Poetry: An Essential Review A brief, essential review of lyric poetry, which are short poems packing an idea and an emotional response to that idea. Poetry: An Essential Review Lyric poems can be thought of as snapshots of a moment in time that have some meaning, some significance to the poet. Instead of using a camera, however, the poet uses words to express the idea and emotion of the moment. The poet uses words to make pictures, just as you might use a camera to take a picture of a beautiful sunset or to capture forever a special moment with friends or family. Poetry: An Essential Review In the same way as a special photograph, at the heart of each lyric poem is an idea and an emotional response to that idea. This is the soul or core of any lyric poem, the poet expressing feelings and thoughts about his/her life experiences in the world around him/her. A poet chooses to reveal this idea and emotional response using the tools available to him/her as a writer. Poetry: An Essential Review A writer chooses the tools that best work, in the same way a carpenter uses hammer, nails, a level and saw to build a house, or a cook uses flour, eggs, flavour and milk to make a cake. The more skilled the builder or cook, the more interesting and enjoyable will be the house or cake. In the same way, the skill of the poet using the tools at his/her disposal will produce the more interesting and captivating poem. But what are these tools? Poetry: An Essential Review The first tool available to the poet is words. This ingredient is as essential as wood to the builder or flour to the cakemaker. The term we use to discuss the use of words by a poet is the word diction. Poetry: An Essential Review Diction is simply the word choices the poet makes. But finding the exact word to use to be the most effective at his/her goal, which is to communicate those two things – - what are they again? - is part of a pain-staking and timely process. Poetry: An Essential Review When discussing word choice, we must differentiate between the denotation of a word and the connotation of that word. Poetry: An Essential Review Denotation is the objective dictionary meaning of a word. Connotation is the subjective, emotional meaning of a word. Poetry: An Essential Review An example that might help to understand this concept is the word “vomit.” If we look it up on Dictionary.com, we find the word means: “to eject the contents of the stomach through the mouth; regurgitate; throw up” or “to eject from the stomach through the mouth.” This is the word’s denotation. Poetry: An Essential Review But the word’s connotation for most of us would definitely be a negative one. For example, if a poet says of the words of a lover to a loved one, “She vomited words of love into his ear”, the meaning is substantially different than if he or she used verbs like “cooed”, “whispered” or “breathed.” But remember, and this is important: the choice of a word is entirely dependent on the intention of the writer and what he/she wants to communicate. Poetry: An Essential Review The second tool a poet has at his/her disposal is imagery. There are three categories of imagery: A. Sensuous Imagery B. Figurative Imagery and C. Symbolic Imagery Let’s take a look at these categories. Poetry: An Essential Review A. Sensuous Imagery Simply put, sensuous imagery is the choice of words by a poet in which our senses are “stimulated.” The poet wants us to hear and feel and see the things he/she is experiencing to bring us more immediately to the scene or emotions being described. The poet wants us to experience the poem just as we experience the world around us in every day life…through our senses. Poetry: An Essential Review There are 6 types of sensuous imagery that we will examine. They are: Visual: Words that appeal to our sense of vision. Auditory: Words that appeal to our sense of hearing. Tactile: Words that appeal to our sense of touch. Gustatory: Words that appeal to our sense of taste. Olfactory: Words that appeal to our sense of smell. Motor: Words that appeal to our sense of motion. Let’s look at real examples of these to help us understand. Poetry: An Essential Review “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens. What words in this short poem appeal to our sense of sight? http://www.roberthuntstudio.com/alterego/archives/red-wheelbarrow2.jpg Poetry: An Essential Review “This Is Just to Say”: William Carlos Williams I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold Are there words in this short poem that appeal to your sense of taste? Or touch? In the following poem by Archibald Lampman, what words appeal to our sense of touch? Of sight? Of hearing? Of motion? Poetry: An Essential Review “Winter Uplands”: Archibald Lampman The frost that stings like fire upon my cheek, The loneliness of this forsaken ground, The long white drift upon whose powdered peak I sit in the great silence as one bound; The rippled sheet of snow where the wind blew Across the open fields for miles ahead; The far-off city towered and roofed in blue A tender line upon the western red; The stars that singly, then in flocks appear, Like jets of silver from the violet dome, So wonderful, so many and so near, And then the golden moon to light me home— The crunching snowshoes and the stinging air, And silence, frost and beauty everywhere. Poetry: An Essential Review B. Figurative Imagery. Figurative imagery are figures of speech that help us to see things or understand things in a fresh new way. There are six to which we’ll give our attention here. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Simile: Comparisons using “like” or “as” Metaphor: Direct comparisons Personification: Giving life-like qualities to an inanimate object Apostrophe: Addressing the dead or absent as if alive or present Hyperbole: Gross exaggeration not meant to deceive Metonymy: Using a part to represent the whole Let’s take a closer look at each. Poetry: An Essential Review 1. Simile: A simile compares two unlike objects, finding the quality they share, using “like” or “as”. Again, the poet wants these comparisons to be fresh and new to engage us in our experience with the poem. Let’s check out some examples. In the following piece by Christina Rossetti, can you find a number of similes? What two things are being compared? Name some visual imagery from the second stanza. It may help you to know that “halcyon” means calm and peaceful; “dais” is a raised platform where people are placed to give them respect and honour; and “vair” are furs. Poetry: An Essential Review “A BIRTHDAY”: Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) MY heart is like a singing bird Whose nest is in a water'd shoot; My heart is like an apple-tree Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit; My heart is like a rainbow shell That paddles in a halcyon sea; My heart is gladder than all these, Because my love is come to me. Raise me a daïs of silk and down; Hang it with vair and purple dyes; Carve it in doves and pomegranates, And peacocks with a hundred eyes; Work it in gold and silver grapes, In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys; Because the birthday of my life Is come, my love is come to me. Poetry: An Essential Review 2. A metaphor is a comparison of two unlike objects with a quality in common, just as in a simile, but a metaphor is a direct comparison. Let’s checkout a poem that contains examples of metaphors. Ask yourself: What is the metaphor in the following poem? What are the common attributes to the two things compared? Poetry: An Essential Review “I Am a Rock”: Paul Simon A winter’s day In a deep and dark DecemberI am alone Gazing from my window To the streets below On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. I am a rock; I am an island. I build walls. A fortress deep and mighty That none may penetrate. I have no need of friendship; Friendship causes pain. Its laughter and its loving I disdain. I am a rock; I am an island. (more) Poetry: An Essential Review Don't talk of love. Well, I've heard the word before; It’s sleeping in my memory. I wont disturb the slumber Of feelings that have died. If I never loved I never would have cried. I am a rock, I am an island. I have my books And my poetry to protect me. I am shielded in my armor, Hiding in my room Safe within my tomb. I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock; I am an island. And a rock feels no pain, And an island never cries. http://youtube.com/watch?v=X4_-uinXzwo Poetry: An Essential Review 3. Personification is the giving of life-like qualities to a non-living or inanimate object. What is personified in the following poem? Why do you suppose the poet chose to use personification in this way? Poetry: An Essential Review “The Sound of the Stream”: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep, And round the pebbly beaches far and wide I heard the first wave of the rising tide Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep; A voice out of the silence of the deep, A sound mysteriously multiplied As of a cataract from the mountain's side, Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep. So comes to us at times, from the unknown And inaccessible solitudes of being, The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul; And inspirations, that we deem our own, Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing Of things beyond our reason or control. Poetry: An Essential Review 4. Another figure of speech is apostrophe. This is when the poet addresses the absent as if present or the inanimate as if alive. The most famous example would be the poem “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, in which the speaker is speaking to the absent star as if it were alive and present….a double whammy apostrophe! Here’s another… Poetry: An Essential Review “Dandelion”: Hilda Conkling O little soldier with the golden helmet, What are you guarding on my lawn? You with your green gun And your yellow beard, Why do you stand so stiff? There is only the grass to fight! Poetry: An Essential Review 5. The next figure of speech is hyperbole. Hyperbole is a gross exaggeration that is not intended to deceive, but used for emphasis. Example: “I’ve told you a million times not to shoot fireworks in the house!” Poetry: An Essential Review 6. Metonymy is a figure of speech in which part of something represents the whole. Examples: “All hands on deck!” “Friends, Romans, countrymen: lend me your ears!” “May I approach the bench, your honour?” (in this case, it’s the judge the lawyer wants to approach, not the bench itself; the bench represents the judge) Poetry: An Essential Review C. Symbolic Imagery. A symbol is the use of a concrete object to represent an abstract idea. Symbolic imagery, then, is the extended use of a symbol in a poem to communicate meaning. In the following poem, what symbols are used? What abstract ideas do they represent? Poetry: An Essential Review “Up-Hill”: Christina Rossetti Does the road wind up-hill all the way? Yes, to the very end. Will the day's journey take the whole long day? From morn to night, my friend. But is there for the night a resting-place? A roof for when the slow dark hours begin. May not the darkness hide it from my face? You cannot miss that inn. Shall I meet other wayfarers at night? Those who have gone before. Then must I knock, or call when 'ust in sight? They will not keep you standing at that door. Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak? Of labor you shall find the sum. Will there be beds for me and all who seek? Yea, beds for all who come. Poetry: An Essential Review Another set of tools available to the poet, the third in our review, are sound devices. These help bring out the musical qualities of lyric poems. The six we will examine are: a. Alliteration: The repetition of initial sounds b. Assonance: The repetition of vowel sounds c. Consonance: The repetition of consonant sounds d. Euphony: An overall pleasant and calming sound e. Cacophony: An overall harsh, unpleasant sound f. Onomatopoeia: Words that imitate sounds Poetry: An Essential Review Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant or vowel sounds in a line of poetry. The well-known children’s poem, “Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers” illustrates this well. Let’s look at another example. Poetry: An Essential Review “High Flight” by John Gillespie MaGee Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long delirious, burning blue, I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or even eagle flew And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand and touched the face of God. Look for the alliteration used in lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11 & 13. Poetry: An Essential Review B. Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in a line of poetry. Do you remember what consonants are? Let’s re-visit “High Flight”, and find examples of consonance. Poetry: An Essential Review C. Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in a line of poetry. Do you remember what vowels are? Look for assonance in the following poem. Poetry: An Essential Review "REQUIEM" By Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie, Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be, Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill. Poetry: An Essential Review D. Euphony is the use of long vowels and softsounding consonants that result in a poem having an overall sound of quiet, calm and pleasantness. What sounds in the following poem help create a sense of quiet and calm? Let us read the poem, and then make a list of sounds used that create euphony. Poetry: An Essential Review Velvet Shoes: ELINOR WYLIE Let us walk in the white snow In a soundless space; With footsteps quiet and slow, At a tranquil pace, Under veils of white lace. I shall go shod in silk, And you in wool, White as a white cow's milk, More beautiful Than the breast of a gull. We shall walk through the still town In a windless peace; We shall step upon white down, Upon silver fleece, Upon softer than these. We shall walk in velvet shoes: Wherever we go Silence will fall like dews On white silence below. We shall walk in the snow. Poetry: An Essential Review E. Cacophony is the use of hard consonants and short vowel sounds that give a poem an unpleasant, harsh sound. Look at the following excellent example. How does the harshness of the sound of this poem help communicate the idea within it? After reading it, make a list of the harsh sounds used. By the way, the expression “Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori” means “It is good and honorable to die for one’s country.” Poetry: An Essential Review Dulce Et Decorum Est : Wilfred Owen Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of disappointed shells that dropped behind. GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime.-Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. (more) Poetry: An Essential Review “Dulce Et Decorum Est” (continued) In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori. Poetry: An Essential Review F. Onomatopoeia is the use of words that imitate the sound they represent. A partial list of words would include “oink”, “bark”, “ring”, “meow”, “clang”, “bang” and hundreds more. Make a list of at least 5 more. Poetry: An Essential Review The fourth group of tools the poet uses to create his/her work are formal devices. Formal devices are the use of form in a poem, or the physical structure of the poem. Let’s focus on two: formal structure and rhythm. Poetry: An Essential Review A poet has the option of a variety of styles for building a poem. Here is a partial list: Stanza: the “paragraphs” in which any poem is divided Ballad: a sung story, divided into 4-line stanzas Sonnet: both types are 14 lines of iambic pentameter, but each is organized differently from the other Elizabethan or English Sonnet Petrarchan or Italian Sonnet Couplets: two rhymed lines of iambic pentameter Blank Verse: 5 feet or “groups” of iambic pentameter Free Verse: a non-regular rhythmic and organic form Concrete: takes a shape that reflects its content Haiku: a three-lined, short poem of Japanese origin Limerick: 5 lines of usually humorous poetry Poetry: An Essential Review Stanzas are the building blocks of poems. It is the name we give the “paragraphs” found in a poem. We’ll see many examples and uses of stanzas as we read poetry. How many stanzas are in the following poem? And to review, how is personification used in this poem? And in what form is the poem written? Be specific! Poetry: An Essential Review “Check” by James Stephens The Night was creeping on the ground! She crept, and did not make a sound Until she reached the tree, And then She covered it, and stole again Along the grass beside the wall. I heard the rustle of her shawl As she threw blackness everywhere Along the sky, the ground, the air, And in the room where I was hid! But, no matter what she did To everything that was without, She could not put my candle out! So I stared at the Night! And she Stared back solemnly at me! Poetry: An Essential Review Ballads are made up of quatrains (four-line stanzas), the typical form being that the first and third lines are of four feet, and the second and fourth lines of three feet. Ballads are probably the oldest poetic form in English. It is a form meant to be sung, and many popular songs are still written is this form. Some relatively recent, famous examples are “The Ode to Billy-Joe”, by Bobbie Gentry or “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot. Poetry: An Essential Review O MY LUVE'S LIKE A RED, RED ROSE by: Robert Burns (1759-1796) O MY Luve's like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June. O, my Luve's like the melodie, That's sweetly play'd in tune. As fair art thou, my bonie lass, So deep in luve am I, And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a' the seas gang dry. Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi' the sun! And I will luve thee still, my dear, While the sands o' life shall run. And fare thee weel, my only luve, And fare thee weel a while! And I will come again, my luve, Tho' it were ten thousand mile! Poetry: An Essential Review “Ode To Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was balin' hay And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat And Mama hollered out the back door "y'all remember to wipe your feet" And then she said "I got some news this mornin' from Choctaw Ridge" "Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge" And Papa said to Mama as he passed around the black-eyed peas "Well, Billy Joe never had a lick of sense, pass the biscuits, please" "There's five more acres in the lower forty I've got to plow" And Mama said it was shame about Billy Joe, anyhow Seems like nothin' ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge And now Billy Joe MacAllister's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge Poetry: An Essential Review And Brother said he recollected when he and Tom and Billie Joe Put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show And wasn't I talkin' to him after church last Sunday night? "I'll have another piece of apple pie, you know it don't seem right" "I saw him at the sawmill yesterday on Choctaw Ridge" "And now you tell me Billie Joe's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge" And Mama said to me "Child, what's happened to your appetite?" "I've been cookin' all morning and you haven't touched a single bite" "That nice young preacher, Brother Taylor, dropped by today" "Said he'd be pleased to have dinner on Sunday, oh, by the way" "He said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge" "And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge" Poetry: An Essential Review A year has come 'n' gone since we heard the news 'bout Billy Joe And Brother married Becky Thompson, they bought a store in Tupelo There was a virus going 'round, Papa caught it and he died last Spring And now Mama doesn't seem to wanna do much of anything And me, I spend a lot of time pickin' flowers up on Choctaw Ridge And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge http://youtube.com/watch?v=CZt5Q-u4crc Poetry: An Essential Review “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead When the skies of November turn gloomy. With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed When the gales of November came early The ship was the pride of the American side Coming back from some mill in Wisconson As the big freighters go it was bigger than most With a crew and the Captain well seasoned. Poetry: An Essential Review Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms When they left fully loaded for Cleveland And later that night when the ships bell rang Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling. The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound And a wave broke over the railing And every man knew, as the Captain did, too, T'was the witch of November come stealing. The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait When the gales of November came slashing When afternoon came it was freezing rain In the face of a hurricane West Wind Poetry: An Essential Review When supper time came the old cook came on deck Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya At 7PM a main hatchway caved in He said fellas it's been good to know ya. The Captain wired in he had water coming in And the good ship and crew was in peril And later that night when his lights went out of sight Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Does anyone know where the love of God goes When the words turn the minutes to hours The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay If they'd fifteen more miles behind her. They might have split up or they might have capsized They may have broke deep and took water And all that remains is the faces and the names Of the wives and the sons and the daughters. Poetry: An Essential Review Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings In the ruins of her ice water mansion Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams, The islands and bays are for sportsmen. And farther below Lake Ontario Takes in what Lake Erie can send her And the iron boats go as the mariners all know With the gales of November remembered. In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald. The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee Superior, they say, never gives up her dead When the gales of November come early. http://youtube.com/watch?v=eS6G_3TTbmE Poetry: An Essential Review Sonnets are another popular poetic form. There are two kinds of sonnets. Both types have 14 lines and are written in iambic pentameter, but they differ in their internal structure. The two types of sonnets are A. Elizabethan or English or Shakespearean B. Petrarchan or Italian Poetry: An Essential Review The Shakespearean sonnet has 14 lines, and has a rhyme scheme of abab, cdcd, efef & gg. The rhyme scheme helps its organization; using it, the poet expresses a thought or problem in three different ways in the first three groups of four lines, and then summarizes in a witty or thoughtful way in the last two lines. Poetry: An Essential Review Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day? by William Shakespeare Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd; But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. Does the rhyme scheme follow the pattern described earlier in these notes? Poetry: An Essential Review The Italian sonnet has 14 lines, and has a rhyme scheme of abba abba & cdecde. The rhyme scheme helps its organization; using it, the poet expresses a thought or problem in the first eight lines (octet) of the poem, and then summarizes or comments on the thought or problem in the last six lines (sestet). Note the rhyme scheme in the following poem, which is written in the form of an apostrophe. The octet expresses the problem, that England is in moral decay; the sestet express the qualities of John Milton that would help England. A classic Italian sonnet. Poetry: An Essential Review "London, 1802" by William Wordsworth Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour: England hath need of thee: she is a fen Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen, Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, Have forfeited their ancient English dower Of inward happiness. We are selfish men; Oh! raise us up, return to us again; And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart; Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea: Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, So didst thou travel on life's common way, In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart The lowliest duties on herself did lay. Poetry: An Essential Review The simplest stanza form is the couplet, two lines which form a rhymed pair. Here are some examples. True wit is nature to advantage dressed, What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed. -- Eve King Whether or not we find what we are seeking is idle, biologically speaking. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay Deck the halls with boughs of holly And have some egg nog; it'll make you jolly. -- Unknown When shall we three meet again, In thunder, lightning, or in rain? -- from Macbeth by William Shakespeare O, what a tangled web we weave When first we practice to deceive! --Sir Walter Scott Poetry: An Essential Review Blank verse is written in iambic pentameter, and is often used in English poetry because it most resembles the rhythm of the English language. All of Shakespeare’s plays were primarily written in blank verse. Poetry: An Essential Review Free verse is an organic form of poetry. It uses irregular rhythm, and rhyme is also used irregularly, both used depending on the needs of the poet. Check out this example by the poet e e cummings. Poetry: An Essential Review Your Little Voice by e.e. cummings your little voice Over the wires came leaping and i felt suddenly dizzy With the jostling and shouting of merry flowers wee skipping high-heeled flames courtesied before my eyes or twinkling over to my side Looked up with impertinently exquisite faces floating hands were laid upon me I was whirled and tossed into delicious dancing up Up with the pale important stars and the Humorous moon dear girl How i was crazy how i cried when i heard and tide and death leaping Sweetly your voice over time Poetry: An Essential Review Concrete poems resemble an object, usually one related to the poem. “A Christmas Tree” by William Burford Star If you are A love compassionate, You will walk with us this year. We face a glacial distance, who are here Huddl’d At your feet. Poetry: An Essential Review Another form used by poets is the haiku. Haikus are three-lined poems, the first line of which contains five syllables, the second line seven syllables, and the third line five syllables. The first two lines usually introduce an image, and the third line makes an unusual but charged connection. Examples: Poetry: An Essential Review A broken pencil tip and a rusty breadknife; no matter: begin. -- Unknown Faceless, just numbered. Lone pixel in the bitmapI, anonymous. -- Chris Spruck Poetry: An Essential Review The last form we’ll look at is the limerick. Limericks consist of five anapestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 of limericks have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another. Lines 3 and 4 of limericks have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other. These poems are often humorous, and sometimes bawdy or “dirty.” Poetry: An Essential Review Here are three limericks by Edward Lear from A Book of Nonsense: 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. There was an Old Person of Buda, Whose conduct grew ruder and ruder; Till at last, with a hammer, They silenced his clamour, By smashing that Person of Buda. There was an Old Lady of Chertsey, Who made a remarkable curtsey; She twirled round and round, Till she sunk underground, Which distressed all the people of Chertsey. Poetry: An Essential Review The second aspect we’ll look at for formal structure is rhythm. There are several ways a poet can create rhythm in a poem (remember, lyric poems are musical beasts, and rhythm is a part of music). We’ll look at three: 1. punctuation, 2. run-on lines and 3. meter. Poetry: An Essential Review Punctuation is a way to create rhythm by starting and stopping, slowing down or speeding up the reading of the poem. Read the following poem with a sharp eye to the way the punctuation helps create rhythm. Poetry: An Essential Review Sweet And Low” by Alfred Tennyson Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon, and blow, Blow him again to me; While my little one, while my pretty one sleeps. Sleep and rest, sleep and rest, Father will come to thee soon; Rest, rest, on mother's breast, Father will come to thee soon; Father will come to his babe in the nest, Silver sails all out of the west Under the silver moon: Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep. Poetry: An Essential Review The use of run-on lines is another tool at the disposal of the poet. This happens when the meaning of the words may only be heard by continuing on from the end of a line of poetry, rather than stopping at the line’s end. Read this next poem to see how the use of runon lines affects the reading and therefore the meaning of the poem. Poetry: An Essential Review In a Hospital by Fred Cogswell in a hospital a breath of infant birth blends with a last-gasp death the child does not know he is alive nor the man that his breathing’s done nor can those watchers who pronounce the one is dead and the other born say with certainty of what they saw before them any more than this “in a hospital we watched two breaths meet in time the rest is theory” Poetry: An Essential Review A third rhythm device a poet has to use is meter. Meter is the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem. There are names for the rhythm patterns a poet can employ. They are: 1. Iambic: unstressed/stressed (te DUM) 2. Trochaic: stressed/unstressed (DUM te) 3. Spondee: stress/stress (DUM DUM) 4. Dactylic: stressed/unstressed/unstressed (DUM te te) 5. Anapestic: unstressed/unstressed/stressed (te te DUM) Let’s check out some examples of each, and how each serves the intention of the poet. Poetry: An Essential Review “Roofs” by Joyce Kilmer The road is wide and the stars are out and the breath of the night is sweet, And this is the time when wanderlust should seize upon my feet. But I'm glad to turn from the open road and the starlight on my face, And to leave the splendour of out-of-doors for a human dwelling place. I never have seen a vagabond who really liked to roam All up and down the streets of the world and not to have a home: The tramp who slept in your barn last night and left at break of day Will wander only until he finds another place to stay. A gypsy-man will sleep in his cart with canvas overhead; Or else he'll go into his tent when it is time for bed. He'll sit on the grass and take his ease so long as the sun is high, But when it is dark he wants a roof to keep away the sky. If you call a gypsy a vagabond, I think you do him wrong, For he never goes a-travelling but he takes his home along. And the only reason a road is good, as every wanderer knows, Is just because of the homes, the homes, the homes to which it goes. They say that life is a highway and its milestones are the years, And now and then there's a toll-gate where you buy your way with tears. It's a rough road and a steep road and it stretches broad and far, But at last it leads to a golden Town where Golden Houses are. (iambic & anapastic) Poetry: An Essential Review “From a Railway Carriage” by by Robert Louis Stevenson Faster than fairies, faster than witches, Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches; And charging along like troops in a battle All through the meadows the horses and cattle: All of the sights of the hill and the plain Fly as thick as driving rain; And ever again, in the wink of an eye, Painted stations whistle by. Here is a child who clambers and scrambles, All by himself and gathering brambles; Here is a tramp who stands and gazes; And here is the green for stringing the daisies! Here is a cart runaway in the road Lumping along with man and load; And here is a mill, and there is a river: Each a glimpse and gone forever! (trochaic & dactyl) Poetry: An Essential Review One two, Buckle my shoe; Three, four, Shut the door; Five, six, Pick up sticks; Seven, eight, Lay them straight; Nine, ten, A big fat hen; Eleven, twelve, Dig and delve Thirteen, fourteen, Maids a-courting Fifteen, sixteen, Maids in the kitchen; Seventeen, eighteen, Maids in waiting; Nineteen, twenty, My stomache’s empty. Poetry: An Essential Review Each repetition of a particular rhythmic pattern is called a foot. Several feet can be identified in a line of poetry. The number of repetitions of a particular rhythmic pattern have names, derived from the number of feet. So, then, one measure or foot is called a monometer; Two feet: Dimeter Three feet: Trimeter Four feet: tetrameter Five feet: pentameter Six feet: hexameter Let’s re-examine the previous poems to determine how many feet of each rhythm there are in a line of the poem. Poetry: An Essential Review That’s it. Review these notes. You can only memorize these notes to know them. Read poems and enjoy! Live long and prosper!