poetry basics: introduction to poetry - analysis and forms

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Introduction to basic poetry analysis and forms of poetry.


  • 1.A poem is a composition in verse. It paints pictures by means of poetic devices such as figurative language, rhythm and rhyme.

2. Poets and TheirTimes Poets reflect the events and ideas of their times through poetry. Understanding of a poets time may lead to an understanding of his ideas. Knowledge of a poets background also gives us insight into his intention. We refer to schools of poets: Metaphysical Poets (John Donne) Romantic Poets (Wordsworth) War Poets (Rupert Brooke) 3. Theme/Main Idea Form Diction (Word Choice) Tone (Attitude) Imagery Rhythm Rhyme Metre 4. Narrative Poetry: Ballad, Epic, Allegory, Dramatic Monologue Lyric: Sonnet (Petrarchan, Shakespearean, Mo dern), Ode, Elegy. 5. Analysis of Poetry Theme/Idea Each poem conveys the messages or intentions of the poet and these may be explicit (0bvious) or implicit (implied). The poem may be a narrative, which tells a story, or a lyric, which describes the personal feelings of the poet. 6. Analysis of Poetry Form A poem is written in a particular form. Poems are usually written in lines. These lines can be grouped into stanzas. Enjambment or run-on lines occur in poetry where there is no punctuation at the end of a line. The poets thoughts remain unbroken. 7. Analysis of Poetry Diction The poets use of words creates atmosphere and sets the poem in its correct time and place. Word choice influences rhythm and mood. In a rhyming poem, appropriate word choice is crucial. Jargon and slang may be used for effect. The use of repetition is also an effective device. 8. Analysis of Poetry Tone (Attitude) The tone of the poem reveals the poets subjective views and attitude to the reader and to the subject. Tone contributes to the mood or atmosphere of the poem. Best descriptive words for tone: Friendly Sharp Sarcastic Ironic Angry Humorous Condescending (Image the poetsTONE OFVOICE hear the poet reading his/her poem out loud) 9. Analysis of Poetry Imagery Poetry is a combination of literal and figurative language. Imagery conjures up word pictures these affect us emotionally and intellectually. Metaphors, similes, personifact ion. Alliteration, assonance, conson ance, onomatopoeia. 10. Analysis of Poetry Rhythm Rhythm sets the pace and should match the meaning. Slow rhythm = sombre meaning. Quick pace = happy mood. When reading a poem aloud, FEEL the change of pace and how it affects the mood of the poem. Pace (tempo) and pause affect rhythm. 11. Analysis of Poetry Rhyme Rhyme depends on sound, not sight. Rhyme schemes differ. Couplet: Two consecutive rhyming lines. Quatrain: Four-lined stanza. Aabb = pair rhyme Abab = alternate/cross rhyme Aabb = enclosed rhyme Abca = free verse 12. Analysis of Poetry Metre Metre is the number of stresses, beats or feet in a line of poetry. Shakespeare used the iambic (rising rhythm of two syllables) pentameter (five feet) to write his sonnets. 13. NARRATIVE POETRY The Ballad The Epic TheAllegory Dramatic Monologue THE LYRIC Elizabethan Sonnet Petrarchan Sonnet Modern Sonnet The Ode The Elegy 14. A narrative form tells a story. It usually has a beginning, middle, climax and conclusion. Direct and narrated speech can be used. Often composed to record historical, political and family events. Passed down from generation to generation. Example: The Pied Piper of Hamelin 15. The Lyric is a poem with a musical or song- like quality. The Lyric conveys the personal thoughts of the poet. The Lyric was originally accompanied by the lyre. This form was favoured by romantic poets likeWordsworth, Keats and Shelley. 16. Oldest form of narrative verse. At one stage it was sung. Subject matter: Love, death, war, brav ery, adventure, action. Rhythm has strong beat. Today = songwriters. 17. Long, narrative poem telling the story of an historical figure or event. Has been referred to as a novel in verse. 18. TheAllegory is a narrative poem that appears in the form of an extended metaphor. It conveys a veiled moral meaning. Example: Faerie Queene by Spencer. 19. Spoken in the first person (I). The speaker addresses an invisible recipient. From his words, we learn more about the speaker. Story line = narrative. Example: Robert Browning 20. Shakespearean Sonnet English Sonnet 14 Lines Three quatrains + rhyming couplet. Iambic pentameter. Couplet: Ties up the images and feelings and states the philosophy of the poet. 21. Italian Sonnet Octave (8 lines) + Sestet (6 lines). Octave: The Problem Sestet: The Solution Break =Volta Octave: abbaabba Sestet: cdecde or cdcdc or cddcef. 22. These often combine aspects of the Shakespearean and Petrarchan forms. They may create their own forms, but always retain the 14 lines. 23. The Ode is an address or tribute in praise of something. It describes the personal feelings of the poet. Originally sung as accompaniment to a Greek Dance. Later: Praise of inanimate object. 24. A reflective poem or lament dealing with topics such as death or mourning. Examples: Elegy written in a Country Churchyard by Gray and Lycidas by Milton. 25. Poetry - Concluding Thoughts A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language. (W.H. Auden) To have great poets, there must be great audiences. (WaltWhitman) Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. (Plato)


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