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Introduction to Poetry

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1 Introduction to Poetry
Unit 3

2 What is poetry? Poetry uses words, form, sound, patterns, imagery, and figurative language (similes, metaphors, etc.) to convey a message, tell a story, evoke a feeling… ALL poems contain some (or all) of the above mentioned elements. Generally two types: narrative poetry (tells a story) and lyrical poetry (doesn’t tell a story)

3 Form and structure The term form in poetry refers to the poem’s appearance. Poems are divided into lines; some are long, some are short. Oftentimes lines are divided into stanzas. Stanzas, in a way, function like paragraphs in a story or novel. Usually each stanza contains an idea or does something to move an earlier idea further. Types of stanzas: couplet (2); triplet (3); quatrain (4); quintain (5); sestet (6) and so on…

4 Sound Poems often rhyme, but poems DO NOT have to rhyme, of course.
Rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration create the sound in a poem. Poets will often repeat words, lines, and sounds within a poem to create an effect.

5 Sound: Rhythm Rhythm: pattern of beats or stresses in a poem.
Poets use patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables to create a regular rhythm. There is a musical quality to many poems, though free verse poems often have a looser rhythm.

6 Sound: Rhyme Rhyme: the repetition of the same or similar sounds., usually stressed syllables at the ends of lines, but sometimes within a line. Some poems (especially older poems) incorporate a rhyme scheme (the rhyming pattern that is created at the ends of lines of poetry). Mary had a little lamb A Its fleece as white as snow. B And everywhere that Mary went, C The lamb was sure to go. B ***If the poem doesn’t have a rhyme scheme it is considered to be a free verse poem.

7 More on RHyme Types of rhymes:
End rhymes: rhymes that occur at the ends of lines Near rhymes (also called slant rhymes): words that look like they should rhyme (love and move, for example) but they don’t actually rhyme Internal rhymes: occur within lines

8 Sound: alliteration The repetition of consonant sounds at the beginnings of words is alliteration. Alliteration is another way poets create sound patterns and music in their poem. For example: Seven silver swans swam silently seaward.

9 Imagery Poets use words that appeal to the reader’s senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. They especially rely on imagery to create pictures in the minds of readers. Figures of speech Simile: comparison using like or as Metaphor: describes one thing as if it actually were another thing Extended metaphor: a metaphor that extends throughout the entire poem instead of just a few lines. Personification: gives human characteristics to something nonhuman

10 Mood, tone, Theme Mood and tone are the feelings generated by the author’s words choices. As with short stories, the theme is the central or main idea. Ask yourself what ideas or insights about life or human nature have you found in the poem?

11 Our poems William Blake – “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” (English Romantic) Theodore Roethke – “My Papa’s Waltz” (American Modern) Elizabeth Bishop – “In the Waiting Room” (American Modern) Emily Dickinson – “There’s a certain Slant of light,” “The Soul selects her own Society—,” “After a great pain, a formal feelings comes—” and “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—” (American) A. Van Jordan – “How Does a Man Write a Poem” and “To My Brothers” (African American Modern ) Blas Falconer – “And Though We Know It Does No Good” and “A Question of Gravity and Light” (Puerto Rican American Modern) Laura Newbern – “A Kindness” and “Little Bird” (American Modern) Natasha Trethewey – “Incident” and “Myth” (African American Modern)

12 Questions?

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