Poetry Terms
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Poetry Terms. By: Courtney Lazar. Epigram- A statement, or any brief saying in prose or poetry, in which there is an apparent contradiction i.e. "Beauty when unadorned is most adorned.".

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Poetry terms

Poetry Terms

By: Courtney Lazar


Poetry terms

Epigram- A statement, or any brief saying in prose or poetry, in which there is an apparent contradiction

i.e. "Beauty when unadorned is most adorned."

Epithet- A short, poetic nickname--often in the form of an adjective or adjectival phrase--attached to the normal name

i.e. fleet-footed Achilles

Free Verse- Poetry based on the natural rhythms of phrases and normal pauses rather than the artificial constraints of metrical feet

i.e. I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loaf and invite my soul,

I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

-Walt Whitman “Songs of Myself” first stanza

Prose Poems- Any material that is not written in a regular meter like poetry

i.e. The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, Oh Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.

The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.

Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, forever.

-Psalm 93


Poetry terms

Italian Sonnet

  • The Petrarchan sonnet has an eight line stanza followed by a six line stanza. The octave has two quatrains rhyming abba, while the sestet may be arranged cdecde, cdcdcd, or cdedce.

    "London, 1802" by William Wordsworth

    Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour: / England hath need of thee: she is a fen/ Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen, / Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, / Have forfeited their ancient English dower/ Of inward happiness. We are selfish men; / Oh! raise us up, return to us again; / And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. / Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart; / Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea: / Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,/ So didst thou travel on life's common way,/ In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart/The lowliest duties on herself did lay.


Poetry terms

Spenserian Sonnet

  • Its rhyme scheme is a b a b b c b c c d c d e e

  • Here, the "abab" pattern sets up distinct four-line groups, each of which develops a specific idea; however, the overlapping a, b, c, and d rhymes form the first 12 lines into a single unit with a separated final couplet.

    "Sonnet LIV"

    Of this World's theatre in which we stay,/ My love like the Spectator idly sits,/ Beholding me, that all the pageants play,/ Disguising diversely my troubled wits./ Sometimes I joy when glad occasion fits,/And mask in mirth like to a Comedy;/ Soon after when my joy to sorrow flits,/ I wail and make my woes a Tragedy./ Yet she, beholding me with constant eye,/ Delights not in my mirth nor rues my smart;/ But when I laugh, she mocks: and when I cry/

    She laughs and hardens evermore her heart./ What then can move her? If nor mirth nor moan,/She is no woman, but a senseless stone.


Shakespearean sonnet

Shakespearean sonnet

  • Uses three quatrains; each rhymed differently, with a final, independently rhymed couplet that makes an effective, unifying climax to the whole. Its rhyme scheme is abab, cdcd, efef, gg.

    "Sonnet XXIX" by William Shakespeare

    When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,/ I all alone beweep my outcast state,/ And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,/ And look upon myself and curse my fate,/ Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,/ Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,/ Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,/ With what I most enjoy contented least,/ Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,/ Haply I think on thee, and then my state,/ (Like to the lark at break of day arising/ From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate,/ For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,/ That then I scorn to change my state with kings.


Volta

Volta

  • Asudden change in thought, direction, or emotion near the conclusion of a sonnet.

    "London, 1802" by William Wordsworth

    Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:/ England hath need of thee: she is a fen/ Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,/ Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,/ Have forfeited their ancient English dower / Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;/ Oh! raise us up, return to us again;/ And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power./ Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart;/ Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:/ Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, / So didst thou travel on life's common way,/ In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart/ The lowliest duties on herself did lay.


Sonnet i

Sonnet i

From fairest creatures we desire increase,

That thereby beauty's rose might never die,

But as the riper should by time decease,

His tender heir might bearhis memory:

But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes,

Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,

Making a famine where abundance lies,

Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel:

Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament,

And only herald to the gaudy spring,

Within thine own bud buriestthy content,

And, tender churl, mak'st waste in niggarding:

Pity the world, or else this glutton be,

To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.


Poem analysis

Poem Analysis

This poem is a sonnet because it contains 14 lines. It is a Shakespearean sonnet because it has the rhyme scheme ababcdcdefefgg. Shakespearean poems end in a couplet. The sonnet is also end-stopped because it contains punctuation. Inexact rhyme is used in lines 2 and 4 because die and memory do not exactly rhyme. Alliteration occurs in lines 1,4,5,6,8 and 11. Assonance occurs in line 4 because the “e” in the words “heir” and “bear” is a vowel being repeated. Line 2 is a metaphor because the subject of the poem is being compared to the rose, which is usually a sign of beauty. Lines 3 and 6 hold the literary device of personification, because as time passes, the subject will get older and eventually die. Also, line 6 refers to feeding the person’s life with self-regarding fuel.

The sonnet introduces many of the themes that will define the sequence: beauty, the passage of human life in time, the ideas of virtue and wasteful self-consumption. The first quatrain states that beauty should strive to propagate itself; the second quatrain accuses the young man of violating that moral premise, by wasting his beauty on himself alone; the third quatrain gives him an urgent reason to change his ways, because otherwise his beauty will disappear; and the couplet summarizes the argument with a new exhortation to “pity the world” and father a child. An image present in the sonnet is of a young man feeding his “light’s flame” with “self-substantial fuel." This image is used to show his self-absorption. The tone in this sonnet is persuasive because the speaker is trying to convince his friend to start a family, so that his beauty can be passed on through his children.


Sonnet ii

Sonnet ii

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,

And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,

Thy youth's proud livery so gazed on now,

Will be a totter'dweed of small worth held:

Then being asked, where all thy beauty lies,

Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;

To say, within thine own deep sunken eyes,

Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.

How much more praise deserv'd thy beauty's use,

If thou couldst answer 'This fair child of mine

Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,'

Proving his beauty by succession thine!

This were to be new made when thou art old,

And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.


Poem analysis1

Poem analysis

This poem is a sonnet because it has 14 lines. It is a Shakespearean sonnet because the rhyme scheme is ababcdcdefefgg and ends in a couplet. The sonnet is also end-stopped because it contains punctuation and is written in iambic pentameter. In the poem, the volta comes at line 9, where it switches from scary thoughts about old age to the possible solution of having kids. Line 9 marks the point where the poem moves from the setup to the payoff. He uses inexact rhyme in lines 2 and 4 because field and held do not exactly rhyme. Sonnet 2 opens with an extended metaphor that compares the way time wears away a person's face to the way an army attacks a castle. Alliteration and consonance occur in this sonnet.

The theme of the necessity of procreation found in Sonnet 1 continues here as well as time. The only way for this beauty to be preserved is to have a child. The metaphor compares beauty to a battle field. He uses imagery to show the effects of time. The young man’s forehead, “so gazed on now,” is imaged as a “field” that Time places under siege, digging “deep trenches” in its now youthful smoothness. The metaphor fast-forwards the aging process, turning the youth’s smooth forehead in imagination into a furrowed, lined brow. While the word “field” could allude to any kind of open land or plain, the words “besiege” and “trenches” make it more specifically a battlefield ravaged by the armies of “forty winters.” In line 3, the metaphor shifts and the young man’s youthful beauty is imaged as his “livery,” a kind of uniform or splendid clothing that under the onslaught of time will become a “tattered weed." The quatrain seems, then, divided into two parts, with the metaphor shifting from that of the brow as a field to the brow as clothing. That like clothing, beauty will fade or become tattered looking. The tone changes at line 9, where it switches from scary thoughts about old age to the possible solution of having kids.


Sonnet iii

Sonnet iii

Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest

Now is the time that face should form another;

Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,

Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.

For where is she so fair whose unearedwomb

Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?

Or who is he so fond will be the tomb

Of his self-love, to stop posterity?

Thou art thy mother's glass and she in thee

Calls back the lovely April of her prime;

So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,

Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.

But if thou live, remembered not to be,

Die single and thine image dies with thee.


Poem analysis2

Poem analysis

This poem is a sonnet because it is made up of 14 lines. It is a Shakespearean sonnet because of the ababcdcdefefgg rhyme scheme and ends in a sonnet. The poem is end-stopped because it contains punctuation and is written in iambic pentameter. The extended metaphor of farming runs throughout Sonnet 3 which helps show that if he wanted no woman would deny him as a husband. In lines 5-6, the speaker asks the fair lord, "For where is she so fair whose unear'd womb / Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?" The word "unear'd" means "unploughed," and here is used metaphorically as a reference to sexual intercourse. Ploughing the womb and sowing it with a seed results in procreation. "Tillage" means the cultivation of land, and "husbandry" functions both as a reference to farm management as well as a pun on the state of being a husband.

The theme of time is present in this sonnet as well. In this sonnet, the speaker is trying to convince the fair lord that time will pass and his beauty will fade; he will not always feel such pride when he looks in the glass. This unavoidable truth is hinted at in lines 7-8 when the speaker asks, "Or who is he so fond will be the tomb / Of his self-love, to stop posterity?" Here, "fond" means "foolish." It is extremely foolish to become "the tomb" of that which you love so much about yourself, which is beauty. The tone in this sonnet is one of self-reflection. In it the narrator asks the youth to look into the mirror and ponder the nature of his image. He also asks the brash youth to consider his mother's image, to reflect not only forward in life, but back to his own family, and with it the very origins of his own life.


Sonnet xii

Sonnet xII

When I do count the clock that tells the time,

And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;

When I behold the violet past prime,

And sable curls all silver'd o'er with white;

When lofty trees I see barren of leaves

Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,

And summer'sgreen all girded up in sheaves

Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,

Then of thy beauty do I question make,

That thou among the wastes of time must go,

Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake

And die as fast as they see others grow;

And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence

Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.


Poem analysis3

Poem analysis

This poem is a sonnet because it contains 14 lines. It is a Shakespearean poem because its rhyme scheme is ababcdcdefefgg and ends in a couplet. The sonnet is end-stopped because it contains punctuation and is written in iambic pentameter. In lines 6 and 8, it is inexact rhyme because herd and beard do not entirely rhyme. Also, in line 2, antithesis is used because "brave day" and "hideous night" contrast. In lines 1,2,3, and 8, consonance is used because that lines contains two or more words with the same consonant sound. Also in lines 2,5, and 7, assonance is used. In line 2, the words brave and day have the long "a" sound. In line 5, trees, see, and leaves have the long "e" sound and in line 7 green and sheaves have the long "e" sound. In line 7, synecdoche is used because "summer's green" is used to represent the bounty of crops.

The theme in Sonnet 12 is the passing of time. This poem shows the toll or tick of a clock, the setting sun, withering flowers, falling leaves, the autumn harvest all make me aware of the passing of time representing that everything will grow old and die. It also shows the importance of having children because it is the only way you can defeat death. Color imagery is present in the fair lord sonnets as well, especially in conjunction with the theme of passing time. In sonnet 12, for example, the poet draws a parallel between the "aging" of nature with the aging of human life, opposing "the violet" and "summer's green" in previous sonnets with the silver and white of age. The tone of this sonnet is persuasive because the speaker is still trying to persuade him to breed because he will eventually die like everything else and there will be nothing left of him to live on.


Sonnet xviii

Sonnet xvIII

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,

Andsummer's lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heavenshines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed,

And every fair from fairsometime 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 wander'st 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.


Poem analysis4

Poem analysis

This poem is a sonnet because it contains 14 lines. It is a Shakespearean sonnet because it has the rhyme scheme ababcdcdefefgg and ends in a couplet. This sonnet is end-stopped because it contains punctuation and is written in regular iambic pentameter. It contains an inexact rhyme in lines 2 and 4 because the temperate and date do not entirely, they are eye rhymes. Sonnet 18 is an extended metaphor. Some examples of alliteration in this sonnet is spread out in all fourteen lines. Words like shall summers, thee to, thou temperate, art and, more more, do darling, and all a, summers short, sometime shines, too the, hot heaven, fair from fair, summer shall and time thou are all examples of alliteration. Examples of assonance are spread throughout sonnet 18. Words such as sometime shines, sometime declines, breathe see and lives gives are all assonance. The conceit, controlling idea, of this poem is in line one when Thee is being compared to a summer’s day, which is also a metaphor. Antithesis is shown in line 14 when Shakespeare says “So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.” This is the balancing of contrasting terms. An example of synecdoche is in line 12 when “lines” is referred to as the whole poem. Examples of personification are seen in lines 3, 4, 5, 6, 11 and 14. In the third line, Shakespeare says “darling buds” giving human attributes to a flower. In line 4, summer is given a life like quality to rent or to lease. The sun in line 5 is referred to as the eye of heaven. The sun is being compared to a face having a gold complexion in line 6. In line 11 Death is being compared to a braggart giving Death a human quality. In the last line of this sonnet, the poem itself is being compared to a living thing. Although all the lines just mentioned are examples of personification, they are all metaphors as well.

Sonnet 18 is the first poem in the sonnets not encouraging the young man to have children. An important theme of the sonnet is to defy time and last forever, carrying the beauty of the beloved down to future generations. The sun is personified as the “eye of heaven” with its“ gold complexion”; the imagery throughout is simple and unaffected, with the “darling buds of May” giving way to the “eternal summer.” The overall tone in this poem is one of happiness. This can be determined by the poem's diction. In line 1 the tone can already be seen: "Shall I compare thee to a summers day?" Summer is a word that indicates beauty, youth, and warmth. Also, throughout the poem, there are comparisons to heaven, the sun, etc., all being happy things.


Sonnet lv

Sonnet lv

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments

Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;

But you shall shine more bright in these contents

Than unswept stone besmear'd with sluttish time.

When wasteful war shall statues overturn,

And broils root out the work of masonry,

Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn

The living record of your memory.

'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity

Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room

Even in the eyes of all posterity

That wear this world out to the ending doom.

So, till the judgment that yourself arise,

You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.


Poem analysis5

Poem analysis

This poem is a sonnet because it has 14 lines. It is a Shakespearean sonnet because it has the rhyme scheme ababcdcdefefgg and ends in a couplet. The sonnet is end-stopped because it contains punctuation and is written in iambic pentameter. The poem contains consonance. In lines 1,2,5,10, and 12, two or more words begin with the same consonant sound. Shakespeare personified ‘gilded monuments’ by giving them life spans. He also gave ‘posterity’ the human characteristic of sight. In addition, war is given the title ‘Mars.’

Immortality is the theme in this poem, which opposes the death and Time's cruel knife. His beloved will not reach immortality through monuments or statues built in his image because these monuments will wither from the ravages of time. The poet declares that it is only through poetry that his beloved will live beyond physical death. The speaker of Sonnet 55 shows a hopeful attitude through imagery and structure. The imagery shows a positive belief in immortalizing the youth. He believes that physical structures such as “marble” built to last lifetimes “shall [not] outlive” his poem. The tone is hopeful and is apparent through the theme and imagery of this poem, that one can live on through poetry.


Sonnet cxvi

Sonnet cxvi

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


Poem analysis6

Poem analysis

This poem is a Shakespearean sonnet because it has the rhyme scheme ababcdcdefefgg and ends in a couplet. The poem is end-stopped because it contains punctuation and is written in iambic pentameter. The speaker uses metaphor in line seven, saying, “[Love] is the star to every wand’ring bark.” This metaphor is used to show the extent of the power of love by comparing it to a star, demonstrating to readers that love can help people find their way. There is also alliteration. An example of the alliteration is in the first two lines, “Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love…” The repetition is in the “l”, which is the first letter of love, again stressing how important love is.

The theme of Sonnet 116 is love. It never changes, it never fades, it outlasts death and admits no flaw. What is more, it insists that this ideal is the only love that can be called “true”—if love is mortal, changing, or impermanent, the speaker writes, then no man ever loved. The first quatrain says that love is not changeable, the second quatrain says that love is a fixed guiding star unshaken by tempests, the third quatrain says that is not subject to change through time, and the couplet announces the speaker’s certainty. The imagery in this poem is rather simple, comparing love to a guiding star. The tone in this poem seems to be passionate because the speaker seems to be trying to convince the reader what true love is and that it is real. The speaker describes love and makes it seem like love is great and powerful.


Sonnet cxxiii

Sonnet cxxiii

No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change:

Thy pyramids built up with newer might

To me are nothing novel, nothing strange;

They are but dressings of a former sight.

Our dates are brief, and therefore we admire

What thou dost foist upon us that is old;

And rather make them born to our desire

Than think that we before have heard them told.

Thy registers and thee I both defy,

Not wondering at the present nor the past,

For thy records and what we see doth lie,

Made more or less by thy continual haste.

This I do vow and this shall ever be;

I will be true despite thy scythe and thee.


Poem analysis7

Poem analysis

This poem is a Shakespearean sonnet because it has the rhyme scheme ababcdcdefefgg and therefore ends in a couplet. The poem is end-stopped because it contains punctuation and is written in iambic pentameter. This sonnet contains the literary device of alliteration which is present in lines 1,3, 8, 9, 10, and 12.

The major theme is time passing. Shakespeare begins his sonnet by berating Time for its boastful nature and assertions that it creates change. The first quatrain denies Time the right to boast of change in the author. Shakespeare continues berating time for its trickery in the second quatrain. He accepts that mortal men are defined on this life by periods beginning and ending with "dates", but disallows Time's assumption that because it controls lifetimes, it can control all things. In the third quatrain, Shakespeare turns from berating Time into accepting its power and control over their lives to rebelling against Time's assumptions. His imagery is quite simple in this poem. He shows pyramids being built that will only crumble with time and compares it to his poem where the character can live. The tone of the sonnet at this point becomes even more defiant and accusatory.


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