Analyze and interpret poetry in written and spoken forms.
Know & use poetry terminology, types of poems, and features of poetry.
Connect poetry to human experience.
Be able to use reader response and literary analysis techniques.
What is poetry?
Poetry rebels against your definitions… it is but it isn’t, it can be but it doesn’t need to be, it might but it doesn’t always.
Poetry can’t by pinned down by your logic or need to know it- poetry just is.
Poetry doesn’t want to be shackled by your limitations or told who to be. Poetry just is.
Nobody sits around reading poetry just for fun (well, some people do, but…) poetry smacks you in the face with an epiphany when you least expect it.
Poetry tends to be about the economy of language- using words, carefully, well, chiselling words out of stone cold marble into something beautiful.
Pithy statements, carefully crafted images, and word play are more common in poetry.
Poetry tends to be more about story and emotion than cold hard logic.
Poetry tends to “spill out” and deal with emotion, intense human experiences, or insights into what it means to be human.
There is a poem for everyone. You just have to find it.
Do not do this to poetry:
I hate you poetry! You mean nothing to me!
I refuse to accept you for who you are poetry… you must change into what I want you to be.
It’s what I think so there is no right or wrong answer (well, yes… but there is weak or faulty interpretation that doesn’t take into account the text, poet’s intent, devices, or poem…)
Vivisection- dissecting poetry like a biology experiment while it’s alive and breathing, ripping it apart so much that you can’t put it back together to make sense of what it is.
Take a moment. Think back on the last few slides. Review. Write yourself a little note about how you and poetry can be friends.
Different formats of poems
Poetry tends to be divided into two groups: those with rules and those without rules.
How can you tell?
How many lines are in the poem? Some poems have rules about the number of lines- sonnets have only 14 lines (no more, no less).
How many syllables are in each line? Is there a pattern? Some poems must have a regular pattern of meter or number of syllables per line (blank verse must have 10 stressed / unstressed syllables per line).
What is the rhyme scheme or pattern of end rhyme? Some poems have rules about rhyme (limerick = aabba)
What is the topic or purpose of the poem? Does the poem describe nature or emotions? Is the poem about grief or love? Is the poem telling a story?
Terms of line arrangement
STANZA= groupings of lines of poetry (like a paragraph in prose writing)
Two lines = couplet
Four lines = quatrain
Five lines = cinquain
Six lines = sestet
Eight lines = octave
Paragraph groupings = similar themes and topics.
Look for main ideas in each stanza.
Some forms require rules for each stanza (problem, solution, ideal).
Free Verse Poetry
Most common form of modern poetry.
Has no rules of topic, subject, number of lines, rhyme scheme, meter, or anything else. May rhyme, but no real pattern & doesn’t have to.
Can be whatever it wants.
More about the words and ideas without being constrained by rules.
When in doubt- it’s probably free verse if it follows no other pattern.
Some poems have rules. The rules can be about topic / purpose, number of lines, rhyme scheme, or syllables per line (meter).
Simple formula = rhyme or don’t rhyme
Blank verse has no rhyme but ten syllables in each line.
Sonnets have rules about topic, lines, stanza, rhyme scheme, origin.
Haiku, Limerick, Cinquain, Acrostic, Tanka - short forms with clear rules.
5/ 7 / 5 syllables per line
Describes nature as a metaphor for life lessons
Japanese in origin- simplicity, aesthetics, beauty, depth related to Zen Buddhism
Clear rhythm and meter makes a sing song effect. (8, 8, 5,5, 8-9)
Line one introduces a person from somewhere.
Line two explains something ridiculous about them.
Line three and four begin a story
Line five ends with a twist or surprise.
A lady from near Lake Louise
Declared she was bothered by fleas
She used gasoline
And later was seen
Sailing over the hills and the trees.
Express a single, powerful emotional experience.
Use techniques of meter to build rhythm, rhyme to make patterns, and melody to make it catchy.
Often have a chorus like song lyrics.
Traditional formal type of poetry using formal and sincere language.
Song lyrics sorta count -ish.
Lyric - ode / elegy / ballad
Lyrics poems are like song lyrics- meant to be musical, meant to be emotional expressions of a feeling.
Lyrics can combine with other types of poem since it’s about the purpose, not the lines / rhyme / etc.
Odes= express joy, gratitude or amazement- praising someone or something.
Elegy = like a eulogy, grieve for someone or something that is lost
Ballad= lyric + narrative- poem that tells a story with a chorus like song structure.
Sonnet= lyric + formula.
14 line poem written in iambic pentameter (10 syllables per line).
Italian / Petrarchan
One octave and a sestet abbaabba cdecde
States a vision / desire / problem offers solution
English / Shakespearean
Four quatrains and a rhyming couplet (abab cdcd efef gg).
States a thesis or problem, considers other points of view, couplet is the conclusion.
Traditional lyric poetry- almost always about love and death, formal courting, the end is always profound, uses techniques of songs with strong meter, rhythm, sound devices, etc.
Narrative = tells a story (not an anecdote- must have characters, conflict, follow story plot structure, etc.).
Can be combined with ballad- a type of lyric poetry that tells a story with a chorus.
Epic= typically longer- book length poems.
The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes
The Odyssey by Homer
Poems which teach an explicit moral lesson. Rarely used in “literary” poems but common in children’s collections or anthologies that support a specific p.o.v. (Chicken Soup for the Soul, Biblical poems, etc.).
Tend to be formal in structure, often relying on a rhyme scheme and strict meter.
Always have a pithy moral statement.
Poetry is meant to be read aloud so it contains many devices of sound that you can only find by reading it aloud.
People find it easier to express ideas musically- sound devices work well with this.
Sound devices in poetry create cadence, rhythm, and melodic patterns.
Identify and apply all literary, figurative, and sound devices in the poem.
Apply your understanding. Techniques have a purpose= why did the author use this? Show your knowledge.
Outline ideas into a logical format- explain yourself.
In Latin, invictus means “unconquered” It’s a poem about not fighting. There are souls and its awesome how so cool the poet is I love poetry because of this poem. It’s a famous poem by some guy named Henry. Everyone knows and loves this poem. I had no idea how amazing poetry could be until this poem moved my spirit so good.
This poem is about some guy who was digging a hole and he fell into the pit so he must be a loser because he like stayed in there and spend all night and complains but hes dumb. Even though he does nothing he says his awesome and he’s really stupid it was dumb poem and I am bored by poetry why should I do this.
Or you could do this to “Invictus”
W.E. Henley’s poem “Invictus” is about the unconquerable strength human beings can have if they choose to survive. The narrator has had bad luck and suffered “the bludgeonings of chance,” and the “menace of the years.” Clearly he has had some bad times. But in the end he does not “wince”, nor complain, nor “cry aloud” because he just doesn’t give up. The format and style of the poem imply an plodding determination with the meter and rhythm and the tone of the poem clearly indicates perserverance. In the end, the poet becomes “the master of [his] fate” because he worked hard to live his life and build a dream.