on little cat feet.
It sits looking over harbor
and city on silent haunches and then moves on.
  Carl Sandburg
Now do the poem in your packet.
An exaggerated statement used to heighten effect
is a hyperbole. It is not used to mislead the
reader, but to emphasize a point.
Ive told you a million times not to leave the
dirty glass on the table.
The exaggeration in the number of times.
In your packets, write two more hyperbole. Have
your partner check them.
An idiom is a phrase where the words together
have a meaning that is different from the
dictionary definitions of the individual words.
This can make idioms hard for students to
A day late and a dollar short.  This idiom means
it is too little, too late.
Write two more examples of idioms to share with
the class.
The formation or use of words such as buzz or
murmur that imitate the sounds associated with
the objects or actions they refer to is called an
alliteration. It is a word or a grouping of
words that imitates the sound it is describing,
such as animal noises like "oink" or "meow", or
suggesting its source object (these are the more
important ones), such as "boom", "click", "bunk",
"clang", "buzz", or "bang".
SOUND OF NATURE by Marie Josephine Smith
Ticking, tocking. Head is
rocking. Tippy toeing. Quietly. Snap,
crack. Crushing branch. Helter, skelter. Run for
shelter. Pitter, patter. Rain starts to
fall. Gathering momentum. Becomes a roar. Thunder
A figure of speech, which gives the qualities of
a person to an animal, an object, or an idea is
called personification. It is a comparison, which
the author uses to show something in an entirely
new light, to communicate a certain feeling or
attitude towards it and to control the way a
reader perceives it.
A brave handsome tree fell with a creaking
rending cry.
The author is giving a tree the human quality of
bravery and the ability ot cry.
Free verse is just what it says it is - poetry
that is written without proper rules about form,
rhyme, rhythm, and meter. In free verse the
writer makes his/her own rules. The writer
decides how the poem should look, feel, and
Winter Poem By Nikki Giovanni once a snowflake
fell on my brow and i loved it so much and i
kissed it and it was happy and called its
cousins and brothers and a web of snow engulfed
me then i reached to love them all and i squeezed
them and they became a spring rain and i stood
perfectly still and was a flower
Haiku is one of the most important forms of
traditional Japanese poetry. Haiku is, today, a
17-syllable verse form consisting of three
metered lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. Each
Haiku must contain a kigo, a season word, which
indicate in which season the Haiku is set. For
example, cherry blossoms indicate spring, snow
indicate winter, and mosquitoes indicate summer,
but the season word isn't always that obvious.
In the next three haikus, try to guess the theme.
Fog On the mountain top The fog fell down thick
and fast It was like pea soup.
Haikus By Paul McCann 
Rain Tip-tap goes the rain. As it hits the
window pane I can hear the rain.  
Hail They fell in showers. Like diamonds upon
the ground Big hailstones were found.
The theme of these three poems is weather in late
autumn or early winter.
The simplicity of the limerick quite possibly
accounts for its extreme longevity. It consists
of five lines with the rhyme scheme a a b b a.
The first, second, and fifth lines are trimeter,
a verse with three measures, while the third and
fourth lines are dimeter, a verse with two
measures. Often the third and fourth lines are
printed as a single line with internal rhyme.
Old Man with a Beard Edward Lear There was an
Old Man with a beard, Who said, 'It is just as I
feared! Two Owls and a Hen, Four Larks and a
Wren, Have all built their nests in my beard!'
A narrative poem, often of folk origin and
intended to be sung, consisting of simple stanzas
and usually having a refrain.
The Ballade Of The Mistletoe Bough by Ellis
Parker Butler
I am standing under the mistletoe, And I smile,
but no answering smile replies For her haughty
glance bids me plainly know That not for me is
the thing I prize Instead, from her coldly
scornful eyes, Indifference looks on my barefaced
guile She knows, of course, what my act
implies But look at those lips! Do they hint a
I stand here, eager, and beam and glow, And she
only looks a refined surprise As clear and crisp
and as cold as snow, And asStop! I will never
criticize! I know what her cold glance
signifies But Ill stand just here as I am
awhile Till a smile to my pleading look
replies But look at those lips! Do they hint a
Just look at those lips, now! I claim they show A
spirit unmeet under Christmas skies I claim that
such lips on such maidens owe Asomethingthe
custom justifies I claim that the mistletoe rule
applies To her as well as the rank and file We
should meet these things in a cheerful guise But
look at those lips! Do they hint a smile?
Some might consider the study of poetry old
fashioned, yet even in our hurried lives we are
surrounded by it children's rhymes, verses from
songs, trite commercial jingles, well written
texts. Any time we recognize words as interesting
for sound, meaning or construct, we note poetics.