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Key Concepts and Examples

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1 Key Concepts and Examples
Elements of Poetry Key Concepts and Examples

2 What is poetry? No single definition
Most concentrated and condensed form of literature Intense focus on each word and line and how they operate together to communicate experiences Focus on communicating experiences No lesson or moral required Not always beautiful

3 Where do we begin? Denotation vs. Connotation
Literal meaning vs. Figurative meaning Figures of speech and figurative language Sound devices and musicality Rhythm and meter Tone and Theme

4 What do words mean? Denotation Connotation Example:
Dictionary definition of a word; literal meaning Connotation Implied or suggested meaning of a word Depends upon implication or shared emotional association Example: “Greasy” has a negative connotation, independent of dictionary definition

5 Literal meaning vs. figurative meaning
The simplest, most obvious meaning Tied to denotation of words “The sky is gray” tells the color of the sky. Figurative Meaning Associational or connotative meaning Tied to representations, symbolic meaning “The sky is gray” suggests an ominous, foreboding atmosphere.

6 Why are connotation and figurative meaning important?
Poems do not have only a literal meaning, but they have deeper meanings tied to their connotative or figurative meaning Poets use connotations to develop or complicate a poem’s meaning William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow” Ezra Pound, “In a Station of the Metro”

7 What is figurative language?
Language that cannot be taken literally or only literally Language that employs figures of speech Figures of speech – ways of saying something other than the ordinary way, where you say one thing and mean another Examples: “It’s raining cats and dogs” or “I could eat a horse”

8 Types of figurative language
Simile A comparison of two essentially unlike things using “like” or “as” Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” Metaphor A comparison of two essentially unlike things without using words; application of a name or description to something to which it is not literally applicable Literal and figurative terms may be named or implied Ezra Pound, “In a Station of the Metro”

9 Types of Figurative Language
Personification Giving the attributes of a person to an animal, object, or concept Tennyson, “The Eagle” Apostrophe Addressing someone absent or dead or something nonhuman as if that person or thing were present and alive Angelou, “Woman Work”

10 Types of Figurative Language
Hyperbole Overstatement, exaggeration in the service of truth Tennyson, “The Eagle”; Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” Understatement Saying less than one means Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays”; Hardy, “The Man He Killed”

11 Types of Figurative Language
Symbol Something that means, suggests more than what it is Functions both literally (what the symbol is) and figuratively (what the symbol represents) Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays” Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

12 What is the relationship between symbols and similes/metaphors?
Similes and metaphors compare two seemingly unlike things “Some dirty dog stole my wallet” Symbols associate two things using literal and figurative meaning “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”

13 Types of Figurative Language
Paradox A seeming contradiction that is somehow true Valuable for shock effect, attracts attention Example: “Poetry is a language that tells us, through a more or less emotional reaction, something that cannot be said.” Edwin Robinson Example: “Cowards die many times before their deaths; / The valiant never taste of death but once.” Shakespeare

14 Types of Figurative Language
Irony When you say or get the opposite of what you mean or expect Verbal irony – discrepancy between what the speaker says and what the speaker means Dramatic irony – discrepancy between what the speaker says and what the poem means Owen, “Dulce et Decorum Est” Brooks, “We Real Cool”

15 Types of Figurative Language
Pun A play on words; a humorous use of a single word or sound with two or more implied meanings Oxymoron A compact paradox in which two successive words seemingly contradict one another Examples: bittersweet, wild civility, cold heat

16 Types of Figurative Language
Metonymy The use of something closely related for the thing actually meant Example: “The pen is mightier than the sword” Synecdoche A part substituted for the whole Yeats “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”

17 What poetic elements exist?
Imagery Words or sequence of words that represent a sensory experience (sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch) Collins, “Introduction to Poetry” and nearly all poems

18 What poetic elements exist?
Allusion A reference to something in history or previous literature Hopkins, “Spring” Yeats, “No Second Coming”

19 What sound devices exist?
Alliteration – repetition of initial consonant sounds Assonance – repetition of vowel sounds Consonance – repetition of final consonant sounds Onomatopoeia – use of words to imitate the sounds they describe

20 What sound devices exist
Rhyme – repetition of accented vowel sounds and any succeeding consonant sounds Internal rhyme – one or more rhyming words within single line End rhyme – rhyming words at end of line Approximate rhyme – slant rhyme, words with any kind of sound similarity (alliteration, assonance, and consonance at end of lines)

21 What sound devices exist?
Elision – omission of unstressed vowel or syllable to preserve meter Anaphora – repetition of opening word of phrase in a series of lines (Angelou, “Woman Work”) Refrain – repetition of whole words, phrases, lines, or groups of lines according to fixed pattern (Shakespeare, “Winter”)

22 What is meter? Meter – measured pattern of rhythmic accents in a line of verse Foot – basic unit of meter, consisting of one accented syllable plus one or two unaccented syllables Iambic (iamb) – metrical foot containing two syllables, first unstressed, second stressed Iambic pentameter – five iambic feet

23 What is rhythm? Rhythm – natural rise and fall of language
Corresponds to alternation between accented (stressed) and unaccented (unstressed) syllables End-stopped line – end of the line corresponds with natural speech pause Run-on line – no natural pause at end of the line; enjambment Caesura – a pause for a beat in the rhythm of the verse (within a line)

24 What poetic forms exist?
Open vs. Closed Open – free from regularity and consistency Closed – follows fixed structure and pattern (rhyme, length, meter) Blank verse vs. Free verse Blank verse – unrhymed iambic pentameter (Shakespeare’s plays) Free verse – no prescribed pattern or structure

25 What poetic forms exist?
Stanza – unit of poetic lines, verse paragraph Couplet – a pair of lines, usually rhymed Heroic couplet – pair of rhymed lines in iambic pentameter Sonnet 14 lines, iambic pentameter, prescribed rhyme English (Shakespearean) sonnet: abab cdcd efef gg Italian (Petrarchan) sonnet: abbaabba cdecde OR cdcdcd

26 Tone and Subject Tone Subject
The writer’s or speaker’s attitude toward the subject, the reader, or herself of himself Subject What is the poem about?

27 Meaning vs. Theme Poem’s meaning – the experience it expresses
What experience does the poem communicate, and how well does it do so? Poem’s theme The central idea or unifying generalizations implied or stated by a literary work Ascertain from the poem itself Not simply the subject of the poem, but what does the poem suggest about a subject

28 How do we approach poems?
Six Steps Read aloud twice – define unknown words – initial impressions, responses, observations – TP-CASTT analysis – return to initial impressions, responses, observations – evaluate the poem TP-CASTT Title – Paraphrase – Connotations – Attitude – Shifts– Title – Theme

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