Poetry Studies
ELACCL9-10RL4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases
as they are used in the text, including figurative and
connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of
specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the
language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal
or informal tone.)
First, what IS poetry?
• Poetry is a form of literature, spoken or written, that
emphasizes rhythm, other intricate patterns of sound
and imagery, and the many possible ways that words
can suggest meaning.
• Whereas ordinary speech and writing, called prose, are
organized in sentences and paragraphs, poetry in its
simplest definition is organized in units called lines as
well as in sentences, and often in stanzas, which are
the paragraphs of poetry.
• The oldest and most longstanding genres for classifying
poetry are , a long narrative poem centered around a
national hero, and , a short poem expressing intense
emotion. (Think the Iliad or Dante’s Inferno)
Elements of Poetry
• (see your handout as well…)
• Sound devices are used by poets to add
meaning or experience
– Alliteration, assonance, repetition, etc….
• Figurative language is used by poets to create
strong images and convey a meaning beyond
the literal
– Metaphor, simile, imagery, hyperbole, etc…
A few Forms of Poetry
• Lyric Poetry: melodic verse that expresses the observation
of a single speaker; unlike narrative poems, do NOT tell a
complete story but rather build to a moment of insight
• Narrative Poetry: a poem that tells a story. Ballads are one
type of narrative poetry.
• Free Verse: poems that are not written using strict meter or
rhyme, but that still are recognizable as 'poetry' by virtue of
complex patterns that readers can perceive to be part of a
coherent whole.
• Haiku: Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines
of five, seven, and five moras (a unit of sound that
determines syllable weight in some languages) , usually
about some form of nature.
Definition: The repetition of the same or similar sounds at the
beginning of words such as tongue twisters.
• She sells seashells by the seashore
• "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." (Henry David
Thoreau, Walden)
• "A moist young moon hung above the mist of a neighboring
meadow." (Vladimir Nabokov, Conclusive Evidence)
• "The daily diary of the American dream." (advertising slogan for
The Wall Street Journal)
Alliteration Tasks
• Name schools with alliterative names and
mascots (example: Harrison Hoyas).
• Describe a classmate in one alliterative sentence.
• Write a newspaper headline using alliteration.
End Rhyme
End Rhyme
Definition: Similar sounds which occur at the end of two or more lines of verse.
“Bed in Summer” by Robert Louis Stevenson
In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?
End Rhyme Tasks
• Make a list of outdoor things that rhyme.
• List pairs of two-syllable rhyming words.
• Describe our classroom using four lines with
end rhyme.
Internal Rhyme
As long as the wrong feels right it’s like I’m in flight
Internal Rhyme
Definition: Similar sounds which occur between two or more
words in the same line of verse (usually at the middle and end of
the line); the rhyme comes in the middle of the line rather than
the end.
"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door;
Only this, and nothing more."
Internal Rhyme Tasks
• Write four lines that describe a ride on a bicycle.
Use at least two internal rhymes.
• Write six lines that all have a word inside them
that rhymes with “monkey.” Only one of those
lines can actually use the word “monkey.”
Definition: It is the repetition of consonant sounds within a line of verse. Consonance
is similar to alliteration except consonance does not limit the repeated sound to the
initial letter of a word; the repetition generally occurs at the ends of syllables.
Consonance is the repetition, at close intervals, of the final consonants of accented
syllables or important words , especially at the ends of words.
think blank
strong thing
pretty little turtles
asks fussy questions
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
Consonance Tasks
• List six pairs of words that have the same
consonant sound at the end.
• Write five non-rhyming lines that use
consonance. Use a different end sound in
each line.
Mellow wedding bells
Definition: The repetition or a pattern of similar vowel sounds
in the middle of words
strike and grind
hat and man
"It beats as it sweeps as it cleans." (Advertising slogan for
Hoover vacuum cleaners)
Strips of tinfoil winking like people ("The Bee Meeting” by
Sylvia Plath)
Assonance Tasks
Write six sentences that include at least two, but no more than three, of the
words below. However, the words must come from different columns. You
may add 'ing', 'ed' or other endings to some of the words as appropriate.
wheel peep
dream feed
sleep lean
stream greed beneath
creep green scream lead
cheat steal
queen team need
jeans steam speed belief
meet real
sheep mean cream freed underneath beak
So, I'm looking for sentences such as:
A thief came on creeping feet.
needed to speak to the chief.
Diction Larry
Definition: the poet's choice of words. The poet chooses each word carefully so that
both its meaning and sound contribute to the tone and feeling of the poem. The poet
must consider a word's:
denotation - its definition according to the dictionary
connotation - the emotions, thoughts and ideas associated with and evoked by the
Some words are neutral, but can have negative or positive connotations. For example,
the word island is neutral. When it refers to a vacation on a Greek island, the word has
positive connotations. When it describes being shipwrecked on an island, the word
has negative connotations. Also, words associated with smell can be either positive or
negative. For example, "scent" is positive, while "odor" is negative.
young citizen
Diction tasks
• For each of the following words, find a positive and negative
counterpart: sound, light, blood, hair, homework, plant.
• Decide whether the sentences below are positive or negative in
– I swallowed the mass of mush on my plate.
– I savored the combination of flavors on my plate.
• For each of the following sentences, change the diction to either a
positive or negative tone.
– Mike wrote a letter.
– The air in the room was warm.
– Even though I liked the customer, I could not agree with her reason for
Definition: The grammatical arrangement of words in a sentence; the organization of
words, phrases and clauses; the word order. If the order of the words is "wrong," the
emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual impact of the words will be lost. After
reading the example below you will "feel" the impact of the "right order."
L fourteen I married My Lord, you."
years I lived with my husband."
"I married you, My Lord, at fourteen."
"I lived with my husband for thirty-five years."
In traditional poetry syntax was often altered/reversed in order to facilitate a rhyme
scheme such as in this poem by A.E. Housman. 'Among' is thrown to the end of the
second line in order to rhyme with 'young'. Modern poets tend not to alter syntax in
this way.
When I would muse in boyhood
The wild green woods among
And nurse resolves and fancies
Because the world was young…
Syntax tasks
• Change the order of the following sentences to
“regular” word order.
– Rarely am I late for my classes.
– Hardly a week goes by without a disaster happening in
some part of the world.
– Seldom have I read such a good book.
– Little did we know about what was going on at that time.
– Rich as you may be, you can't buy sincere friends.
• Write two sentences in which the word order is
different from “normal” speech patterns.

Poetry Studies - Harrison High School