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Reading Poetry Strategies for Understanding Poems.

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Presentation on theme: "Reading Poetry Strategies for Understanding Poems."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reading Poetry Strategies for Understanding Poems

2 1. Identify the Speaker Who is “saying” the poem? The speaker isn’t always the poet from “Fireflies” by Paul Fleischman Light is the ink we use Night We’re fireflies flickering flashing fireflies gleaming Insect calligraphers Copying sentences Six-legged scribblers

3 Speaker The speaker is the imaginary voice you hear when you read a poem – who is “saying” the poem.

4 Who do you think the speaker is in this poem? If I were in charge of the world I’d cancel oatmeal, Monday mornings, Allergy shots, and also Sara Steinberg. If I were in charge of the world There’d be brighter night lights, Healthier hamsters, and Basketball baskets forty-eight inches lower. If I were in charge of the world You wouldn’t have lonely. You wouldn’t have clean. You wouldn’t have bedtimes. Or “Don’t punch your sister.” You wouldn’t even have sisters. If I were in charge of the world A chocolate sundae with whipped cream and nuts would be a vegetable. All 007 movies would be G. And a person who sometimes forgot to brush, And sometimes forgot to flush, Would still be allowed to be in charge of the world.

5 Speaker Answer: The speaker is probably a young boy, about years old. –We can tell this by the things he would change if he were in charge of the world. The height of basketball hoops The treatment of his sister The rating of 007 (James Bond) movies

6 2. Use Your Senses Poetry uses all 5 senses Use the sounds, smells, etc. to help yourself paint a mental picture of what the poem is describing Basho An old silent pond A frog jumps into the pond, splash! Silence again. Soseki Over the wintry Forest, winds howl in a rage With no leaves to blow.

7 3. Listen Much poetry is musical – it’s designed to be heard rather than read. Either read the poem aloud or listen to someone else read it. “Boa Constrictor” by Shel Silverstein Oh, I’m being eaten By a boa constrictor, A boa constrictor, I’m being eaten by a boa constrictor And I don’t like it – one bit. Well, what do you know? It’s nibblin’ my toe. Oh, gee, It’s up to my knee. Oh my, It’s up to my thigh. Oh, fiddle, It’s up to my middle. Oh, heck, It’s up to my neck. Oh, dread, It’s upmmmmmmmmmfffffffff...

8 4. Read According to Punctuation Pause at commas, semicolons, and end marks (?,!,.) Only pause at the end of the line if it has a comma, semicolon, or end mark at the end of it. “On the Skateboard” by Lillian Morrision Skimming An asphalt sea I swerve, I curve, I Sway; I speed to whirring Sound an inch above the ground; I’m the sailor And the sail, I’m the Driver and the wheel I’m the one and only Single engine Human auto mobile

9 Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates a sound. –Examples: crash, bang, plop

10 What examples of onomatopoeia are in the following excerpt? Bram rackety-am-m, OM, Am: All – r-r-room, r-r-ram, alabaster – Am, the world’s my oyster. I hate plastic, wear it black and slick, Hate hardhats, wear one on my head, That’s what the motorcycle said. Answers: –bram –r-r-room –r-r-ram

11 Personification Personification gives human characteristics of a nonhuman object. –Example: The wind whispered in the trees. The stars danced in the skies.

12 Explain the personification in the poem below: Once a snowflake fell On my brow and i loved It so much and i kissed It and it was happy and called its cousins And brothers and a web Of snow engulfed me then I reached to love them all And i squeezed them and they became A spring ran and i stood perfectly Still and was a flower Answers: –Both snowflakes and the flower are being personified: Snowflakes don’t have families and can’t call them Flowers can’t kiss and squeeze the snow

13 Explain the personification in the poem below: Late that mad Monday evening I made mermaids come from the sea As the black sky sat Upon the waves And night came creeping up to me Answer: –The black sky sat upon the waves The sky can’t sit. –Night came creeping up to me The night doesn’t creep.

14 Rhythm Rhythm is the pattern of beats in a poem. –The pattern is formed by stressed and unstressed syllables. Not all poems have a rhythm pattern.

15 Limerick A limerick is a short, usually funny poem with a very specific form: –The 1 st, 2 nd, and 5 th lines rhyme and have 3 stressed syllables. –The 3 rd and 4 th lines rhyme and have 2 stressed syllables. There was an old man from Peru Who dreamed he was eating his shoe He awoke in the night With a terrible fright To discover it was totally true

16 There was a young fellow named Hall Who fell in the spring in the fall ‘Twould have been a sad thing To have died in the spring But he didn’t – he died in the fall An epicure dining at Crewe Found quite a large mouse in his stew Said the waiter, “Don’t shout! And wave it about Or the rest will be wanting one too!”

17 Haiku Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry with a specific rhythm –1 st line – five syllables –2 nd line – seven syllables –3 rd line – five syllables Haiku are often about nature and the five senses.

18 Basho An old silent pond A frog jumps into the pond, splash! Silence again. Soseki Over the wintry Forest, winds howl in a rage With no leaves to blow.

19 Metaphor A metaphor is the comparison of two objects without using the words “like” or “as.” –Instead of one object being similar to another, one object IS another. –Example: “This room is a pigsty!”

20 What is the metaphor in this poem? The rose is a rose, And was always a rose. But the theory now goes That the apple’s a rose, And the pear is, and so’s The plum, I suppose. The dear only knows What will next prove a rose. You, of course, are a rose – But were always a rose. Answer: –Various fruits (apple, pear, plum) are compared to a rose. –The reader is also compared to a rose.

21 What is the metaphor in this poem? Seeing that there’s no other way, I turn his absence into a chair. I can sit in it, gaze out through the window. I can do what I do best and go out into the world. And I can return then with my useless love, to rest, because the chair is there. Answer: –The person’s absence is compared to a chair. The speaker doesn’t have to wallow about the loss of love because the chair will stay while the speaker goes into the world.

22 Simile A simile is a comparison of two objects using the words “like” or “as.” –Example: She is as blind as a bat.

23 What is the simile in the following excerpt? Oh, my love’s like a red, red rose That’s newly sprung in June. O, my love is like the melody That’s sweetly played in tune. Answers: –Love is compared to a newly blossomed rose. –Love is compared to a sweet melody.

24 Metaphor and Simile Remember – these are comparisons, not descriptions. The object should be compared to another object, not described with an adjective.

25 Identify the metaphor and simile in this poem: Forgetfulness is like a song That, freed from beat and measure, wanders. Forgetfulness is like a bird whose wings are reconciled, Outspread and motionless – A bird that coasts the wind unwearyingly. Forgetfulness is rain at night, Or an old house in a forest, - or a child. Forgetfulness is white, - white as a blasted tree, And it may stun the sybil into prophecy, Or bury the Gods. I remember much forgetfulness. Similes: –Forgetfulness is compared to a wandering song –Forgetfulness is compared to a bird coasting in the sky. Metaphors –Forgetfulness is compared to rain at night, an old house in a forest, and a child.

26 Alliteration Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words. –Example: “With blare of brass, with beating drums.” –Often used in tongue twisters.

27 Find the alliteration in this excerpt: Little hoppy happy Toad in tweeds Tweeds Little itchy mouses With scuttling Eyesrustle and runand Hidehidehide whisk

28 Alliteration is underlined: Little hoppy happy Toad in tweeds Tweeds Little itchy mouses With scuttling Eyesrustle and runand Hidehidehide whisk

29 Find the alliteration in the poem below: He clasps the crag with crooked hands; Close to the sun in lonely lands, Ring’d with the azure world, he stands. The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt he falls.

30 Alliteration is underlined: He clasps the crag with crooked hands; Close to the sun in lonely lands, Ring’d with the azure world, he stands. The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt he falls.

31 Theme The theme is the moral or lesson – it’s what the poet is trying to teach the reader.

32 What is the theme of this poem? The summer Still hangs Heavy and sweet With sunlight As it did last year. The autumn Still comes Showering gold and crimson As it did last year. The winter Still stings Clean and cold and white As it did last year. The spring Still comes Like a whisper in the dark night. It is only I who have changed. Answer –Although the seasons remain the same from year to year, the speaker changes as time passes.

33 What is the theme of this poem? Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry i could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads onto way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Answer –In this poem, the two roads symbolize two different ways to live life. One is the “traditional” path that everyone takes; the other is one less commonly taken. The theme is that the speaker has found it more beneficial in life to take risks and do things in life that are not necessarily traditional or “safe.” Being unique rather than a follower has made a difference in his life.

34 Tone Tone is the speaker’s attitude or emotions communicated in the words of the poem

35 What is the tone of this poem? I like the plates on the ledge of the dining room wall (to the north) standing on edge, standing as if they thought they could stay. Confident things can stand and stay! I am confident. I always thought there was something to be done about everything. I’ll stay. I’ll not go pouting and shouting out of the city. I’ll stay. My name will be Up in Lights! I believe it! They will know me as Nora-the-Wonderful! It will happen! I’ll stay. Mother says “You rise in the morning – You must be the Sun! For wherever you are there is Light, and those who are near you are warm, feel Efficient.” I’ll stay. Answer: –The tone of this poem is confident, even bragging at times.

36 Imagery Imagery is the mental pictures the words of the poem create in the reader’s mind.

37 What imagery does this poem contain? a gallon of rich country cream hand-whipped into stiff peaks flung from the beater into dollops across the blue oilcloth This poem, about cumulus clouds, evokes the image of someone taking fresh whipped cream and flinging it from the beaters into the sky to create the clouds.

38 What imagery does this poem contain? who knows if the moon’s a balloon, coming out of a keen city in the sky – filled with pretty people? (and if you and i should get into it, if they should take me and take you into their balloon, why then we’d go up higher with all the pretty people than houses and steeples and clouds: go sailing away and away sailing into a keen city which nobody’s ever visited, where always it’s Spring) and everyone’s In love and flowers pick themselves. This poem evokes the image of the moon turning into a hot air balloon that takes people over a city into a new place in which everyone is happy. The imagery of flowers picking themselves is particularly strong.


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