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What is Poetry?. “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” – Rita Dove “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and thought has found its words.” – Robert Frost “Poetry is thoughts that breath, and words that burn.” – Thomas Gray

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What is Poetry?

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What is Poetry?

  • “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” – Rita Dove

  • “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and thought has found its words.” – Robert Frost

  • “Poetry is thoughts that breath, and words that burn.” – Thomas Gray

  • “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”- Carl Sandburg

  • Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” - Plato

  • I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” - Robert Frost

Narrative Poetry: A poem that tells a story using poetic devices such as rhyme or rhythm. They may have characters, conflict, setting.

“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.'' Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door - Only this, and nothing more.'

Lyricpoetry: consists of a poem, such as a sonnet or an ode, that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. The term lyric is now commonly referred to as the words to a song. Lyric poetry does not tell a story which portrays characters and actions. The lyric poet addresses the reader directly, portraying his or her own feeling, state of mind, and perceptions. Modern lyric poems, although usually not sung, still posses musical qualities

Harlem Night Song

Langston Hughes


Let us roam the night together


I love you.


The Harlem roof-tops

Moon is shining.

Night sky is blue.

Stars are great drops

Of golden dew.

Down the street

A band is playing.

I love you.


Let us roam the night together


Free Verse: Free Verse is a form of Poetry composed of either rhymed or unrhymed lines that have no set fixed metrical pattern. The early 20th-century poets were the first to write what they called "free verse" which allowed them to break from the formula and rigidity of traditional poetry.

  • Song of MyselfbyWalt Whitman

  • 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

Example of Blank Verse

Excerpt from Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

Blank Verse:Poetry or prose in unrhymed iambic pentameter

Figurative Language: (not literal or word for word) Language in which the writer intended something other than the literal meaning. Using words to represent meaning.

Examples : Poetic Devices in Songs - YouTube

Metaphor: Comparing two (unlike) “things” without using like or as

The apple of my eye

Time is a thief - Time isn't really stealing anything, this metaphor just indicates that time passes quickly and our lives pass us by.

My life is a dream The harvest moon is a great pumpkin in the sky

Symbolism: An object or action in a literary work that stands for something beyond itself. Symbolism is when the author uses an object or reference to add deeper meaning to a poem, story, etc.

  • Symbols referring to salvation: Crosses, angels, haloes, clouds, churches

  • Symbols referring to reincarnation or reinvention: Phoenix rising from flames, crosses, rainbows, passing storms, dawn, sunrise, broken chains

  • Symbols referring to death or endings: Gravestones, cemeteries, Grim Reaper, Day of the Dead, skulls, candle blowing out, coffin, ringing of bell

Hyperbole: Intentional over exaggeration

  • “I’ve told you a million times”

  • “It was so cold, I saw polar bears wearing jackets”

  • I had a ton of homework.

  • If I can’t buy that new game, I will die.

  • Appetite

  • In a house the size of a postage stamplived a man as big as a barge.His mouth could drink the entire riverYou could say it was rather largeFor dinner he would eat a trillion beansAnd a silo full of grain,Washed it down with a tanker of milkAs if he were a drain.

Onomatopoeia: Words that imitate the sounds they describe.

  • On the Ning Nang Nong by Spike Milligan

  • On the Ning Nang NongWhere the Cows go Bong!and the monkeys all say BOO!There's a Nong Nang NingWhere the trees go Ping!And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.On the NongNing Nang

Personification: Giving inanimate objects living qualities

Two Sunflowers Move in the Yellow Room.

"Ah, William, we're weary of weather,"said the sunflowers, shining with dew."Our traveling habits have tired us.Can you give us a room with a view?“

"The shattered water made a misty din. Great waves looked over others coming in"from Once by the Pacific by Robert Frost

Alliteration: a phrase with a string of words all beginning with the same sound.

  • Five freaky females finding sales at retail.

  • The slithering snake slipped through the gate.

  • Rabbits running over roses

  • Caring cats cascade offLaughing lamas Lounging.Underneath yelling yaks,Yelling at roamingRats.

Assonance: Repetition of similar vowel sounds in a sentence or phrase to set the mood or add to the meaning of the word.

  • Hear the mellow wedding bells

    From the molten-golden notes - Poe

  • “I wandered lonely as a cloud - Wordsworth

  • The railroad track is miles away,

    And the day is loud with voices speaking,

    Yet there isn't a train goes by all day

    But I hear its whistle shrieking. – Edna St. Vincent Millay

Consonance:Repetition of internal or ending consonant sounds of words close together in poetry. Example: I dropped the locket in the thick mud. Consonance is very similar to alliteration, but the distinction between the two lies in the placement of the sounds. If the repeated sound is at the start of the words, it is alliteration. If it is anywhere else, it is consonance. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/675686

  • "some mammals are clammy“

    The emphasis is on the two m’s

  • Consonance is the repetition of the s sound within "uncertain" and "rustling.“

  • Whose woods these are I think I know.His house is in the village though;He will not see me stopping here,To watch his woods fill up with snow. – Robert Frost

Tone: The implied attitude of the writer

"The word tone in literary terms is borrowed from the expression tone of voice.Tone is the manner in which a poet makes his statement; it reflects his attitude toward his subject.


loving, ironic, bitter, pitying, fanciful, solemn are often tones heard in literature

Concrete Poem: A concrete poem is a poem based on the spacing of words. The pattern of the letters illustrate the meaning of the poem. It does not have to rhyme and can be of any length

  • )a pen_cilholdsa greater knowledgethan any computer,a pencilholds 100yearsof experienceandhas been through the stories ofmillions

Haiku: "Haiku" is a traditional form of Japanese poetry.  Haiku poems consist of 3 lines.  The first and last lines of a Haiku have 5 syllables and the middle line has 7 syllables.  The lines rarely rhyme.

  • I am first with fiveThen seven in the middle --Five again to end.

  • An old silent pond...A frog jumps into the pond,splash! Silence again.

  • Sick and feverishGlimpse of cherry blossomsStill shivering.

Meter: In poetry and verse, meter is the recurring pattern of stressed (accented or long) syllables in lines of a set length

The unstressed syllables are in blue and the stressed syllables in red. 

Shall I - comPARE- theeTO -a SUM - mer’sDAY?

Rhyme Scheme: A regular pattern of rhyming words in a poem

  • Example:

    Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn a

    The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn. a

    Where is the boy that looks after the sheep? b

    “He’s under the haystack, fast asleep.”b

    Will you wake him? “No, not I’ c

    For if I do, he’ll be sure to cry.” c

Stanza: A division or unit of a poem that is repeated in the same form, with similar or identical patterns of rhyme and meter.

  • A Stanza consists of two or more lines of poetry that together form one of the divisions of a poem. The stanzas of a poem are usually of the same length and follow the same pattern of meter and rhyme and are used like paragraphs in a story. Some different types of stanzas are as follows:Couplets - Couplets are stanzas of only two lines which usually rhymeQuatrains - Quatrains are stanzas of four lines which can be written in any rhyme scheme.

Refrain:A refrain is a repeated part of a poem, particularly when it comes either at the end of a stanza or between two stanzas

The cat so silentLay curled up on the rugThe fire a blazeThe room so snug.

Purring, purringQuiet and stillPurring, purringContent from his fill.

Tatters the catBig, fat cat.

He had just eatenA dinner of fishWhat a treat to haveFilling up his dish.

Purring, purringQuiet and stillPurring, purringContent from his fill.

Tatters the catBig, fat cat.

No more cold for the dayHe was in for the nightFun he had hadWhen the day was light.

Purring, purringQuiet and stillPurring, purringContent from his fill.

Tatters the catBig, fat cat.

Rhymeis a poem composed of lines with similar ending sounds

  • "Whose woods these are I think I know,His house is in the village though.He will not see me stopping here,To watch his woods fill up with snow."(Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening")

  • "Hey, why don't I just go eat some hay, make things out of clay, lay by the bay? I just may! What do yasay?"(Adam Sandler, Happy Gilmore, 1996)

A Coupletis a Stanza of only two lines which usually rhyme

  • Rhyming Couplet Example

    But if thou live, remember’d not to be, Die single and thine image dies with thee.

    -Shakespeare, Sonnet III

  • End of Sonnet XVIII So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Simile: Comparing two unlike “things” using like or as

  • "My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain."(W.H. Auden)

  • "Like a feather caught in a vortex, Williams ran around the square of bases at the center of our beseeching screaming."(John Updike, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," 1960)

  • "Matt Leinart slid into the draft like a bald tire on black ice."(Rob Oller, Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 25, 2007)

The word external means “outside.” So an external rhyme scheme is a pattern of words that rhyme on the “outside” edge of the poem – the last syllable in the last word of each line in a stanza.

  • There was a dog named Cat.He always wore a blue hat.People made fun of him,so he changed his name to Jim.

The word internal means “inside.” So an internal rhyme scheme is a pattern of rhyming words inside the same line.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “

'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door; Only this, and nothing more."  Poe

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