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What is this thing called poetry? “Poetry: the best words in the best order.” –Samuel Taylor Coleridge “The poet is the priest of the invisible.” — Wallace.

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Presentation on theme: "What is this thing called poetry? “Poetry: the best words in the best order.” –Samuel Taylor Coleridge “The poet is the priest of the invisible.” — Wallace."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is this thing called poetry? “Poetry: the best words in the best order.” –Samuel Taylor Coleridge “The poet is the priest of the invisible.” — Wallace Stevens “We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.” – William Butler Yeats “I could no more define poetry than a terrier can define a rat.” – A. E. Housman “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” – Emily Dickinson “I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” – Robert Frost ”A poem should not mean. But be.” – Archibald MacLeish “Poetry fettered fetters the human race.” - William Blake The 50 Greatest Quotes About Poetry From Poets:

2 What is this thing called poetry? In writing poetry there are no rules “Poetry fettered fetters the human race.” – William Blake In writing about poetry only one rule: Detail Illustrate your reading of a poem with detailed discussion of the poet’s choices Examine 4 different poems to illustrate union of form and content

3 Two key questions: 1.What does the poem seek to do? 2. How does the poem do what it does?

4 Alice Walker, “The Nature of this Flower is to Bloom”

5 Form What Genre of poem is it? What Metre, Rhyme scheme & Stanza structure is used? (various forms in English poetry.) In the absence of rhyme, is it blank verse or free verse? Diction Close attention to the poet’s word choice, imagery and metaphor Design the movement of thought in the poem Tone How is emotion conveyed or implied? How does the poem do what it does? Poet’s use of formal and rhetoric strategies:

6 Form – What Genre of poem is it? What Metre, Rhyme scheme & Stanza structure is used? (various forms in English poetry.) In the absence of rhyme, is it blank verse or free verse? Diction – attention to the poet’s word choice, imagery and metaphor Design – the movement of thought in the poem Tone – How is emotion conveyed or implied? How does the poem do what it does? Poet’s use of formal and rhetoric strategies: “The Nature of this Flower is to Bloom” Rebellious. Living. Against the Elemental Crush. A Song of Color Blooming For Deserving Eyes. Blooming Gloriously For its Self. Revolutionary Petunia

7 Listen to Larkin reading the poem:

8 “This be the Verse” by Philip Larkin What does the poem seek to do?  Amuse, shock, delight and teach his reader. Communicate his convictions and experience. Poetry as a form of moral teaching but tone suggests not passion but a resigned ironic distance and perhaps self-doubt How does the poem do what it does?  Form  Form: Use of regular abab rhyme scheme across 3 stanzas creates a sing-song pattern  Diction: “This be the Verse” - echo of the language of the Anglican church combined with the deliberate use of shocking language and puns: “fuck you up” ; colloquial language “mum and dad” “soppy” “at each other’s throats” “get out” “kids”. Imagery: coastal shelf – image of erosion, a deepening of misery Design: mum and dad  kids. Repetitive rhyme scheme suggests cycles of existence, children becoming parents, inevitability of suffering  Design: mum and dad  kids. Repetitive rhyme scheme suggests cycles of existence, children becoming parents, inevitability of suffering  Tone: resignation, irony, humour

9 “ Reggae Sounds ” Linton Kwesi Johnson Shock-black bubble-doun-beat bouncing rock-wise tumble-doun sound music; foot-drop, find drum, blood story, bass history is a moving is a hurting black story. Thunda from a bass drum sounding Lightening from a trumpet and a organ, bass and rhythm and trumpet double-up team-up with drums for a deep doun searching. Rhythm of a tropical, electrical storm (cooled doun to the pace of the struggle), flame-rhythm of historically yearning flame-rhythmof the time of turning, measuring the time for bombs and for burning. Slow drop. make stop. move forward dig doun to the root of the pain; shape it into violence for the people, they will know what to do, they will do it. Shock-black bubble-doun-beat bouncing rock-wise tumble-doun sound music; foot-drop, find drum, blood story, bass history is a moving is a hurting black story. Listen to Johnson performing the poem huF6XE kwesi-johnson/

10 “Reggae Sounds” by Linton Kwesi Johnson What does the poem seek to do?  Johnson records in written verse the connections between Jamaican music, history, and his new chosen form of reggae poetry. How does the poem do what it does?  Form  Form: A dub poem has a built-in reggae rhythm. The poem is self- reflexive, a poem about writing poetry. R eggae is described in lines of verse that re-create its rhythmic pull is not merely putting a piece of poem ’pon a reggae rhythm, it is a poem that has a built-in reggae rhythm – hence when the poem is read without any… backing one can distinctly hear the reggae rhythm coming out of the poem (Oku Onuora, Jamaican poet, 1979) Diction:  Diction: Jamaican Creole, a combination of English, Spanish, Portuguese and African languages. Imagery of the island of Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae music, and of reggae music’s articulation of global black struggle. Design:  Design: what is the effect of the repetition?  Tone:  Tone: how would you describe the tone?

11 Form, Diction, Design and Tone are all Poetic Choices Johnson works within the African and Caribbean tradition of the poet as community historian and spokesperson Johnson’s choice of Jamaican Creole is deliberate to establish and sustain that community, using the appropriate language to voice the concerns of his own community of migrants from the Caribbean in Britain “Reggae Sounds” is a poetic manifesto of reggae poetry

12 “Sunship” by Robert Berold Coltrane composed An anthem For the sun sun ship sweet sharp the music tenser than a gun tenser It went like one of those winter days sun shone white as the band played trees stood stripped as the tenor ripped nothing would ever be the same after Coltrane his pain broke notes on the floor they got up but he got up no more it rained in the subway a knife in the park another messiah lay quiet in the dark Tyner drove taxis Miles met the narc Nothing the fans did could light up the spark which was Coltrane Coltrane composed an anthem for the sun sun ship he knew one day he’d have to take the trip sun ship

13 Listen to Kind of Blue (1959) Listen to Sun Ship (1971) brody/sun-ship-the-complete-session-john- coltranes-musical-documentary

14 “Sunship” by Robert Berold What does the poem seek to do?  Berold tells the story of American tenor saxophonist Coltrane and Sunship, his posthumously released jazz album recorded on August 26, 1965, in a form that resonates with free jazz. A poem about life, death, music, and art. How does the poem do what it does?  Form  Form: Use of several free flowing stanzas which break in and out of rhyme, frequent use of alliteration (“Coltrane composed”), assonance (“an anthem”) repetition (“sunship”) alternate rhyme – seeks to imitate or evoke the experimental sound of Coltrane’s rapid-fire four-note theme repetitions, and the use in free form jazz of both melody and improvisation  Diction: American slang “narc” “sweet sharp” and impressionistic images of New York city, image of music as pain, as a tangible object that lives on beyond the creator. Design:  Design: cyclical with variation  Tone:  Tone: shifting moods evoke the sound of jazz itself


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