Elements of poetry
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Elements of Poetry. From: Elements of Literature. How to read a poem. Read the poem aloud at least once. Read from the “inside out.” Be aware of punctuation, especially periods and commas. If a line of poetry doesn’t end with punctuation, don’t stop.

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Elements of poetry

Elements of Poetry

From: Elements of Literature

How to read a poem

How to read a poem

  • Read the poem aloud at least once.

  • Read from the “inside out.”

  • Be aware of punctuation, especially periods and commas.

  • If a line of poetry doesn’t end with punctuation, don’t stop.

  • Read the poem for its meaning, using a natural voice. Let the music come through on its own.

  • Pay attention to each word.

  • Pay attention to the title.

Read it out loud

Read it out loud!

  • Read the poem aloud at least once. Don’t stop just because you’re at the end of the line.

  • Only stop for punctuation marks.

  • Each poem has its own pulse, which you can hear more clearly by reading it aloud.

Inside out

Inside out

  • Read from the “inside out.” If you read a poem and try to worry about finding the metaphor or identify rhyme schemes, you’ve missed the point of the poem. You’ve read it from the “outside in.” Don’t do that!

  • First, enjoy the poem.

  • Then, ask yourself why you liked it. (metaphors, rhyme, etc. can be found after the first reading.)

Punctuation matters

Punctuation matters

  • Be aware of punctuation, especially periods and commas.

    • A period signals the end of a sentence-which is not always at the end of a line.

    • You should make a full stop when you come to a period.

  • If a line of poetry doesn’t end with punctuation, don’t stop. Continue reading until you read a punctuation mark.

  • http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/p180-howtoread.html

Poetry is music

Poetry is music

  • If the poem is written in meter (pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables-most poems use meter), don’t read it in a singsong way.

  • Read the poem for its meaning, using a natural voice. Let the music of the poem come through on its own.

Words are important

Words are important

  • Pay attention to each word. Poets generally use only a few words, so each word is important. Look up unfamiliar words.

  • Pay attention to the title. Sometimes-but not always-the meaning of the poem is hinted at in the title.

T ry it

Try it!

  • Read this excerpt from a poem out loud, remember to read it first. Stop at the punctuation-not the end of the line. Listen for the natural singsong tone-don’t force it. 

Still i rise by maya angelou

“Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in historyWith your bitter, twisted lies,You may trod me in the very dirtBut still, like dust, I'll rise.

Just like moons and like suns,With the certainty of tides,Just like hopes springing high,Still I'll rise.

You may shoot me with your words,You may cut me with your eyes,You may kill me with your hatefulness,But still, like air, I'll rise.

The sound of poetry

The Sound of Poetry

  • The musical sound of poetry comes from several elements used wisely in the poem. Not all are used in every poem. The poet chooses the elements that best deliver the poem and sound the poet wants to create. Here are a few of the elements commonly used in poetry:

  • Rhythm

  • Meter

  • Rhyme

  • Refrain

  • Alliteration

  • Assonance

  • Onomatopoeia

  • Metaphors and Similes

  • Imagery

  • Free verse



  • The repetition of stressed and unstressed syllables

  • Provides the poem’s beat

  • MU-sic

  • MOUNT-ain

  • Be-CAUSE

  • Try your name: Where is the stressed sound? That is the stressed syllable.

  • Okey In my name, the “O” syllable is stressed. The “key” is unstressed.

For my grandmother by countee cullen

“For My Grandmother” by Countee Cullen

This lovely flower fell to seed;

Work gently, sun and rain;

She held it as her dying creed

That she would grow again.

This lovely flower fell to seed;

stressed unstressed



  • When a clear pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables is repeated, that is called meter.

  • Cullen’s poem “For My Grandmother” uses meter because the stressed and unstressed syllable pattern is repeated throughout the entire poem.

  • Listen to the consistent pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in the poem one more time.

For my grandmother by countee cullen1

“For My Grandmother” by Countee Cullen

This lovely flower fell to seed;

Work gently, sun and rain;

She held it as her dying creed

That she would grow again.

This lovely flower fell to seed;

stressed unstressed



  • The chiming effect a poem creates-the singsong sound, the music- is done with rhyme.

  • Rhyme is when sounds match in words.

  • There are several types of rhyme.

Types of rhyme

Types of Rhyme

  • End rhyme (rhyme at the end)

  • Couplet (two end words in two lines next to each other in a poem rhyme)

  • Internal rhyme (the rhyming words are in the middle of the lines, not the ends.)

  • Exact rhyme (the rhyming sounds are exactly the same sounds)

  • Approximate rhyme-sometimes called: near rhyme, imperfect rhyme, slant rhyme (the rhyming sounds are close, but not exactly the same)

End rhyme

End rhyme

  • End rhyme is when the end words of lines rhyme with each other.

    Excerpt from “Peanut-Butter Sandwich”

    From Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

    I'll sing you a poem of a silly young kingWho played with the world at the end of a string,But he only loved one single thing—And that was just a peanut-butter sandwich.

    His scepter and his royal gowns,His regal throne and golden crownsWere brown and sticky from the moundsAnd drippings from each peanut-butter sandwich.

    His subjects all were silly foolsFor he had passed a royal ruleThat all that they could learn in schoolWas how to make a peanut-butter sandwich.

More end rhymes

More end rhymes:

The panther is like a leopard,

Except is hasn’t been peppered.

-Ogden Nash

From “The Panther”

Even though it’s spelled differently, the ending sound is the same in both words.

The cat in the hat by dr seuss

“The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss



  • A couplet is when two consecutive lines (lines following each other-right next to each other in the poem) rhyme with each other at the end.

  • Shakespearean sonnets perfect the use of couplets! Each sonnet closes with a couplet.

Shakespearean sonnets

Shakespearean sonnets:

  • SONNET 54

    O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem By that sweet ornament which truth doth give.The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem For that sweet odour which doth in it live. The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye As the perfumed tincture of the roses, Hang on such thorns and play as wantonly When summer's breath their masked buds discloses:But, for their virtue only is their show, They live unwoo'd and unrespected fade, Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so; Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made: And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,   When that shall fade, my verse distills your truth.

    (That’s a perfect couplet!)

Shakespeare sonnet 130

Shakespeare Sonnet #130

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

(Here’s another perfect couplet.)

Internal rhyme

Internal rhyme

Rhymes occurring within lines.

“So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains”

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;

But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;

I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.

I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I look”: . . .then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;

And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door.

It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm-

Since I Left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

“The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert W. Service

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the

Cotton blooms and blows.

Why he left his home in the South to Roam ‘round the

Pole, God only knows.

He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to

hold him like a spell;

Though he’d often say in his homely way that he’d

‘sooner live in hell.”

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the

Dawson trail.

Talk of your cold! Through the parka’s fold it stabbed

like a driven nail.

If our eyes we’d close, the lashes froze till sometimes

we couldn’t see;

It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was

Sam McGee.

Exact rhyme

Exact rhyme

  • The vowel and end sound in a word are exactly the same as in its rhyming word (although they don’t have to be spelled exactly the same… just sound the same.)

  • Toad-Road

  • Jog-hog

  • Tapping-rapping

  • State-fate

  • Confess-less

  • Home-roam

Ode to a toad by anne marie wulfsberg concord carlisle high school concord massachusetts

Ode to a Toad by Anne-Marie Wulfsberg, Concord-Carlisle High School, Concord, Massachusetts

I was out one day for my usual jog

(I go kinda easy, rarely full-hog)

When I happened to see right there on the road

The squishy remains of a little green toad.

I thought to myself, where is his home?

Down yonder green valley, how far did he roam?

From out on the pond I heard sorrowful croaks,

Could that be the wailing of some his folks?

I felt for the toad and his pitiful state,

But the day was now fading, and such was his fate.

In the grand scheme of things, now I confess,

What’s one little froggie more or less?

Approximate rhyme near rhyme imperfect rhyme slant rhyme

Approximate rhyme (near rhyme, imperfect rhyme, slant rhyme)

  • Modern poets often prefer approximate rhyme.

  • These words have similar vowel or end sounds but are not exactly the same.

  • Fellow-hollow

  • Inside-Light

  • Mouse- out

Introduction to poetry by billy collins

Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem

and hold it up to the light

like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouseinto a poem

and watch it probehis way out,

Or walkinside the poem’s room

and feel the wallsfor a light switch.

I want them to water-ski

Across the surface of a poem

waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do

is tie the poem to a chair with a rope

and torture a confession of out it.

They begin beating it with a hose

to find out what it reallymeans.



  • A line or group of lines that is repeated throughout a poem, usually after every stanza.

Lord neptune an example of using a refrain

“Lord Neptune” an example of using a refrain

  • http://www.poetryarchive.org/childrensarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=398



  • Refrain by Allen Ginsberg

  • The air is dark, the night is sad,I lie sleepless and I groan.Nobody cares when a man goes mad:He is sorry, God is glad.Shadow changes into bone.Every shadow has a name;When I think of mine I moan,I hear rumors of such fame.Not for pride, but only shame,Shadow changes into bone.When I blush I weep for joy,And laughter drops from me like a stone:The aging laughter of the boyTo see the ageless dead so coy.Shadow changes into bone.

The raven by edgar allen poe

“The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil! Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted On this home by Horror haunted tell me truly, I implore Is there is there balm in Gilead? tell me tell me, I implore!" Quoth the raven, "Nevermore." "Prophet!' said I, "thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us by that God we both adore Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?" Quoth the raven, "Nevermore." "Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked upstarting "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken! quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the raven, "Nevermore." And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted nevermore.



  • The repetition of the same CONSONANT sound in words that are close together.

  • The see-saw sunk softly into the sand.

  • The silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain…

  • The purple people-eater

Alliteration cont d

Alliteration, cont’d

  • Little Tommy Tucker sings for his supper,What shall we give him? Brown bread and butter.How shall he cut it without a knife?How shall he marry without a wife?

Excerpts from paul revere s ride by henry wadsworth longfellow

Excerpts from “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

…Just as the moon rose over the bay,

Where swinging wide at her moorings lay

The Somerset, British man-of-war;

A phantom ship, with each mast and spar

Across the moon like a prison bar,

And a huge black hulk that was magnified by its own reflection in the tide.



  • Repetition of VOWEL sounds in words that are close together.

  • Annie chose an apple.

  • The creature bleated when the floor creaked.

Do not go gentle into that good night by dylan thomas

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas

  • http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15377

Do not go gentle into that good night by dylan thomas1

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas

  • Do not go gentle into that good night,Old age should burn and rave at close of day;Rage, rage against the dying of the light.Though wise men at their end know dark is right,Because their words had forked no lightning theyDo not go gentle into that good night.Good men, the last wave by, crying how brightTheir frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,Rage, rage against the dying of the light.Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,Do not go gentle into that good night.Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sightBlind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.And you, my father, there on the sad height,Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.Do not go gentle into that good night.Rage, rage against the dying of the light.



  • Words that sound like what the word refers to…

  • Drip, drip, drip

  • Crackle

  • Sizzle

  • Pop

  • Rustle

  • Snap

  • Etc.

  • Onomatopoeias are words that sound like sounds.

Cynthia in the snow by gwendolyn brooks remember we real cool she wrote that too

“Cynthia in the Snow” by Gwendolyn Brooks (remember “We Real Cool”? She wrote that, too)

  • It SUSHES.It hushesThe loudness in the road.It flitter-twitters,And laughs away from me. It laughs a lovely whiteness,And whitely whirs away,To be,Some otherwhere,Still white as milk or shirts.So beautiful it hurts.

Honkey tonk in cleveland ohio by carl sandburg

“Honkey Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio” by Carl Sandburg

It's a jazz affair, drum crashes and cornet razzes. The trombone pony neighs and the tuba jackass snorts.

The banjo tickles and titters too awful.

The chippies talk about the funnies in the papers.

The cartoonists weep in their beer.

Ship riveters talk with their feet

To the feet of floozies under the tables.

A quartet of white hopes mourn with interspersed snickers:

"I got the blues.

I got the blues.

I got the blues."

And . . . as we said earlier:

The cartoonists weep in their beer.

Bouncing basketball by lee emmett


  • bounce, dribble, bouncestumble, thud, stopbounce, bounce, take aiminto basket droprebound, dribble, bouncejump, reaching, stretchsmack, hit back-boardthump, weeping, retchumpire whistles, calls ‘foul’coach mumbles, players grumbleshrill blast, time-out’s pastback to task, run, rumble

Metaphors and similes

Metaphors and Similes

  • Compare two unlike things to each other.

  • Similes use “like” or “as” to signify comparison

  • Metaphors just say it is the other thing.

Simile uses like or as to make comparison

Simile: Uses “like” or “as” to make comparison.

  • The river is like a snake winding through the grass.

  • The moon is like a yellow piece of cheese sitting in the sky.

  • Her smile is as cutting as a scythe.

A dream deferred by langston hughes

A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

  • What happens to a dream deferred?

  • Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet?

  • Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

  • Or does it explode?

The base stealer by robert francis

The Base Stealer by Robert Francis

  • Poised between going on and back, pulledBoth ways taut like a tightrope-walker,Fingertips pointing the opposites,Now bouncing tiptoe like a dropped ballOr a kid skipping rope, come on, come on,Running a scattering of steps sidewise,How he teeters, skitters, tingles, teases,Taunts them, hovers like an ecstatic bird,He's only flirting, crowd him, crowd him,Delicate, delicate, delicate, delicate - now!

A narrow fellow in the grass by emily dickinson

A Narrow Fellow in the Grass by Emily Dickinson

  • A narrow Fellow in the GrassOccasionally rides--You may have met Him--did you notHis notice sudden is--The Grass divides as with a Comb--A spotted shaft is seen--And then it closes at your feetAnd opens further on--He likes a Boggy AcreA Floor too cool for Corn--Yet when a Boy, and Barefoot--I more than once at NoonHave passed, I thought, a Whip lashUnbraiding in the SunWhen stooping to secure it,It wrinkled, and was gone--Several of Nature's PeopleI know, and they know me--I feel for them a transportOf cordiality--But never met this FellowAttended, or aloneWithout a tighter breathingAnd Zero at the Bone--*

Predictable by bruce lansky

Predictable by Bruce Lansky

  • Poor as a church mouse. strong as an ox, cute as a button, smart as a fox.

  • thin as a toothpick, white as a ghost, fit as a fiddle, dumb as a post.

  • bald as an eagle, neat as a pin, proud as a peacock, ugly as sin.

  • When people are talking you know what they'll say as soon as they start to use a cliché.

You try it

You try it:

  • Clever by _____________

  • As poor as a _______. As strong as an ______, As cute as a ______, As smart as ______.

  • As thin as a ______, As white as a ______, As fit as a ______ As dumb as a ______.

  • As bald as an ______, As neat as a ______, As proud as a ______, As ugly as ______.

  • Use fresh similes when you speak and you write, so your friends will think you are quite clever and bright.

Daffodil by william wordsworth

Daffodil by William Wordsworth

  • I wandered lonely as a cloudThat floats on high o'er vales and hills,When all at once I saw a crowd,A host, of golden daffodils;Beside the lake, beneath the trees,Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.Continuous as the stars that shineAnd twinkle on the milky way,They stretched in never-ending lineAlong the margin of a bay:Ten thousand saw I at a glance,Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.The waves beside them danced, but theyOut-did the sparkling leaves in glee;A poet could not be but gay,In such a jocund company!I gazed—and gazed—but little thoughtWhat wealth the show to me had brought:For oft, when on my couch I lieIn vacant or in pensive mood,They flash upon that inward eyeWhich is the bliss of solitude;And then my heart with pleasure fills,And dances with the daffodils.

Birches by robert frost

Birches by Robert Frost

  • When I see birches bend to left and rightAcross the lines of straighter darker trees,I like to think some boy's been swinging them.But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen themLoaded with ice a sunny winter morningAfter a rain. They click upon themselvesAs the breeze rises, and turn many-colouredAs the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shellsShattering and avalanching on the snow-crustSuch heaps of broken glass to sweep awayYou'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,And they seem not to break; though once they are bowedSo low for long, they never right themselves:You may see their trunks arching in the woodsYears afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground,Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hairBefore them over their heads to dry in the sun.But I was going to say when Truth broke inWith all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm,I should prefer to have some boy bend themAs he went out and in to fetch the cows--Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,Whose only play was what he found himself,

  • Summer or winter, and could play alone.One by one he subdued his father's treesBy riding them down over and over againUntil he took the stiffness out of them,And not one but hung limp, not one was leftFor him to conquer. He learned all there wasTo learn about not launching out too soonAnd so not carrying the tree awayClear to the ground. He always kept his poiseTo the top branches, climbing carefullyWith the same pains you use to fill a cupUp to the brim, and even above the brim.Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.So was I once myself a swinger of birches.And so I dream of going back to be.It's when I'm weary of considerations,And life is too much like a pathless woodWhere your face burns and tickles with the cobwebsBroken across it, and one eye is weeping>From a twig's having lashed across it open.I'd like to get away from earth awhileAnd then come back to it and begin over.May no fate willfully misunderstand meAnd half grant what I wish and snatch me awayNot to return. Earth's the right place for love:I don't know where it's likely to go better.I'd like to go by climbing a birch treeAnd climb black branches up a snow-white trunkToward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,But dipped its top and set me down again.That would be good both going and coming back.One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

The weakness by toi derricotte

The Weakness by ToiDerricotte

That time my grandmother dragged me

through the perfume aisles at Saks, she held me up

by my arm, hissing, "Stand up,"

through clenched teeth, her eyes

bright as a dog's

cornered in the light.

She said it over and over,

as if she were Jesus,

and I were dead. She had been

solid as a tree,

a fur around her neck, a

light-skinned matron whose car was parked, who walked

on swirling

marble and passed through

brass openings--in 1945.

There was not even a black

elevator operator at Saks.

The saleswoman had brought velvet

leggings to lace me in, and cooed,

as if in service of all grandmothers.

My grandmother had smiled, but not

hungrily, not like my mother

who hated them, but wanted to please,

and they had smiled back, as if

they were wearing wooden collars.

When my legs gave out, my grandmother

dragged me up and held me like God

holds saints by the

roots of the hair. I begged her

to believe I couldn't help it. Stumbling,

her face white

with sweat, she pushed me through the crowd, rushing

away from those eyes

that saw through

her clothes, under

her skin, all the way down

to the transparent

genes confessing.

Metaphors it is what it is uses is was am to compare

Metaphors: It is what it is. Uses “is”, “was”, “am” to compare.

  • The river is a snake winding through the grass.

  • Listen to “Daisy” by Brand New.

  • Write down one of the metaphors you hear.

Extended metaphor

Extended metaphor

  • Metaphor developed and used over multiple lines or an entire poem.

  • For example: when you compare yourself to a ship on the sea and refer back to that comparison and image over and over again in your poem, that is an extended metaphor.

Extended metaphor1

Extended metaphor

  • Write down what you think the extended metaphor in the song meant. Explain what two things were compared to each other and how they are similar-based on what the song said about them. Use at least 5 sentences.

Free verse

Free Verse

  • For free verse, don’t abandon ALL rules- just most of them! 

  • Doesn’t have to rhyme.

  • Doesn’t have to use meter.

  • Sounds more like normal speech.

  • BUT! Free verse poets still try really hard to make their poems sound rhythmic. One way they do this is through repeating sentence patterns.

Valentine for ernest mann by naomi shihab nye

“Valentine for Ernest Mann”by Naomi ShihabNye

You can't order a poem like you order a taco.Walk up to the counter, say, "I'll take two"and expect it to be handed back to youon a shiny plate.

Still, I like your spirit.Anyone who says, "Here's my address,write me a poem," deserves something in reply.So I'll tell you a secret instead:poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,they are sleeping. They are the shadowsdrifting across our ceilings the momentbefore we wake up. What we have to dois live in a way that lets us find them.

Once I knew a man who gave his wifetwo skunks for a valentine.He couldn't understand why she was crying."I thought they had such beautiful eyes."And he was serious. He was a serious manwho lived in a serious way. Nothing was uglyjust because the world said so. He reallyliked those skunks. So, he re-invented themas valentines and they became beautiful.At least, to him. And the poems that had been hidingin the eyes of skunks for centuriescrawled out and curled up at his feet.

Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give uswe find poems. Check your garage, the odd sockin your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite.And let me know.

I too sing america by langston hughes

“I, Too, Sing America” by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.


I'll be at the table

When company comes.


Say to me,

"Eat in the kitchen,"



They'll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

There are dozens of types of poetry we are learning seven

There are dozens of types of poetry. We are learning seven.

  • Elegies

  • Ballads

  • Lyric

  • Narrative

  • Limerick

  • Odes

  • Free verse

Lyric poem usually very short and express feelings or thoughts rather than tell stories

Lyric poem: Usually very short and express feelings or thoughts rather than tell stories.

O God of dust and rainbows

help us see

That without dust the rainbow

would not be.

~Langston Hughes

Odes long lyric poem usually praising some subject and written in dignified language

Odes: long lyric poem usually praising some subject, and written in dignified language.

  • “Ode to a Frog”

  • “Ode to Thanks” Pablo Neruda

Ode to thanks

“Ode to Thanks”

Thanks to the wordthat says thanks!Thanks to thanks,wordthat meltsiron and snow! The world is a threatening placeuntilthanksmakes the roundsfrom one pair of lips to another,soft as a brightfeatherand sweet as a petal of sugar,filling the mouth with its soundor else a mumbledwhisper.Life becomes human again:it’s no longer an open window.A bit of brightnessstrikes into the forest,and we can sing again beneath the leaves.Thanks, you’re the medicine we taketo save us fromthe bite of scorn.Your light brightens the altar of harshness. Or maybea tapestryknownto far distant peoples.

Travelersfan outinto the wilds,and in the jungleof strangers,mercirings outwhile the hustling trainchanges countries,sweeping away borders,then spasiboclinging to pointyvolcanoes, to fire and freezing cold,or danke, yes! and gracias, andthe world turns into a table:a single word has wiped it clean,plates and glasses gleam,silverware tinkles,and the tablecloth is as broad as a plain. Thank you, thanks,for going out and returning,for rising upand settling down.We know, thanks,that you don’t fill every space-you’re only a word-butwhere your little petalappearsthe daggers of pride take cover,and there’s a penny’s worth of smiles

Narrative tells a story through a series of related events

Narrative: tells a story through a series of related events

  • “Paul Revere’s Ride” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sonnets fourteen line poem that follows strict rules of rhyme meter and structure

Sonnets: Fourteen-line poem that follows strict rules of rhyme, meter, and structure

  • Shakespeare

Ballads a song told in simple meter and with simple rhyme

Ballads: a song told in simple meter and with simple rhyme

  • “The Cremation of Sam McGee”

  • “The Man From Snowy River”

The man from snowy river

The Man From Snowy River

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed aroundThat the colt from old Regret had got away,And had joined the wild bush horses -- he was worth a thousand pound,So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and farHad mustered at the homestead overnight,For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,The old man with his hair as white as snow;But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up --He would go wherever horse and man could go.And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,No better horseman ever held the reins;For never horse could throw him while the saddle-girths would stand,He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,He was something like a racehorse undersized,With a touch of Timor pony -- three parts thoroughbred at least --And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.He was hard and tough and wiry -- just the sort that won't say die --There was courage in his quick impatient tread;And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

The man from snowy river1

The Man From Snowy River

But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,And the old man said, "That horse will never doFor a long and tiring gallop -- lad, you'd better stop away,Those hills are far too rough for such as you.“So he waited sad and wistful -- only Clancy stood his friend --"I think we ought to let him come," he said;"I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,For both his horse and he are mountain bred."

"He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,The man that holds his own is good enough.And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,Where the river runs those giant hills between;I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen."

So he went -- they found the horses by the big mimosa clump --They raced away towards the mountain's brow,And the old man gave his orders, "Boys, go at them from the jump,No use to try for fancy riding now.And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,If once they gain the shelter of those hills."

The man from snowy river2

The Man From Snowy River

So Clancy rode to wheel them -- he was racing on the wingWhere the best and boldest riders take their place,And he raced his stock-horse past them, and he made the ranges ringWith the stockwhip, as he met them face to face.Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash,But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash,And off into the mountain scrub they flew.

Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and blackResounded to the thunder of their tread,And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered backFrom cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way,Where mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;And the old man muttered fiercely, "We may bid the mob good day,No man can hold them down the other side."

The man from snowy river3

The Man From Snowy River

When they reached the mountain's summit, even Clancy took a pull,It well might make the boldest hold their breath,The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was fullOf wombat holes, and any slip was death.But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,While the others stood and watched in very fear.

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,He cleared the fallen timber in his stride,And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat --It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.Through the stringy barks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,At the bottom of that terrible descent.

He was right among the horses as they climbed the further hill,And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely, he was right among them still,As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies metIn the ranges, but a final glimpse revealsOn a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,With the man from Snowy River at their heels.

The man from snowy river4

The Man From Snowy River

And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam.He followed like a bloodhound on their track,Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home,And alone and unassisted brought them back.But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,For never yet was mountain horse a cur. And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise

Their torn and rugged battlements on high,Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blazeAt midnight in the cold and frosty sky,And where around the Overflow the reedbeds sweep and swayTo the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,The man from Snowy River is a household word to-day,And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.

Epics long narrative poem about the many deeds of a great hero

Epics: Long narrative poem about the many deeds of a great hero.

  • “Beowolf”

  • Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey”

  • “Casey at the Bat” (mock epic-imitates an epic style in a comical way in order to make fun of its topic)



“Hail, Hrothgar!

Higlac is my cousin and my king; the days

Of my youth have been filled with glory. Now Grendel’s

Name has echoed in our land: Sailors

Have brought us stories of Herot, the best

Of all mead-halls, deserted and useless when the moon

Hangs in skies the sun had lit,

Light and life fleeing together. My people have said, the wisest, most knowing

And best of them, that my duty was to go to the Danes’

Great King. They have seen my strength for themselves,

Have watched me rise from the darkness of war,

Dripping with my enemies’ blood. I drove

Five great giants into chains, chased

All of that race from the earth. I swam

In the blackness of night, hunting monsters

Out of the ocean, and killing them one

By one; death was my errand and the fate

They had earned. Now Grendel and I are called

Together, and I’ve come. Grant me, then,

Beowolf continued

Beowolf, continued…

Lord and protector of this novel place,

A single request! I have come so far,

Oh shelterer of warriors and your people’s loved friend,

That this one favor you should not refuse me-

That I, alone and with the help of my men,

May purge all evil from this hall. I have heard,

Too, that the monster’s scorn of men

Is so great that he needs no weapons and fears none.

Nor will I. My lord Higlac

Might think less of me if I let my sword

Go where my feet were afraid to, if I hid

Behind some broad linden shield: My hands

Alone shall fight for me, struggle for life

Against the monster. God must decide

Who will be given to death’s cold grip.

Casey at the bat ernest lawrence t hayer

“Casey at the Bat” Ernest Lawrence Thayer

The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The restClung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that -We'd put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Casey at the bat

“Casey at the Bat”

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

Casey at the bat1

“Casey at the Bat”

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore."Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;And its likely they'd a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two.“

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.

Elegies a poem of mourning usually about someone who has died

Elegies: a poem of mourning usually about someone who has died.

  • “O Captain! My Captain!” elegy on the death of Abraham Lincoln

O captain my captain walt whitman

“O Captain! My Captain!” Walt Whitman

  • O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won,The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;But O heart! heart! heart!O the bleeding drops of red,Where on the deck my Captain lies,Fallen cold and dead.O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;Rise up--for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;Here Captain! dear father!This arm beneath your head!It is some dream that on the deck,You've fallen cold and dead.My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;Exult O shores, and ring O bells!But I, with mournful tread,Walk the deck my Captain lies,Fallen cold and dead

Free verse doesn t use structured meter or rhyme

Free verse: doesn’t use structured meter or rhyme

  • “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman

  • “A Valentine for Ernest Mann”

  • “I, too, am America” Langston Hughes

I hear america singing walt whitman

“I Hear America Singing” Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,

The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,

The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Limericks a very short humorous or non sensical poem

Limericks: A very short humorous or non-sensical poem

  • Have 5 lines

  • Has a definitive rhythm

  • Uses an aabba rhyme scheme

  • Tells a brief story

    I sat next to the Duchess at tea;

    It was just as I feared it would be;

    Her rumblings abdominal

    Were truly phenomenal,

    And everyone thought it was me!

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