what is poetry? - tom newby .exercise 2.1: what is poetry? ... and syllable counts. nb: ... 1. what
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WHAT IS POETRY?
Exercise 2.1: What is poetry? What do you think poetry is? Does poetry have to rhyme?
Poetry is any literary text which explores sound and rhythm. In
poetry, the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by
the choice of words used or the structure of sentences. The way
these ideas are conveyed to the audience should spark a
different experience in each reader.
Occasionally, a reader may find, that each time they read a particular poem, they find a
new meaning in it. Poetry is a work of art in which each word depends on the words
around it to form patterns, rhythm and meaning. Sometimes a well-written speech can
sound like poetry.
The beauty of poetry is that no matter how long or short a poem is, it expresses a
Poetic Devices Poets have the licence to play with words, the rules of punctuation and grammar. They
sometimes create new words and they use figures of speech and sound devices to paint
word pictures for their audience.
Theme Rhyme Rhythm Mood
Tone Diction Stanzas
Simile Metaphor Personification
Alliteration Assonance Hyperbole
The external structure of poetry
Structures Definition Examples
To discuss the idea being examined in the poem. What is the message or moral
within the poem? What does the poem
make you think about?
Example: Greed, racism, love.
Rhyme Words that have the same sound at the end of the word. We look at the rhyming scheme of a
Not all poems have rhyming words.
Example: feet rhymes with
Love rhymes with dove.
A rhyming scheme could look
like this; a,b,a,b
Rhythm The beat words create using emphasis and syllable counts.
NB: Dont put emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble.
Exampl: There once was a
man from Airfield
Whose backpack was often
He returned home at one
His tablet was gone
And his broken heart was
never fully healed.
Mood The feeling the poem gives the reader after reading.
Example: Depressing and
solemn, or thought provoking.
Tone The voice that is used by the speaker in the poem. How should the poem be read?
Example: The tone could be
serious or humorous.
Diction The poets choice of words. Example: as I haunt the sunny streets (rather than just walk).
Stanzas The verses of the poem. The lines a poem is divided into.
The internal structure of poetry
Structures Definition Examples
Simile A comparison using like or as. Example: The room is as cold as ice, it is like a fridge.
Metaphor A comparison without using like or as. Example: The room is a fridge. You are such a pig.
Personification Giving a non-living object living/ human traits.
Example: the room
welcomed the fires heat.
Alliteration The repetition of a consonant in the beginning of words.
Example: the cold crept
Assonance The repetition of a vowel sound in words close together.
Example: the bear and the
hare were there too.
Hyperbole An exaggeration. Example: A million eyes stared at me. I could eat a
Onomatopoeia Words that imitate sounds. Example: The door creaked open.
Analyse a poem
My Old shoe By Julius Chongono
Makes little sounds Clop, clop, clop Grins broadly Reveals dirty teeth Five in number Embedded in its jaws Like a swimming fish As I haunt the sunny streets.
What are the teeth?
What sound does this represent?
Can a shoe grin? What did they mean by this? Oh! Its his toes!
What do the jaws belong to?
Is this a negative or positive word?
What figure of speech is used here? What does it mean?
What is the theme and mood of the poem? Is there a rhyming scheme
used in this poem?
Figures of Speech All the figures of speech in these videos are used as poetic devices. In your books, write the date and the heading Poetic devices. Paste the following table into
your books. Fill in all the poetic devices demonstrated in the videos and give a short
description of each. Give your own examples from some of your favourite songs.
Name Short description Example
A comparison using like or as As cold as ice
Class Activity In pairs, find specific ways to describe things around you. Write them down on a piece of
paper (write quite big please). Your teacher will select you, randomly, to present your line of
poetry to the class and your paper will be stuck on the classroom wall. You have only 10
Note: Use your thesaurus to find new, creative synonyms.
Dont say you saw a bird: you saw a swallow, (1) Or a great horned owl, a hawk or oriole. Dont just tell me that he flew; Thats what any bird can do; Say he darted, circled, swooped or lifted in the blue. (5) Dont say the sky behind was pretty; It was watermelon pink streaked through with gold; Gold bubbled like a fountain From a pepperminted mountain And shone like Persian rugs when they are old. (10) Dont tell me that the air was sweet with fragrance; Say it smelled of minted grass and lilac bloom; Dont say your heart was swinging; Name the tune that it was singing, And how the moonlights neon filled the room. (15) Dont say the evening creatures were all playing; Mention tree toads twanging, screeching fiddle notes, Picture crickets constant strumming To the mass mosquitoes humming While the frogs are singing bass deep in their throats. (20) Dont use a word thats good for all the senses Theres a word for every feeling one can feel. If you want your lines to be terrific; Then do make your words specific, For words can paint a picture thats real. (25)
Poem 1: Be specific Write the date in your books and the heading Poem analysis - Be specific. Refer to the
poem above and answer the following questions
1. What point is Mauree Applegate trying to bring across in her poem?
2. What figure of speech is being used in line 8 that reads, Gold bubbled like a fountain?
3. Mauree says, in line 22, that theres a word for every feeling one can feel. How do you
feel right now? Describe the emotions you are feeling right now in three different
Writing your own poem Poem structure How to decide which form to use
So many decisions to make -- line length, line breaks, arrangement, speed, rhythm. How
should you choose? The right form for your poem depends on, and works with, the poem's
content, or what it's about. If the poem is about flying, you probably don't want lines that
feel slow and heavy. If you're writing a sad poem, short bouncy lines might not be the way
You may feel overwhelmed by so many issues to think about. How can your inspiration
flow freely if you have to keep track of all of these aspects of a poem? The answer, is to do
the work in two stages:
1. First, let your ideas flow.
2. Then, go back to the poem later and work on improving the poem structure and form.
In the second stage, it's a good idea to experiment a lot. Try breaking the lines in different
ways and compare the effects. Try changing the order of things. Try reorganizing things to
move different words to the end of the lines so that the reader's attention goes to them.
You've got nothing to lose -- you can always go back to an earlier version.
As you go through this process, ask yourself:
What is my poem about?
What feeling or mood do I want the reader to have?
Do I want the poem to move quickly or slowly? Are there places where I want it to
speed up or slow down?
What words or phrases do I want to highlight?
There are many things to consider. But the more poetry you write -- and read, the more
natural and instinctive some of these decisions about poem structure will become to you.
1. Work in groups of 4-6. (If you would like to work alone, please ask Mrs. Taylor)
2. Go back to the work you did on figures of speech. Incorporate at least 2 figures of
speech and underline them. (You could use any of these: personification, metaphors,
3. Choose a topic:
What is that?
My happy place
4. Brainstorm the topic, i.e. plan your ideas first. Then, decide on the development of
your poem and create figures of speech to use. Thereafter, set about writing the
poem. Your teacher will need to see your rough drafts.
5. Type this poem onto a Power Point slide and add pictures. Email a copy to
yourselves and to your teacher when it is complete. Every member of the group has
to have a printed copy of the poem and this must be pasted into their language
6. You will present your poem to the class and you will explain the figures of speech that
you used. This will be assessed.
7. Be as creative as possible. (Dont use slang and borrowed words)
Criteria 5 4 3 2 1/0