Introduction to Poetry
“In a poem the words should be as pleasing
to the ear as the meaning is to the mind.”
Marianne Moore
What is a POEM?
• Webster says a poem is a metrical composition;
a composition in verse written in certain
measures, whether in blank verse or in rhyme,
and characterized by imagination and poetic
diction
• Some poems are very formal, and others are
more playful. Some are published in beautiful
books, and others are written on sidewalks.
• The thing that makes all poems alike is that each
expresses the writer’s imagination and feelings
in a creative way.
What is a POEM?
• Think of the poems you’ve read in the past.
Can you remember one you’ve enjoyed?
Now think of the lyrics of your favorite song.
Now consider the following questions:
• What is the most memorable line of the poem
or song?
• Are the lines grouped in any particular way?
• Do any of the lines rhyme?
Unit Goal 1
• Text Analysis:
• Analyze a poem’s form and structure,
including free verse, lyric poetry, narrative
poetry, ballads, and Haiku.
• Determine the figurative and connotative
meanings of words and phrases in a text.
• Analyze the interaction of elements such
as rhyme, repetition, and alliteration.
Unit Goal 2
• Reading:
• Make inferences and connect ideas
between texts.
• Analyze the structure an author uses to
organize text
Unit Goal 3
• Writing and Language:
• Write an online feature article.
• Choose language to eliminate
redundancy.
• Use commas to separate coordinate
conjunctions.
Unit Goal 4
• Speaking and Listening:
• Update an online feature article
Unit Goal 5
• Identify the meaning of foreign words used
in English.
Let’s Get To It!
The Human Brain
•Divided into 2
parts
•Each half has its
own function
Left Brain:
Logic
Reality
Right Brain:
Creativity
Emotions
To clarify . . .
When you
are looking
at big puffy
clouds . . .
Your right brain tells you, “Hey!
That one looks like a bunny.”
While your left brain tells you . . .
It’s a cloud, Stupid!
So, which half do you use when
studying poetry?
Here are a few hints:
• Poetry requires creativity
• Poetry requires emotion
• Poetry requires an artistic quality
• Poetry requires logic
For the Left Brain:
Recognizing certain
devices used within a
poem will give the left
brain something to
concentrate on.
We’ll start with the sound devices:
The repetition of
sounds
at
the
ends
Example: hat, cat, brat, fat, mat, sat
of words
My Beard
by Shel Silverstein
My beard grows to my toes,
I never wears no clothes,
I wraps my hair
Around my bare,
And down the road I goes.
Here is another example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGrcdq2viZg
The beat
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.
•Iambic
•Monosyllabic
•Anapestic
•Spondaic
•Trochaic
•Accentual
•Dactylic
Most
Used
Less
Common
These identify patterns of
stressed and unstressed
syllables
a line
of poetry.
That meansinone
syllable
is pronounced
stronger, and one syllable is softer.
iambic:
unstressed
anapestic:
stressed
trochaic:
dactylic:
The length of a line of
poetry, based on what type
of rhythm is used. It is the
The length of arhythmical
line of poetry is
measured
pattern
ininametrical
units called “FEET”. Each foot consists of one unit
of rhythm. So,poem.
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.
(This is where it’s going to start sounding like geometry class, so
you left-brainers are gonna love this!)
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.
1: Monometer
5: Pentameter
2: Dimeter
6: Hexameter
3: Trimeter
7: Heptameter
4: Tetrameter
8: Octameter
*there is rarely more than 8 feet*
She Walks in Beauty
I.
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 eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.
˘ ΄ ˘ ΄ ˘ ΄ ˘ ΄
Reading this poem
out loud makes the
rhythm evident.
Which syllables are
more pronounced?
Which are naturally
softer?
II.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Count the syllables in
Had half impaired the nameless grace
each line to
Which waves in every raven tress,
determine the meter.
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
III.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
Examination of this poem
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
reveals that it would be
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
considered iambic tetrameter.
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
Now try this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF1Qzjm
eYpY
• First, count the syllables.
• Second, divide by two. Remember these
groups of two are called feet.
• Third, label the meter.
• Fourth, listen carefully to the rhythm. Is it
a rising rhythm or a falling rhythm?
The repetition of the
initial letter or sound in
two or more words in a
To the lay-person, these are called “tongue-twisters”.
line.
Example: How much dew would a dewdrop drop if a
dewdrop did drop dew?
Alliteration
Alliteration
Let’s see what this
looks like in a poem
we are familiar with.
These examples use the beginning sounds of
words only twice in a line, but by definition,
that’s all you need.
Alliteration
She Walks in Beauty
I.
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 eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.
Words that spell out
sounds; words that sound
like what they mean.
Examples: growl, hiss, pop, boom, crack, ptthhhbbb.
Let’s see what this
looks like in a poem
we are not so familiar
with yet.
Noise Day
by Shel Silverstein
Let’s have one day for girls and boyses
When you can make the grandest noises.
Screech, scream, holler, and yell –
Onomatopoeia
Buzz a buzzer, clang a bell,
Sneeze – hiccup – whistle – shout,
Laugh until your lungs wear out,
Toot a whistle, kick a can,
Bang a spoon against a pan,
Several other
words not
highlighted could
also be
considered as
onomatopoeia.
Can you find any?
Sing, yodel, bellow, hum,
Blow a horn, beat a drum,
Rattle a window, slam a door,
Scrape a rake across the floor . . ..
Using the same key word
or phrase throughout a
poem.
This should be fairly
self-explanatory,
but . . .
at risk of sounding
like a broken record
...
Valued Treasue
by Chris R. Carey
Time to spend;
Time will eventually
time to mend.
show us the truth.
Time to hate;
Time is a mystery;
time to wait.
time is a measure.
Time is the essence;
Time for us is
time is the key.
valued treasure.
Time will tell us
Time to spend;
what we will be.
time to mend.
Time is the enemy;
Time to cry . . .
time is the proof.
Time to die.
So, which is the repeated key word
or phrase?
Valued Treasue
by Chris R. Carey
Time to spend;
Time will eventually
time to mend.
show us the truth.
Time to hate;
Time is a mystery;
time to wait.
time is a measure.
Time is the essence;
Time for us is
time is the key.
valued treasure.
Time will tell us
Time to spend;
what we will be.
time to mend.
Time is the enemy;
Time to cry . . .
time is the proof.
Time to die.
So, which is the repeated key word
or phrase?
Fairly obvious, huh?
The repetition of one or
more phrases or lines at the
end of a stanza.
It can also be an entire
stanza that is repeated
periodically throughout a
poem, kind of like a
chorus of a song.
Phenomenal Woman
by Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s
size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Remember this
I walk into a room
Men themselves have wondered
Just as cool as you please,
What they see in me.
And to a man,
They try so much
The fellows stand or
But they can’t touch
Fall down on their knees.
My inner mystery.
Then they swarm around me,
When I try to show them,
A hive of honey bees.
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
It’s in the arch of my back,
And the flash of my teeth,
The sun of my smile,
The swing of my waist,
...
And the joy in my feet.
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Look familiar?
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
That’s me.
That is refrain.
2 More Sound Devices
• Assonance- the repetition of vowel sounds
followed by different consonants in
stressed syllables, as in blade and maze.
• Consonance- the repetition of similar
consonant sounds at the ends of accented
syllables, as in wind and sand.
Figurative Language
• The writing or speech not meant to be
taken literally. Poets use figures of
speech to state ideas in new ways.
• Poets write poems that are usually divided
into lines and then grouped into stanzas,
or verses.
• Look at the following figurative language
types.
A comparison between two
usually unrelated things using
the word “like” or “as”.
Examples:
Joe is as hungry as a bear.
In the morning, Rae is like an angry lion.
Simile
Ars Poetica
By Archibald MacLeish
Simile
A poem should be palpable
and mute as a globed
fruit,
Silent as the sleeve-worn
stone
Of casement ledges where
the moss has grown—
A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.
Simile
Let’s see
what this
looks like in a
poem we
have never
seen before
in our lives
An implied comparison between
two usually unrelated things.
Examples:
Lenny is a snake.
Ginny is a mouse when it comes to standing up for herself.
The difference between
a simile and a metaphor is
that a simile requires either
“like” or “as” to be included
in the comparison, and a
metaphor requires that
neither be used.
When it comes to using a metaphor device in
poetry, a poet can either make the entire poem a
metaphor for something, or put little metaphors
throughout the poem.
• The following poem is one big metaphor.
An exaggeration for the sake of
emphasis.
Examples:
I may sweat to death.
The blood bank needs a river of blood.
Giving human characteristics to
inanimate objects, ideas, or
animals.
Example:
The sun stretched its lazy
fingers over the valley.
A word or image that signifies
something other than what is
literally represented.
Examples:
Dark or black images in poems are often used to
symbolize death.
Light or white images are often used to symbolize life.
Using words to create a picture
in the reader’s mind.
Forms of Poetry
Poetry that follows no rules. Just
about anything goes.
This does not mean that it uses no devices, it just means tha
type of poetry does not follow traditional conventions such as
punctuation, capitalization, rhyme scheme, rhythm and mete
Fog
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then, moves on.
No Rhyme
No Rhythm
No Meter
This is
free verse.
A reference to another piece of
orRomeo
to history.
Example: “She hath literature
Dian’s wit” (from
and Juliet).
This is an allusion to Roman mythology and the
goddess Diana.
The three most common types of allusion refer to
mythology, the Bible, and Shakespeare’s writings.
Other Forms of Poetry
• Narrative- poem tells a story in verse.
Narrative poems often have elements
similar to those in short stories, such as
plot and character.
• Haiku- a three line Japanese poem verse
form. The first and third lines each have 5
syllables and the second line has 7
syllables. So, 5-7-5.
Other Forms of Poetry
• Lyric- poem expresses thoughts and
feelings of a single speaker, often in highly
musical verse. This may be why words to
songs are called lyrics.
• Ballads- songlike poems that tell a story,
often dealing with adventure and romance.
Again, in music most love songs are called
ballads.
Other Forms of Poetry
• Concrete- poems shaped to look like their
subjects. The poet arranges the line to create a
picture on the page.
• Limericks- humorous, rhyming, five-line poems
with a specific rhythm pattern and rhyme
scheme. Ex-There was an Old Man in a boat,
Who said, 'I'm afloat, I'm afloat!' When they
said, 'No! you ain't! ‘He was ready to faint, That
unhappy Old Man in a boat.
• Rhyming Couplets- pairs of rhyming lines,
usually of the same meter and length
Poetry should be read aloud!
• Poetry Outloud National Champion 2009
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SJeGjAzvs8
• An Evening of Poetry, Music and the Written Word at the
White House, President and First Lady Obama
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUfekqAJHeI
• James Earl Jones reciting from Othello by Shakespeare
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJybA1emr_g&featur
e=SeriesPlayList&p=1ECEA36D759093A1
• Billy Collins, “The Dead” with animation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuTNdHadwbk
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