introduction to poetry—billy collins
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DESCRIPTIONIntroduction To Poetry—Billy Collins. I ask them to take a poem and hold it up to the light like a color slide or press an ear against its hive. I say drop a mouse into a poem and watch him probe his way out, or walk inside the poem's room and feel the walls for a light switch. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
Basic Elements of Poetry
Introduction To PoetryBilly CollinsI ask them to take a poemand hold it up to the lightlike a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poemand watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's roomand feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterskiacross the surface of a poemwaving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to dois tie the poem to a chair with ropeand torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hoseto find out what it really means.
1Basic Elements of Poetry2Rhythm This is the music made by the statements of the poem, which includes the syllables in the lines. The best method of understanding this is to read the poem aloud, and understand the stressed and unstressed syllables.
Listen for the sounds and the music made when we hear the lines spoken aloud. How do the words sound with each other? How do the words flow when they are linked with one another? Does it sound right? Do the words fit with each other? These are the things you consider while studying the rhythm of the poem.3MeterMeter refers to the pattern of syllables in a line of poetry. The most basic unit of measure in a poem is the syllable and the pattern of syllables in a line, from stressed to unstressed or vice versa. This is the meter. Syllables are paired two and three at a time, depending on the stresses in the sentence.
4Iambic PentameterTwo syllables together, or three if its a three-syllable construction, is known as a foot. So in a line of poetrythe cowwould be considered one foot. Because when you say the words,theis unstressed andcowis stressed, it can be represented asda DUM.An unstressed/stressed foot is known as an iamb. Thats where the term iambic comes from.5Pentameter is simply penta, which means 5, meters. So a line of poetry written in pentameter has 5 feet, or 5 sets of stressed and unstressed syllables. In basiciambic pentameter, a line would have 5 feet of iambs, which is an unstressed and then a stressed syllable. For example:If you would put the key inside the lockThis line has 5 feet, so its written in pentameter. And the stressing pattern is all iambs:if YOU | would PUT | the KEY | inSIDE | the LOCKda DUM | da DUM | da DUM | da DUM | da DUM
7SonnetA sonnet is a poem that expresses a single, complete thought, idea, or sentiment.A sonnet is a poem consisting of 14 lines (iambic pentameter) with a particular rhyming scheme:Examples of a rhyming scheme: #1) abab cdcd efef gg #2) abba cddc effe gg #3) abba abba cdcd cd8Breakdown Sonnet FormQuatrainOctaveCouplet 9Sonnet 18Shall 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 dimmed;And every fair from fair sometime declines,By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade,When in eternal lines to time thou growest.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.10Whose woods these are I think I know.His house is in the village though;He will not see me stopping hereTo watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queerTo stop without a farmhouse nearBetween the woods and frozen lakeThe darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shakeTo ask if there is some mistake.The only other sounds the sweepOf easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep.11Villanelle A villanelle is one of the toughest forms of poetryto write. This is, in part, because the villanelle is a form that relies on repetition, which makes it hard for the author to progress further into the poem without it having a feeling of notmovingforward. When done right, however, the villanelle is a truly amazing poetic form to write in.13Villanelle The villanelle consists of 19 lines. These lines are separated into six stanzas, all of which have three lines except the last, which has four lines.In a villanelle, there are two lines that will be constantly repeated throughout the entire poem, so its important to choose these two lines well.They have to be something that can work well in many contexts and that can progress the poem towards a conclusion without sounding like youre repeating the same thing over and over again.14A1bA2
abA1(refrain)A2(refrain)15Writing VillanelleEdwin A. Robinson The first thing you need for a villanelle is a pair of rhyming lines that are the heart of your meaning
They are all gone away
There is nothing more to say.16Now put an unrhymed line between these two, to make a three-line stanza:
They are all gone away,The House is shut and still,There is nothing more to say.
(This is your first stanza, five more to go) 17The 2nd stanza begins with a line that rhymes with the basic couplet, a line that rhymes with the middle line you added, and (this is the key to this form) the first line of the couplet repeated:
Through broken walls and grayThe winds blow bleak and shrill:They are all gone away.18The 3rd stanza has a first line rhyming with "away" and "say," followed by a line rhyming with "still," and then the second line of the couplet repeated:
Nor is there one todayTo speak them good or ill:There is nothing more to say.19You see how the two lines of the base couplet become more and more meaningful with each repetition. That is why the success of the form depends so much on the careful selection of the couplet.20The poem then goes on this way for a total of five three-line stanzas, alternating the two base lines, and ends with a sixth stanza that adds the second line of the stanza one more time:Why is it then we strayAround the shrunken sill?They are all gone away.
And our poor fancy-playFor them is wasted skill:There is nothing more to say.
There is ruin and decayIn the House on the Hill:They are all gone away,There is nothing more to say.
21Do not go gentle into that good night,Old age should burn and rave at close of day;Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.
Though Wise men at their end know dark is right,Because their words had forked no lightning theyDo not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how brightTheir frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sightBlind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.Do not go gentle into that good night.Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
22SestinaThe sestina follows a strict pattern of the repetition of the initial six end-words of the first stanza through the remaining five six-line stanzas, culminating in a three-line envoi. The lines may be of any length, though in its initial incarnation, the sestina followed a syllabic restriction. The form is as follows, where each numeral indicates the stanza position and the letters represent end-words:1. ABCDEF2. FAEBDC3. CFDABE4. ECBFAD5. DEACFB6. BDFECA7. (envoi) ECA or ACE
A Miracle for BreakfastAt six o'clock we were waiting for coffee,waiting for coffee and the charitable crumbthat was going to be served from a certain balcony--like kings of old, or like a miracle.It was still dark. One foot of the sunsteadied itself on a long ripple in the river.
The first ferry of the day had just crossed the river.It was so cold we hoped that the coffeewould be very hot, seeing that the sunwas not going to warm us; and that the crumbwould be a loaf each, buttered, by a miracle.At seven a man stepped out on the balcony.
He stood for a minute alone on the balconylooking over our heads toward the river.A servant handed him the makings of a miracle,consisting of one lone cup of coffeeand one roll, which he proceeded to crumb,his head, so to speak, in the clouds--along with the sun.
Was the man crazy? What under the sunwas he trying to do, up there on his balcony!Each man received one rather hard crumb,which some flicked scornfully into the river,and, in a cup, one drop of the coffee.Some of us stood around, waiting for the miracle.
I can tell what I saw next; it was not a miracle.A beautiful villa stood in the sunand from its doors came the smell of hot coffee.In front, a baroque white plaster balconyadded by birds, who nest along the river,--I saw it with one eye close to the crumb--
and galleries and marble chambers. My crumbmy mansion, made for me by a miracle,through ages, by insects, birds, and the riverworking the stone. Every day, in the sun,at breakfast time I sit on my balconywith my feet up, and drink gallons of coffee.
We licked up the crumb and swallowed the coffee.A window across the river caught the sunas if the miracle were working, on the wrong balcony.BalladA popular narrative song passed down orally. In the English tradition, it usually follows a form of rhymed (abcb)quatrainsalternating four-stress and three-stress lines. Folk (or traditional) ballads are anonymous and recount tragic, comic, or heroic stories with emphasis on a ce