Presentation on theme: "WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT POETRY. You won’t: Be asked to identify the title of any poems or recall facts about a poet’s life Be asked information."— Presentation transcript:
You won’t: Be asked to identify the title of any poems or recall facts about a poet’s life Be asked information about the history of poetry or schools of poetic criticism Be expected to have mastered the poetic metrics (although you’ll want to know some basics that we’ll cover) WHAT YOU WON’T SEE ON THE EXAM
You will be expected to know the basics of poetic forms Rather than praise poetry for their artistry, your task is to: Read each poem Figure out its meaning Examine its structure Analyze the effects of poetic techniques You will respond to multiple choice questions that pertain to poetry in Section I of the exam You will respond to one or two poetry passages in essay form in Section II of the exam YOUR TASK
You are expected to have a firm grasp of: Poetic structure Form Sound Other elements of poetry that give the power to move, entertain, and enlighten You should be able to answer the question: How does a poem convey meaning? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ideally, poems should be read aloud, so during the exam, you have to do the next best thing: read aloud to yourself in your mind’s ear Read slowly Pay attention to built-in pauses at line and stanza breaks Before you begin reading a poem, think about the possible meaning of the title After you finish reading, think about the title again—the meaning may likely be expanded HOW TO READ A POEM
1.Who is talking? 2.To whom is the speaker talking? 3.What is the dramatic context of the poem? 4.What happens during the poem? 5.What motivates the speaker now, in the tone he/she uses? 6.How does the language of the poem contribute to its meaning? 7.How is the poem organized? 8.Do patterns of rhyme and rhythm contribute to the meaning and effect of the poem? 9.What themes does the poem contain? 10.What was your initial response to the poem? PRACTICE IN READING POETRY: 10 QUESTIONS
What can you tell about the speaker’s age, gender, station in life, opinions, and feelings? What, if anything, does the poem reveal about the speaker’s character? 1. WHO IS TALKING?
To the reader only? To someone else? If so, to whom, and what is the listener’s relationship to the speaker? 2. TO WHOM IS THE SPEAKER TALKING?
Is there a reason or occasion for the poem? Is there specific evidence of a setting, place, season, or situation? 3. WHAT IS THE DRAMATIC CONTEXT OF THE POEM?
Is there a conflict? Is it external or internal? If an event occurs, is it in the past or the present? Why is it important to the speaker or to a character in the poem? From what perspective does the speaker describe events—as an omniscient narrator? A participant? An observer? 4. WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE POEM?
Does the speaker evince an attitude of bias regarding a subject matter of the poem? What imagery, diction, figures of speech, and choice of details contribute to the speaker’s tone? Does the speaker use comparisons made via metaphors, similes, personification, etc. Do you see any shifts in one perspective? Contradictions? 5. WHAT MOTIVATES THE SPEAKER NOW, IN THE TONE HE/SHE USES?
Is there anything distinctive about the poem’s diction? Does the poem repeat words, sounds, phrases, and ideas? If so, to what purpose and effect? Which figures of speech and images are particularly potent? Do alliteration, assonance, consonance play a role in the poem? 6. HOW DOES THE LANGUAGE CONTRIBUTE TO ITS MEANING?
Does it adhere to a closed form (Ex: sonnet)? Does it take liberties with form? Is the poem constructed with complete sentences? Phrases? A mixture of usages? Are the form and meaning of the poem related in some way? How does organization, including syntax, contribute to the poem’s meaning and effect? 7. HOW IS THE POEM ORGANIZED?
How does rhyme function in the poem? Are their patterns of sound that help to convey meaning or create effects What does the meter contribute to the poem’s meaning? 8. DO PATTERNS OF RHYME AND RHYTHM CONTRIBUTE TO THE MEANING AND EFFECT OF THE POEM?
Are themes stated or implied? Can you make a generalization about life or human nature in the poem? What idea is the poet communicating to the reader? 9. WHAT THEMES DOES THE POEM CONTAIN?
Did the poem speak to you? Leave you cold? Touch you? Confuse you? Anger you? Did your response change after reading the poem a second, third, or even fourth time? 10. WHAT IS YOUR INITIAL RESPONSE TO THE POEM?
The best way to internalize these questions is to practice! Find a variety of poems—old, new, easy, difficult, long, short. Take your time and read the poem, then run through the questions, answering to the best of your ability. Read through another poem and answer the questions. Gradually, the questions will sink in and you will read poems more deeply. PRACTICE!
When I heard the learn’d astronomer; When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns for me, When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them, When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick, Till, rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself, In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars. (1865) WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN’D ASTRONOMER WALT WHITMAN