• 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.
Definition of Poetry
• Poetry is not easily defined.
• Often it combines language, images, and sounds to
create a special emotional effect
• Often it takes the form of verse, but not all poetry has this
• Its language is more visual and musical than prose
• It “sings’ to readers
Types of Poetry
• Narrative Poetry: tells a story that includes a plot,
characters and a setting
• Lyric poetry – expresses the observations and feelings of
a single speaker in a musical way
• Dramatic poetry: uses drama techniques in the form of a
soliloquy or dramatic monologue
Poetry Form
• 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.
• You should pause only when there is punctuation
• Some poems have a structure in which each line
contains a set amount of syllables; this is called
• 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
• When reading a poem out loud, you may notice a sort of
“sing-song” quality to it, just like in nursery rhymes.
• This is accomplished by the use of rhythm.
• Rhythm is broken into seven types.
• These identify patterns of stressed and unstressed
syllables in a line of poetry.
That means one syllable is pronounced stronger, and one syllable is softer.
• The length of a line of poetry based on what rhythm is
• The length of a line of poetry is measured in metrical
units called “FEET”.
• Each foot consists of one unit of rhythm.
• So, if the line is iambic or trochaic, a foot of poetry has
2 syllables.
• If the line is anapestic or dactylic, a foot of poetry has
3 syllables.
Meter Continued
• Each set of syllables is one foot, and each line is
measured by how many feet are in it.
• The length of the line of poetry is then labeled according to
how many feet are in it.
• Monometer
- Pentameter
• Dimeter
- Hexameter
• Trimeter
- Octameter
• Tetrameter
• Rarely will there be more than 8 feet
She Walks in Beauty
˘ ΄ ˘ ΄ ˘ ΄ ˘ ΄
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyesnd her
Reading this poem
out loud makes the
rhythm evident.
Which syllables are
more pronounced?
Which are naturally
Count the syllables in
each line to
determine the meter.
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.
• Rhyme is when the endings of the words sound the same.
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
Poems of more than
one stanza often repeat
the same rhyme
scheme in each stanza.
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.
Approximate Rhyme
• Also known as slant rhyme – created by substituting
assonance or consonance for true rhyme
• Example: comb/coat; rule/room; walk/weak; hope/heap
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Free Verse and Blank Verse
• 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 sound.
• Blank verse is unrhymed Iambic Pentameter
• Shakespeare uses blank verse in his
Repetition is the repeating of a sound, word,
or phrase for emphasis.
Inside the house
(I get
☺ ready)
Inside the car
(I go☺
to school)
Inside the school
(I wait for the bell to ring)
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 personification.
• Figurative language is used in poetry to compare two
things that are usually not thought of as being alike.
• Figurative language is not necessarily imagery!
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 rock.
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which an implied
comparison is made between two unlike things that
actually have something important in common.
Clouds are
cotton candy.
Grandpa was a
Tom is a rock.
They are fluffy.
They are stubborn.
They are hard.
• A figure of speech, which gives the qualities of a
person to an animal, an object, or an idea is called
• 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.
• Example: A brave handsome tree fell with a
creaking rending cry.
• The author is giving a tree the human
quality of bravery and the ability to cry.
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
• The device of calling out to an imaginary, dead, or absent
person or to a place, thing or personified abstraction
either to begin a poem, or to make a dramatic break in
thought somewhere within the poem
• Example: “Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”
Sound Devices
• Devices which add to the musical quality of the poem
• There are many kinds, like Rhyme, and Rhythm
• Assonance: repetition of vowel sounds within a line of
• Example: And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
• Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride.
• Consonance: the close repetition of identical consonant
sounds before and after differing vowel sounds
• Example: leave/ love; short shirt
• 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 onomatopoeia.
• 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".
by Marie Josephine
____ tocking.
Head is rocking.
Tippy toeing.
Snap, crack.
Crushing branch.
Helter, skelter.
Run for shelter.
Pitter, patter.
Rain starts to fall.
Gathering momentum.
Becomes a roar.
Thunder booms.
• Alliteration is the repetition of the same sounds or of
the same kinds of sounds at the beginning of words.
• 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 _
Snow _
softening _swiftly.
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.
Extended Image: an image that is developed over
several lines of a poem or even throughout an entire
The fog comes on little cat feet.
It sits looking over harbor and city
on silent haunches and then moves HEAR, SEE,
Carl Sandburg
An exaggerated statement used to heighten effect is a
hyperbole. It is not used to mislead the reader, but to
emphasize a point.
I’ve told you a million times not to leave
the dirty glass on the table.
• Understatement: (meiosis) a type of verbal irony in
which something is purposely represented as being far
less important than it actually is
• Example: The ocean is a pretty big mass of water.
• Pun: a form of wit, not necessarily funny, involving a
play on words with two or more meanings but the same
• Example: grave/grave
• 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 understand.
A day late and a dollar short.
This idiom means it is too little, too late.
• Cliché: any expression that has been used so
often it has lost its freshness and precision
• Example: tried and true; the last straw, etc.
• Euphemism: an agreeable word or expression
substituted for one that is potentially offensive
• Example: rest room/ toilet; he is at rest/he is

Introduction to Poetry - Brookwood High School