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Presentation on theme: "WHAT’S POETRY?."— Presentation transcript:


2 A camera eye without a shutter: some famous writers on the subject of poetry
“the best words in their best order” (S.T.Coleridge) “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”. (W.Wordsworth) “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold, no fire can ever warm me, I know that it is poetry”. (E.Dickinson) “Poetry is what is lost in interpretation” (Robert Frost)

3 And what about you? Discussion
Which do you find is the most striking? Look at the images by Hopper and Magritte and tell me if you can find any connections with the quotations? Which of these statements is closest to your own view of poetry? Would you like to add your own definition?

4 A contemporary Italian poet….
…has recently stated: la poesia rompe le confezioni e mette a fuoco la vita…dice le nostre parole, quelle di sempre, ma accese da un fuoco che investe la mente, il cuore e l’anima, svelandoci contorni insoliti e imprevisti del mondo in cui viviamo… In other words: poetry focuses life; it disrupts ordinary things and the everyday way of thinking, pointing at the hidden implications underneath the surface

5 …not experts but simply human
… Quando si ascolta o si legge la poesia di un vero poeta, non ci si commuove per la vita di lui ma per la propria, che si sente risuonare nelle parole di un altro …

6 …there’s no set definition…
Poetry is a form of literature that expresses ideas, feelings or tells a story in a specific form, usually using lines, metre, rhyme schemes and stanzas. Poetry is usually, but not always, written in verse. Actually, “poetic” writing can be found in prose form.

7 …so what is its peculiar feature?
1. Poetry expresses the best unity between CONTENT and FORM: the poet expresses a thought or feeling or experience appealing to the reader through his senses and through his imagination and using language in a very special way. 2. He chooses his words and imagery very carefully; he combines them with precision in terms of their suggestive and evocative power, their sound, their force and rhythmical value.

8 Different from prose by
- Fancier language - Punctuation - More CONCISE/PRECISE language

9 ENJOY IT first, then ANALYSE
Read the poem first to enjoy it! Read it straight on through, preferably aloud. Then read it again (and again) and…

10 …DRAW ATTENTION TO: - SOUND (lines and metre; verse patterns; rhythm; punctuation) - USE OF LANGUAGE (imagery, figurative language, colourful words, suggestive and evocative words, connotations) - MEANING And how they combine to convey the poet’s meaning and tone in order to make his piece of writing unique!

11 Types of Poems: 3 main categories
Poetry has been traditionally classified in three main categories: - EPIC: a long narrative poem centering on a heroic figure who represents the fate of a nation. Beowulf is an Old English heroic epic poem of oral origin and anonymous authorship. In the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, battles three antagonists and, later in life after becoming a king, an unnamed dragon. - LYRIC: a verse that expresses the personal inspiration and passion of the poet, a flash of his own emotions in the first person. Common types are sonnets, odes, free verse (or blank verse) and elegies. DRAMATIC: a dramatic poem is a verse that relies on dramatic elements such as monologue, or dialogue between characters invented by the poet or taken from history or myth. Instead of the single voice of the poet, there are a certain number of speakers. Two types of dramatic poetry are dramatic monologue and soliloquy.

12 POINT OF VIEW IN POETRY POET The poet is the author of the poem.
SPEAKER/NARRATOR The speaker of the poem is the “narrator” of the poem.

LAYOUT AND FORM: How the words appear on the page (their visual form) - LINE: words are arranged into lines, each beginning with a capital letter. It is a group of words together on one line of the poem. Every poem is made up of a collection of lines, and each line has a certain number of syllables, which can be stressed (strong) or unstressed (weak). The arrangement of sounds into patterns of strong and weak syllables is the metre of a poem.

14 LAYOUT AND FORM STANZA: a group of lines arranged together in a poem. A stanza is formed by lines each complete in sense and in grammatical structure with a natural pause at the end, marked by punctuation (end-stopped lines and self-contained) or by lines that need the following one to be complete in sense and structure (run-on lines or enjambments).

15 For example: try to define these lines
Farewell; farewell! but this I tell To thee, thou Wedding-Guest! He prayeth well, who loveth well Both man and bird and beast. (from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by S.T.Coleridge) RUN-ON LINES can be used to create a flowing effect, to emphasize certain words, to create an impression of urgency

16 KINDS OF STANZAS Couplet = a two line stanza
Triplet (Tercet) = a three line stanza Quatrain = a four line stanza Quintet = a five line stanza Sestet (Sextet) = a six line stanza Septet = a seven line stanza Octave = an eight line stanza


18 RHYTHM - The BEAT created by the sounds of the words in a poem.
- Rhythm can be created by metre, rhyme scheme, alliteration, assonance and refrain.

19 METRE A pattern of stressed (strong) and unstressed syllables (weak). Metre is measured in feet (a small group of syllables). Metre occurs when the stressed and unstressed syllables of the words in a poem are arranged in a repeating pattern. In English, the RHYTHM is created through the use of stress, alternating between unstressed and stressed syllables. An English unstressed syllable is equivalent to a classical short syllable, while an English stressed syllable is equivalent to a classical long syllable. Ex: the English word “trapeze” is made up of two syllables (“tra—peze”) and is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable (“tra—PEZE”, rather than “TRA—peze”).

20 …METRE Content words (such as nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs) are usually stressed or accented. Grammatical words (such as prepositions, auxiliaries, articles, pronouns, etc.) are usually unstressed.

21 RHYME The lines of a poem can be rhymed or
unrhymed: unrhymed verse is called blank verse. Words sound alike because they share the same vowel and consonant sounds at the end of the line. Ex. lamp / stamp share the short “a” vowel sound and the consonant sound “mp” Activity: Rhyme group game

22 END RHYME A word at the end of one line rhymes with a word at the end of another line. Hector the Collector Collected bits of string. Collected dolls with broken heads And rusty bells that would not ring.

23 Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary.
INTERNAL RHYME A word inside a line rhymes with another word on the same line. Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary. by Edgar Allan Poe

24 RHYME SCHEME A rhyme scheme is a pattern of rhyme (usually end rhyme, but not always). Alternate rhyme is the rhyme scheme of the stanza form: abab Enclosed rhyme is abba According to the number of end-rhymes in a stanza, we speak of couplets (aa bb cc, etc.) or of triplets (aaa bbb ccc, etc.) or of terza rima (aba bcb cdc etc.) Activity: Rhyme Scheme group game

25 From The Canterbury Tales
It happened in that season that one day a In Southwark, at the Tabard, as I lay a Ready to go on pilgrimage and start b For Canterbury, most devout at heart b (by Geoffrey Chaucer) Example of couplets (aabb)

26 RHYME SCHEME When rhyming sounds are identical we speak of perfect rhymes: ex. fleet / street When rhyming sounds are not identical we speak of half (or imperfect) rhymes: ex. restor’d / word Words that look alike but actually sound different are called eye rhymes ex. remove / love

27 Give the rhyme scheme of the lines
The splendour falls on castle walls And snowy summits old in story: The long light shakes across the lakes And the wild cataract leaps in glory (by Alfred Tennyson)

28 ALLITERATION The repetition of the same (usually initial) sound in two or more words of the same line. “O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being” (Shelley, Ode to the West Wind)

29 “Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep.”
ASSONANCE The repetition of vowel sounds, followed by different consonants. “Slow the low gradual moan came in the snowing.” (John Masefield) “Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep.” - William Shakespeare

30 REPETITION The repetition of whole words to create rhythmic effects.
“The ice was here, the ice was there, The ice was all around” (S.T. Coleridge)

31 ONOMATOPEIA Words that imitate the sound of what is described. The sense of the word is suggested by the sounds of the words used. And murmuring of innumerable bees (Alfred Tennyson)

32 REFRAIN A sound, word, phrase or line repeated regularly in a poem.


34 CHOICE of WORDS Poetry is mainly based on economy of language, remembering that words have both denotations and connotations. Denotation refers to the specific, literal meaning of a word independent of the possible associations, images, echoes or impressions it may arouse. Connotation refers to the implications and associations that words may carry with them.

35 For example: The word “yoke” (giogo). If you look it up in the dictionary, you read that it is “the device worn by some animals, by which their master can direct them”. This is denotation. But when “yoke” is used in a poetic context, it takes on deeper meanings and refers to the particular condition of man in terms of dependence and subjection. This is connotation.

36 G.K. Chesterton “The aim of good prose words is to mean what they say. The aim of good poetical words is to mean what they do not say.” According to Chesterton, this is the essence of poetry: l’intuizione che le cose non sono soltanto le cose. Gale (his detective-poet) argues with the scientist, turned out to be the murderer that “would have looked at an angel with the eye of an ornithologist: “most people don’t look at flowers in a wall, but only in a wall-paper. If you generalize them, they are dull, but if you simply see them they are always startling”. (GKC, The Poet and the Lunatics, pg. 73).

37 IMAGERY If the poet wants to create in the mind of his reader pictures that give a three-dimensional quality to his poem, one of his device is imagery: the language that appeals to the senses and evokes sensory associations in the reader’s mind. Most images are visual, but they can also appeal to the senses of sound, touch, taste or smell. I walked in the garden. The Garden smelled of roses. The lilies’ green throats opened To yellow trumpets…

The word order in sentences can be manipulated to create special effects or to give importance (emphasis) to particular words or concepts. The sentence pattern used – short simple sentences, long compound sentences, questions and exclamations – help convey the meaning, the tone and the mood as well.

39 SIMILE A direct and explicit comparison between two things or two actions introduced by a connective word such as: “like; as; as/so…as; such; more…than; resembles” to enforce or clarify the meaning. Somehow the change wore out like a prescription (Robert Frost)

40 METAPHOR An implicit comparison between two dissimilar things. It transfers the qualities and associations of one thing to another but with NO connective words to create striking effects. All the world’s a stage, and we are merely players. (W. Shakespeare) Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player […] it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury (W. Shakespeare)

41 EXTENDED METAPHOR A metaphor that goes several lines or the entire length of a work to create emphasis and vivid effects that add to meaning.

42 IMPLIED METAPHOR The comparison is hinted at, but not clearly stated in order to encourage the reader to fill in the gap and for an understatement purpose.

43 HYPERBOLE and LITOTES A figure of speech used for emphasis is HYPERBOLE, which attributes exaggerated qualities to a person or a thing. The reverse of the hyperbole is LITOTE or understatement, which states something by the use of a negative or dubitative sentence. (ex.: “he’s no genius” = “he’s stupid”). It’s often ironic.

44 PERSONIFICATION An animal given human-like qualities or an object given life-like qualities.


46 What’s the point in analysis?
Examination of the poet’s technique, of his use of language, of symbols,of the form and tone should increase enjoyment of the poem through more complete understanding. There is no other point in doing so! The various elements of sound and use of language work together as a whole to develop the theme, to bring out the tone and to express the poet’s meaning.

47 SYMBOLISM When a person, place, thing, or event that has meaning in itself also represents, or stands for, something else. Lamb = Innocence Dove = Peace

48 A PLANE IN A WHITE SKY Because a poem sits in the very middle of the page surrounded by the enormity of white margins, each word of it, each comma carries an enormous burden of allusions and significances. Its words are simply overloaded, especially those at the beginning and end of the line. It ain’t prose. It’s like a plane in a white sky and each bolt and rivet matter greatly. (by Joseph Brodsky )


50 LYRIC A short poem usually written in first person point of view. It expresses an emotion or an idea or describes a scene rather than telling a story.

51 SHAKESPEAREAN SONNET abab cdcd efef gg
A fourteen line poem with a specific rhyme scheme. The poem is written in three quatrains and ends with a couplet. The rhyme scheme is abab cdcd efef gg 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. Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometimes declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed. But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st; Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

52 NARRATIVE POEMS A poem that tells a story.
Generally longer than the lyric styles of poetry b/c the poet needs to establish characters and a plot. Examples of Narrative Poems “The Raven” “The Highwayman” “Casey at the Bat” “The Walrus and the Carpenter”

53 FREE VERSE POETRY Unlike metered poetry, free verse poetry does NOT have any repeating patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables. Does NOT have rhyme. Free verse poetry is very conversational - sounds like someone talking with you. A more modern type of poetry.

54 BLANK VERSE POETRY Written in lines of iambic pentameter, but does NOT use end rhyme. from Julius Ceasar Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, It seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it will come.

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