Elements of Poetry Poets have many tools they use to add to the poem’s sound, meaning, and emotional effect on the reader.
Poetry is the art of expressing one’s thoughts in verse. • It uses few words to convey its message. • It is meant to be read aloud. • Poetry arouses our emotions. • Poems use imagery or figures of speech to explain feelings or to create a mental picture or idea. • These suggest action or mood. • Many poems have a specific rhyme scheme. • Poems can rhyme or may not rhyme.
Structure of a Poem • The structure of a literary work is the way in which it is put together. • In poetry, structure involves the arrangement of words and lines to produce a desired effect. • It includes the arrangement of words and lines on the page. • Traditional poetry is arranged in lines, with a regular rhythm and often a definite rhyme scheme. • Nontraditional poetry does away with regular rhythm and rhyme, although it is usually set up in lines. • Sometimes poems take unusual shapes or resemble concrete figures of some kind.
Lines • “To a Snowflake” • 1 Hello little snowflake! • 2 Where are all your friends? • 3 Should I expect a lot of them • 4 before the morning ends? • 5 I love it when you come to me • 6 and you all fall down together, • 7 and I get dressed to visit you, • 8 toasty warm in cold, cold weather. A single line in a poem. Often organized into stanzas. 2 lines is a couplet. 3 lines is a triplet or tercet. 4 lines is a quatrain. 5 lines is a quinrain or a cinquain. 6 lines is a sestet. 8 lines is a octet. The poem above has 8 lines. The lines are organized into quatrains.
“First and Last” by David McCord A tadpole hasn’t a pole at all, And he doesn’t live in a hole in the wall. You’ve got it wrong: a polecat’s not A cat on a pole. And I’ll tell you what: A bullfrog’s never a bull; and how Could a cowbird possibly be a cow? A kingbird, though, is a kind of king, And he chases a crow like anything. Stanza • A group of lines. • Often have 4, 5, or 6 lines. • 2 line stanzas are called couplets. • Usually develops one idea. • Give poems structure. • Emphasize different ideas. • Beginning a new stanzas often signals the beginning of a new image, thought, or idea. 1 2 3 4 Four Stanzas in Couplets Each Stanza Signals a New Image
Rhyme and Rhyme Scheme • “Ten Minutes Till the Bus” • by David L. Harrison • Ten whole minutes • Till the bus, • Scads of time, • What’s the fuss? • Two to dress, • One to flush, • Two to eat, • One to brush, • That leaves four • To catch the bus, • Scads of time, • What’s the fuss? Words rhyme when they have the same sound. Poems often use rhyme at the end of lines. Rhyme scheme is a pattern of rhymes in a poem. Poets use rhyme to add a musical sound to their poems. A A B B A A
Rhythm • from “Windy Nights” • By Robert Louis Stevenson • Whenever the moon and stars are set, • Whenever the wind is high, • All night long in the dark and wet, • A man goes riding by. • Late in the night when the fires are out, • Why does he gallop and gallop about? Pattern of beats or a series of stressed and unstressed syllables in poem. Poets create rhythm by using words in which parts are emphasized or not emphasized. The yellow highlighted parts of the poem show whatis stressed. Whenever the wind is high Stressed = Unstressed =
Rhythm • There isn’t time, there isn’t time • To do the things I want to do. • With all the mountain tops to climb • And all the woods to wonder through… • * Here is an example of iambic pentameter—five units of unstressed-stressed syllables. • Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth. Rhythm is measured by meterand foot. Meter is the regular pattern of beats in a line of poetry. The most common meter is iamb. In an iamb, the first syllable is unstressed; the second syllable is stressed. The pattern then repeats itself to the end of the line. Footis one unit of meter. Each time a meter repeats itself--that is one foot. Five feet of meter is called pentameter. Trimeter-three feet of meter Tetrameter—four feet of meter
Repetitionis the use of a word, phrase, or line more than once for emphasis. • How thin and sharp is the moon tonight! • How thin and sharp and ghostly white • Is the slim curved crook of the moon tonight! • --”Winter Moon” by Langston Hughes
Free Verse • “Blossoms” • by Walter Dean Myers • I never dreamt • that tender blossoms • would be brown • Or precious angels • could come down • to live in the garden • of my giving heart • But here you are • brown angel Poetry written without a regular rhyme, rhythm, and form. Sounds natural, just like everyday conversation. Poets use free verse because it allows them to experiment with the shapes and sounds in their poetry. No rhyme or regular rhythm
Exaggeration/ Hyperbole • “Beetles” • by Monica Shannon • Beetles must use polish, • They look so new and shiny! • Just like a freshly painted car, • Except for being tiny. Describe something as larger or wildly different than it actually is. Poets use exaggeration to create a mental picture and spark a reader’s imagination. Poet stretches the truth about how beetles become shiny to make readers smile and to create greater interest in these insects.
Imagery • “There is a Thing” • by Jack Prelutsky • There is a thing • beneath the stair • with slimy face • and oily hair • that does not move • or speak or sing • or do another • single thing • but sit and wait • beneath the stair • with slimy face • and oily hair. Language that appeals to the 5 senses. Are “word pictures”. Helps the reader to experience familiar things in a fresh way using the senses. Strong Image Sensory Words Uses Senses Sound Smell Taste Touch Sight
Figurative Language: Simile • “The World” by Noel Berry • The trees are like the hair of the world. • The city is like the heart of the world. • The wind is a flute player • playing in the night. • The cars beeping horns are like buttons • beeping inside the earth. • Each bird is like a single piccolo • singing away • and the grass, just like me, • being buried under the snow. Comparison between 2 things, using the words like or as. Poets use comparisons between things to make you think about them in a new way. Used to surprise the reader and to create strong images. Comparisons trees to hair a city to a heart car horns beeping to buttons grass to a person bird to a piccolo
Metaphor • “Dreams” by Langston Hughes • Hold fast to dreams • For if dreams die • Life is a broken-winged bird • That cannot fly. • Hold fast to dreams • For when dreams go • Life is a barren field • Frozen with snow. Direct comparison between 2 things. Does NOT use the words like or as. Poet describes a thing or person as if it actually were the other thing or person. Creates a clear, memorable picture and tries to get you to see the original subject in a new way. Comparison of life to a bird Comparison of life to a field
Personification • “Snowy Benches” • by Aileen Fisher • Do parks get lonely • in winter, perhaps, • when benches have only • snow on their laps? Type of figure of speech that gives human qualities to animals, objects, or ideas. Adds life to a poem and helps the reader view a familiar thing in a new way. Parks have feelings and benches have laps. The poet asks whether the parks feel lonely in winter, like people sometimes do.
Alliteration (A Sound Device) • “Surf” by Lillian Morrison • Waves want • to be wheels, • They jump for it • and fail • fall flat • like pole vaulters • and sprawl • arms outstretched • foam fingers • reaching. Repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of several words or sentences or a line of poetry. Poets use alliteration to make their poetry musical and more interesting. Same Beginning Sounds
Onomatopoeia(A Sound Device) • “The Fourth” • by Shel Silverstein • Oh • CRASH! • my • BASH! • it’s • BANG! • the • ZANG! • Fourth • WHOOSH! • Of • BAROOM! • July • WHEW! Use of words that sound like the noises they describe. Poets choose words not just for what they mean, but what they sound like. Poets use onomatopoeia to liven up their writing and add fun sounds to it. On the Fourth of July you hear: Crashes Bashes Bangs Zangs Whooshes Barooms Whews
Idiom • “Last Night” • by David L. Harrison • Last night I knew the answers. • Last night I had them pat. • Last night I could have told you • Every answer, just like that! • Last night my brain was cooking. • Last night I got them right. • Last night I was a genius. • So where were you last night! An everyday saying that doesn’t exactly mean what the words say. Poet’s use idioms because that’s the way people talk to each other. Example: “easy as pie” means you are able to do something without difficulty “I had them pat” - knowing something well. “My brain is cooking” - it was working fast and bubbling over with ideas.
Symbol • “The Farmer” • By Carole Boston Weatherford • A plot of weeds, • An old grey mule. • Hot sun and sweat • On a bright Southern day. • Strong, stern papa • Under a straw hat, • Plowing and planting • His whole life away. • His backbone is forged • Of African Iron • And red Georgia clay. The farmer is a symbol of the proud African culture and the South. “African Iron” and “red Georgia clay” describe the farmer, but link him to his African ancestors in Africa and his fellow southerners. Something that stands for something more than just itself. Suggests another larger meaning. Example: the American flag is a symbol of freedom.
Mood • “Poor” • by Myra Livingston • I heard of poor. • It means hungry, no food. • No shoes, no place to live, • Nothing good. • It means winter nights • And being cold, • It is lonely, alone. • Feeling old. • Poor is a tired face. • Poor is thin. • Poor is standing outside • Looking in. Feeling that a poem creates in the reader. Can be positive or negative. Poet creates the mood with the length of sentences, the words chosen, punctuation, and the sounds of the words. Short words and lines create a serious mood. Words create a feeling of sadness.
Tone • “The Crocodile” • How doth the little crocodile • Improve his shining tail, • And pour the water of the Nile • On every golden scale! • How cheerfully he seems to grin, • How neatly spreads his claws, • And welcomes little fishes in • With gently smiling jaws! Attitude a writer takes toward the subject or audience of a poem. The subject of the poem is crocodiles. The author’s attitude towards crocodiles is that they are dangerous.
Types of Poetry. • Lyric Poetry is poetry that presents the personal thoughts and feelings of a single speaker. • Narrative Poetry is poetry that tells a story. Like fiction, a narrative poem contains characters, a setting, and a plot. Both lyric and narrative poems may contain such elements of poetry as rhyme, rhythm, imagery, and figurative language.
Cinquainis a five-line poem. The first line is one word. The second line is two words describing the first. The third line shows an action with three words. The fourth line has four words that convey a feeling. The fifth line has one word that refers back to line one. • Cat • Orange, black • Eating, sleeping, complaining • After my own heart • Garfield. Specialty poems: • Alimerickis a five-line nonsense poem with anapestic meter. The rhyme scheme is aabba. The first, second, and fifth lines have three stresses; the third and fourth have two. • There was a young fellow named Hall, • Who fell in the spring in the fall; • ‘Twould have been a sad thing • If he’d died in the spring, • But he didn’t – he died in the fall.
More Forms: • Haiku • Is a three-line Japanese poem about nature. The first and third lines must have five syllables, and the second line must have seven syllables. • The sunset glistens • Across the silent river • How peaceful, how bold. Ballad—a story told in verse, usually with four-line stanzas and often a repetitive refrain. It started out as a song. Villanelle—a 19-line poem with five tercets and one quatrain at the end. Sonnet—There are different types of sonnets. It’s name means “little song.” The most familiar to us is made of three quatrains and ends with a couplet. We are most familiar with those of William Shakespeare. Concrete Poetry (pattern or shape poetry) is a picture poem, in which the visual shape of the poem contributes to its meaning. Ode—a type of lyric poem that deals with serious themes, such as justice, truth, or beauty. Epic Poems—a long narrative poem that tells about a hero on a quest or journey.