Epic Poem A long narrative poem on a serious subject presented in an elevated or formal style. An epic traces the adventures of a hero whose actions consist of courageous, even superhuman, deeds, which often represent the ideals and values of a nation or race. Epics typically address universal issues, such as good and evil, life and death, and sin and redemption Beowulf, the Illiad, The Odyssey
Lyric Poems A short poem in which a single speaker expresses personal thoughts and feelings. Most poems other than dramatic and narrative poems are lyrics.
Narrative Poem A poem that tells a story using elements of character, setting, and plot to develop a theme. Beowulf, the Illiad, and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Prose All forms of written or spoken expression that are not in verse Short stories and essays, for example
Stanzas A grouping of lines, set off by a space, that usually has a set pattern of meter and rhyme Usually share common rhyme scheme (pattern of end rhymes) Couplet: Two lines that usually rhyme and have the same meter Tercet: Three-line stanza; triplet: three-lines rhyming Quatrain: four-line stanza, various rhyme schemes
Couplet Any 2 lines that work as a unit, whether they make a single stanza or are part of a larger stanza, most rhyme. Example: “Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.” "Good nature and good sense must ever join; To err is human, to forgive, divine.“ "’Tis education forms the common mind,/Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined."
Quatrain a stanza, or a complete poem, consisting of four lines of verse. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Rhyme Scheme the pattern of rhyme between lines of a poem Bid me to weep, and I will weepA While I have eyes to see;B And having none, and yet I will keepA A heart to weep for thee.B A shift in rhyme scheme indicates a shift in tone, events, etc.
Graphical Elements What to notice... Number and Length of Lines Word Position: Centered? Left? Right? Spacing? Stanzas Verses “Shape” of a poem and its visual presentation How does the poem’s appearance on the page affect its interpretation?
Fixed Form Poems that follow a prescribed model Follows a pattern of lines, meter, rhyme, and stanza Fixed form poems do not always fit models precisely; writers sometimes work variations on traditional forms to create innovative effects. A variance from the fixed form indicates a variance in tone, events, etc.
English/Shakespearean Sonnet Usually written in iambic pentameter with 14 lines Sonnet 18 Shall 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 dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd; But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st 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. --William Shakespeare
Italian/Petrarchan Sonnet 14 lines, divided into 2 parts first 8 lines (octave) usually rhyme abbaabba last 6 lines (sestet) rhyme will vary: cdecde, cdcdcd, and cdccdc Very often, the octave presents a situation that the sestet resolves. “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” by John Keats Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold, And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; Round many western islands have I been Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. Oft of one wide expanse had I been told That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne; Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes He star'd at the Pacific--and all his men Look'd at each other with a wild surmise-- Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
Spenserian Sonnet A variation of the Shakespearean sonnet which has the same structure but uses the interlocking rhyme scheme abab bcbc cdcd ee “Fire and Ice” -- by Edmund Spenser My love is like to ice, and I to fire: how comes it then that this her cold so great is not dissolv'd through my so hot desire, but harder grows, the more I her entreat? Or how comes it that my exceeding heat is not delayed by her heart frozen cold, but that I burn much more in boiling sweat, and feel my flames augmented manifold? What more miraculous thing may be told that fire, which all thing melts, should harden ice: and ice which is congealed with senseless cold, should kindle fire by wonderful device? Such is the pow'r of love in gentle mind that it can alter all the course of kind.
Villanelle 19 lines of any length divided into 6 stanzas: 5 tercets with aba rhyme scheme a concluding quatrain with abaa rhyme scheme Line I repeats as lines 6, 12, and 18 Line 3 repeats as lines 9, 15, and 19 “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” By Dylan Thomas Do 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 they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their 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 sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on that 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.
Sestina 39 lines of any length divided into 6 six-line stanzas 3-line concluding stanza called an envoy Repeated 6 words at the ends of the first stanza’s lines at the ends of the lines in the other five 6-line stanzas Those words must also appear in the final three lines, where they resonate important themes. Sestina by Algernon Charles Swinburne I saw my soul at rest upon a day As a bird sleeping in the nest of night, Among soft leaves that give the starlight way To touch its wings but not its eyes with light; So that it knew as one in visions may, And knew not as men waking, of delight. This was the measure of my soul’s delight; It had no power of joy to fly by day, Nor part in the large lordship of the light; But in a secret moon-beholden way Had all its will of dreams and pleasant night, And all the love and life that sleepers may. But such life’s triumph as men waking may It might not have to feed its faint delight Between the stars by night and sun by day, Shut up with green leaves and a little light; Because its way was as a lost star’s way, A world’s not wholly known of day or night. All loves and dreams and sounds and gleams of night Made it all music that such minstrels may, And all they had they gave it of delight; But in the full face of the fire of day What place shall be for any starry light, What part of heaven in all the wide sun’s way? Yet the soul woke not, sleeping by the way, Watched as a nursling of the large-eyed night, And sought no strength nor knowledge of the day, Nor closer touch conclusive of delight, Nor mightier joy nor truer than dreamers may, Nor more of song than they, nor more of light. For who sleeps once and sees the secret light Whereby sleep shows the soul a fairer way Between the rise and rest of day and night, Shall care no more to fare as all men may, But be his place of pain or of delight, There shall he dwell, beholding night as day. Song, have thy day and take thy fill of light Before the night be fallen across thy way; Sing while he may, man hath no long delight.
Epigram Brief, pointed, and witty poem. Most rhyme and often are written in couplets No prescribed form Typically polished bits of compressed irony, satire, or paradox “Coward” by A. R. Ammons Bravery runs in my family “Epitaph on a Waiter” by David McCord By and by God caught his eye.
Limerick Short five-lined humorous poems Usually anapestic lines rhyming aabba There once was a man from Nantucket Who kept all his cash in a bucket; But his daughter, named Nan, Ran away with a man, And as for the bucket, Nantucket.
Haiku Japanese poetry and usually deals with intense emotion or nature which leads to spiritual insight Consists of 17 syllables: 3 lines with three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 syllables “Under cherry trees” by Matsuo Bashō Under cherry trees Soup, the salad, fish and all... Seasoned with petals.
Elegy A lyric poem written to commemorate someone who is dead Expresses the speaker’s melancholy thoughts No longer conforms to a fixed pattern of lines and stanzas Elegy for Jane (My Student, Thrown by a Horse) By Theodore Reothke I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils; And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile; And how, once started into talk, the light syllables leaped for her. And she balanced in the delight of her thought, A wren, happy, tail into the wind, Her song trembling the twigs and small branches. The shade sang with her; The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing, And the mould sang in the bleached valleys under the rose. Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth, Even a father could not find her: Scraping her cheek against straw, Stirring the clearest water. My sparrow, you are not here, Waiting like a fern, making a spiney shadow. The sides of wet stones cannot console me, Nor the moss, wound with the last light. If only I could nudge you from this sleep, My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon. Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love: I, with no rights in this matter, Neither father nor lover.
Ode Lengthy lyrics that often include lofty emotions conveyed by a dignified style Characterized by serious topics like: truth, art, freedom, justice, and the meaning of life Formal tone No prescribed formal pattern, but some repeat stanzas or new patterns Often use apostrophe “Home Movies: A Sort of Ode” by Mary Jo Salter Because it hadn't seemed enough, after a while, to catalogue more Christmases, the three-layer cakes ablaze with birthday candles, the blizzard Billy took a shovel to, Phil's lawnmower tour of the yard, the tree forts, the shoot-'em-ups between the boys in new string ties and cowboy hats and holsters, or Mother sticking a bow as big as Mouseketeer ears in my hair, my father sometimes turned the gaze of his camera to subjects more artistic or universal: long closeups of a rose's face; a real-time sunset (nearly an hour); what surely were some brilliant autumn leaves before their colors faded to dry beige on the aging film; a great deal of pacing, at the zoo, by polar bears and tigers caged, he seemed to say, like him. What happened between him and her is another story. And just as well we have no movie of it, only some unforgiving scowls she gave through terrifying, ticking silence when he must have asked her (no sound track) for a smile. Still, what I keep yearning for isn't those generic cherry blossoms at their peak, or the brave daffodil after a snowfall, it's the re-run surprise of the unshuttered, prefab blanks of windows at the back of the house, and how the lines of aluminum siding are scribbled on with meaning only for us who lived there; it's the pair of elephant bookends I'd forgotten, with the upraised trunks like handles, and the books they meant to carry in one block to a future that scattered all of us. And look: it's the stoneware mixing bowl figured with hand-holding dancers handed down so many years ago to my own kitchen, still valueless, unbroken. Here she's happy, teaching us to dye the Easter eggs in it, a Grecian urn of sorts near which—a foster child of silence and slow time myself—I smile because she does and patiently await my turn.
Parody Humorous imitation of another, usually serious work. Fixed or open form because parodists imitate the tone, language, and shape of the original It is a complement to have one’s poem parodied because that indicates a well-known work has become institutionalized in our culture and fair game for some fun A Visit from St. Sigmund By X. J. Kennedy T’was the night before Christmas, when all through each kid Not an Ego was stirring, not even an Id. The hangups were hung by the chimney with care In hopes that St. Sigmund Freud soon would be there....
Concrete Poem poems form pictures both by word choice and the way the words are arranged on the page. A.K.A. Picture Poems “In Medias Res” By Michael McFee His waist, like the plot, thickens, wedding pants now breathtaking, belt no longer the cinch it once was, belly's cambium expanding to match each birthday, his body a wad of anonymous tissue swung in the same centrifuge of years that separates a house from its foundation, undermining sidewalks grim with joggers and loose-filled graves and families and stars collapsing on themselves, no preservation society capable of plugging entropy's dike, under the zipper's sneer a belly hibernation- soft, ready for the kill.
Open Form A.K.A. Free verse which has no regular beat and usually no rhyme No fixed or predominant meter Rely on an intense use of language to establish rhythms and relations between meaning and form Derive rhythmic qualities from the repetition of words, phrases, or grammatical structures; the arrangement of words on the printed page; or some other means
O Captain! My Captain! By Walt Whitman O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done; The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills; 10 For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding; For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head; It is some dream that on the deck, You've fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done; From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; 20 Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells! But I, with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. The Red Wheelbarrow By William Carlos Williams so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens.
Found Poem Unintentional verse discovered in a nonpoetic context, such as a conversation, news story, or an advertisement Playful reminders that the words in poems are very often the language we use every day. Order in the Streets By Donald Justice ( From instructions printed on a child’s toy, Christmas 1968, as reported in the New York Times ) I. 2. 3. Switch on. Jeep rushes to the scene of riot Jeep goes in all directions by mystery action. Jeep stops periodically to turn hood over Machine gun appears with realistic shooting noise. After putting down riot, jeep goes back to the headquarters.
Nonsense Verse Light, often rhythmical verse, often for children, depicting peculiar characters in amusing and fantastical situations. It is whimsical and humorous in tone and tends to employ fanciful phrases and meaningless made- up words 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. --“Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll
Word Choice Diction: a writer’s choice of words. Words call attention to themselves. Poems are usually briefer than other forms of writing, functioning in a compressed atmosphere. The words must convey meanings gracefully and economically. Readers have to be alert to the ways in which those meanings are released.
Poetic Diction Use of elevated language over ordinary language “disporting with pliant arms o’er a glassy wave” vs. a boy “enjoying a swim”
Formal Diction Dignified, impersonal, and elevated use of language “In a solitude of the sea Deep from human vanity, And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.”
Middle Diction Less formal level of diction Spoken by most educated people “You could be sitting now in a carrel Turning some liver-spotted page, Or rising in an elevator-cage Toward ladies’ Apparel.” The wit of the speaker’s description lessens the formality.
Informal Diction A conversational manner that may include slang or colloquial expressions not used by the culture at large “When getting my nose in a book Cured most things short of school, It was worth ruining my eyes To know I could still keep cool, And deal out the old right hook To dirty dogs twice my size.”
Informal Diction Dialect: spoken by definable groups of people from a particular geographic region, economic group, or social class Jargon: a category of language defined by a trade or profession
Denotation The literal, dictionary meanings of a word Bird: a feathered animal with wings
Connotation Associations and implications that go beyond a word’s literal meanings and affect TONE. Bird Hawk Crow Pigeon Vulture Owl Chicken Connotative meanings allow poets to be economical and suggestive simultaneously. Emotions and attitudes are woven into the texture of the poem’s language.
Persona A speaker created by the poet The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner By Randall Jarrell From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose. The speaker in this poem is clearly not the poet but a disembodied voice that makes the gunner’s story all the more powerful.
Ambiguity Allows for two or more simultaneous interpretations of a word, phrase, action, or situation, all of which can be supported by the context of a work. From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
Word Order Syntax: the ordering of words into meaningful verbal patterns A poet can manipulate the syntax of a line to place emphasis on a word Emily Dickinson wrote in A Narrow Fellow in the Grass: “His notice sudden is”
Tone The writer’s attitude toward the subject, the mood created by all the elements in the poem. Serious/Light Sad/Happy Private/Public Angry/Affectionate Bitter/Nostalgic Any other attitude or feeling that a human experiences How does the poet’s tone contribute to the poem’s meaning?
Irony Verbal Irony: speakers ways one thing but means another—not really sarcasm Situational Irony: Events occur in an unexpected or surprising manner. Dramatic Irony: when the reader or viewer knows something that a character does not know.
Rhyme A repetition of identical or similar sounds in two or more different words Example: Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning --Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”
End Rhyme Any rhyme at the end of a line; perfect rhyme Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of 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. --Robert Frost, "Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening"
Internal Rhyme Rhyme within the same line of verse Example: Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary --Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”
Slant Rhyme Imperfect rhyme that usually has the same end consonant sound but not the same vowel sound Half Rhyme Example: Found, Kind Grime, Game Ill, Shell Dropped, Wept
Eye Rhyme Two words are used with similar spellings but different sounds Example: Laughter, Slaughter
Repetition The same sound, word, phrase, or line is repeated throughout a poem For emphasis or unity to reinforce meaning and create an appealing rhythm Example: Frederick Douglass repeats bloody imagery throughout his narrative because he wants to emphasize how brutal the life of a slave really was.
Anaphora repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses for emphasis We passed the school where children played, Their lessons scarcely done; We passed the fields of gazing grain, We passed the setting sun. --“Because I Could Not Stop For Death” By Emily Dickinson
Epiphora repeating words at the clauses' ends. “Only this, and nothing more.” “Nameless here, forever more.” “This is it, and nothing more.” “Perched, and sat, and nothing more.” “Quoth the raven, Nevermore.” --“The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe
Alliteration The repetition of the beginning sound of two or more adjacent words or stressed syllables Example: furrow followed free “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Coleridge
Assonance The repetition of vowel sounds within a short passage or verse of prose Example: And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride. --”Annabel Lee,” by Edgar Allan Poe
Consonance The repetition of the same consonant two or more times in short succession Example: “all mammals named Sam are clammy”
Onomatopoeia The use or words that sound like what they mean Bam! Hiss! Rat, tat, tat! Buzz Purr
Rhythm and Meter There are five standard metrical units, each identified by the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. An unstressed syllable is represented by a “da” A stressed syllable is represented by a “DA.”
Five Standard Metrical Units Iambicda DAprevent TrochaicDA dafootball Anapesticda da DAcomprehend DactylicDA da dacheerfully SpondaicDA DAknick-knack
Meter Two beats = 1 foot Lines of poetry are labeled by how many feet there are per line One foot=monometer (2 beats) Two feet=dimeter (4 beats) Three feet=trimeter (6 beats) Four feet=tetrameter (8 beats) Five Feet=pentamter (10 beats) Six Feet=hexameter (12 beats) Seven Feet=heptameter (14 beats) Eight Feet=octameter (16 beats)
Symbols Something that means more than what it is “The Road Not Taken” --by Robert Frost 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. The two roads symbolize life choices that resulted in a large difference in the kind of experience one knows.
Imagery Details in writing that describe what is seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched. Barbeque Soft Kitten Swaying Evergreen Purple Curtains Crying Baby Cinnamon Rolls
Metaphor describes a subject implicitly by asserting that it IS the same as another otherwise unrelated object generally considered more forceful than a simile All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; --As You Like It, by William Shakespeare
Implied Metaphor More subtle, can slip by readers, but alert reader to carefully chosen words. He was a mule standing his ground. OR He brayed his refusal to leave.
Simile two fundamentally unlike things are explicitly compared, usually in a phrase introduced by like, as, than, appears, or seems. you fit into me like a hook into an eye a fish hook an open eye --Margaret Atwood What is being compared?
Extended Metaphor The entire poem is organized around a comparison Huswifery By Edward TaylorEdward Taylor Make me, O Lord, thy Spinning Wheel complete. Thy Holy Worde my Distaff make for me. Make mine Affections thy Swift Flyers neat And make my Soule thy holy Spool to be. My Conversation make to be thy Reel And reel the yarn thereon spun of thy Wheel. Make me thy Loom then, knit therein this Twine: And make thy Holy Spirit, Lord, wind quills: Then weave the Web thyself. The yarn is fine. Thine Ordinances make my Fulling Mills. Then dye the same in Heavenly Colours Choice, All pinked with Varnished Flowers of Paradise. Then clothe therewith mine Understanding, Will, Affections, Judgment, Conscience, Memory My Words, and Actions, that their shine may fill My ways with glory and thee glorify. Then mine apparel shall display before yee That I am Clothed in Holy robes for glory.
Personification Nonhuman things or abstractions are represented as having qualities of a person—a type of metaphor where the comparison is always a human being. Example: Necessity is the mother of invention
Apostrophe A type of personification which consists of addressing someone absent or dead or something nonhuman as if that person or thing were present and alive and could reply to what is being said Personification and apostrophe do not require great imaginative power, so some don’t contribute much to the poem Today, the road all runners come, Shoulder-high, we bring you home, And set you at your threshold down, Townsman of a stiller town. “To an Athlete Dying Young” -- A. E. Housman
Allusion The mention to something literary, mythological, or historical through characters or well known phrases for the purpose of adding depth to a literary piece. Example: “Abigail brings the other girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel.” --The Crucible, by Arthur Miller
Hyperbole An intentionally exaggerated figure of speech for emphasis or effect Overstatement Example: This book weighs a ton.
Allegory A literary piece that a second meaning beneath the surface. The author’s major interest is in the ulterior meaning. Example: Animal Farm, by George Orwell Avatar Lord of the Flies, by William Golding “O Captain, My Captain!” by Walt Whitman
Verbal Irony Implying the opposite of what one says sometimes both what is said and the opposite of what is said, at once
T- Title, prediction about the poem based on title P- Paraphrase, put the poem in your own words, line by line C- Connotation, look for deeper meaning, interpret figurative language A- Attitude, What is the author’s tone? +/- S- Shifts, look for shifts in tone, action, rhythm T- Title, reevaluate the title as it pertains to the poem T- Theme, What does the poem mean? How does it relate to life?