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POETRY. The Joy of Words. Organic vs. formulaic . Raw w/ or w/out rhyme Patternless ? Random Off the wall I nformal. Clean Rhyme schemes Follows rules Patterns Orderly Not so crazy Formal. Figurative Language. Personification Simile Metaphor Irony Satire Hyperbole

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The Joy of Words

Organic vs formulaic
Organic vs. formulaic

  • Raw

  • w/ or w/out rhyme

  • Patternless?

  • Random

  • Off the wall

  • Informal

  • Clean

  • Rhyme schemes

  • Follows rules

  • Patterns

  • Orderly

  • Not so crazy

  • Formal

Figurative language
Figurative Language

  • Personification

  • Simile

  • Metaphor

  • Irony

  • Satire

  • Hyperbole

  • Understatement

  • Overstatement

  • Paradox


  • The wind whispered in his ear, “Be still. . . Be still.”

  • Raindrops kissed the dry earth bringing hope to the whole town.

  • Motley thought, “I hope we stop here. I really have to go.” He sniffed the fire hydrant as Billy talked to Sally. Sally didn’t have Gracie with her today. Man, he loved that little white poodle.

The world is not a pleasant place to be
The world is not a pleasant place to be

  • Nikki Giovanni

    the world is not a pleasant place

    to be without

    someone to hold and be held by

    a river would stop

    its flow if only

    a stream were there

    to receive it

    an ocean would never laugh

    if clouds weren’t there

    to kiss her tears

    the world is not

    a pleasant place to be without


I wondered lonely as a cloud
I wondered lonely as a cloud

  • William Wordsworth

    I wondered lonely as a cloud

    That 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 shine

    And twinkle on the milky way,

    They stretched in never-ending line

    Along the margin of a bay:

    Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

    Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.


  • Her eyes glittered like moon beams flickering off the lake.

  • The pain ripped through him like a flame torturing his soul.

  • Joy filled the room as if it were tangible. . . as if it were soft swirlings of cotton candy floating around and around.

Earth your dancing place
Earth your dancing place

– May Swenson

Beneath heaven’s vault

remember always walking

through halls of cloud

down aisles of sunlight

or through high hedges

of the green rain

walk in the world

highheeled with swirl of cape

hand at the swordhilt

of your pride

Keep a tall throat

Remain aghast at life

Enter each day

as upon a stage

lighted and waiting

for your step

Crave upward as flame

have keenness in the nostril

Give your eyes

to agony or rapture

Train your hands

as birds to be

brooding or nimble

Move your body

as the horses

sweeping on slender hooves

over crag and prairie

with fleeing manes

and aloofness of their limbs

Take earth for your own large room

and the floor of earth

carpeted with sunlight

and hung round with silver wind

for your dancing place


  • His hands were claws digging into my flesh. I was his prey; he was the hunter.

  • My fear was a heavy load of everyone else’s packages: their expectations were overwhelming me.

  • The book was an exciting journey into the realm of Egyptian tombs.

An indian summer day on the prairie
An indian summer day on the prairie

  • VachelLindsay

    In the Beginning

    The sun is a huntress young,

    The sun is red, red joy,

    The sun is an Indian girl,

    Of the tribe of the Illinois.


    The sun is a smoldering fire,

    That creeps through the high gray plain,

    And leaves not a bush of cloud

    To blossom with flowers of rain.


The sun is a wounded deer,

That treads pale grass in the skies,

Shaking his golden horns,

Flashing his baleful eyes.


The sun is an eagle old;

There in the windless west,

Atop of the spirit-cliffs

He builds him a crimson nest.


  • An ad for cigarettes right next to an ad for help with cancer

  • Saying something is beautiful when it’s actually an awful thing that has happened

  • Saying something is “sick” when it’s actually beautiful or neat

Ex basketball player
Ex-basketball player

  • John Updike

    Pearl Avenue runs past the high-school lot,

    Bends with the trolley tracks, and stops, cut off

    Before it has a chance to go two blocks,

    At Colonel McComsky Plaza. Berth’s Garage

    Is on the corner facing west, and there,

    Most days, you’ll find Flick Webb, who helps Berth out.

    Flick stands tall among the idiot pumps—

    Five on a side, the old bubble-head style,

    Their rubber elbows hanging loose and low.

    One’s nostrils are two S’s, and his eyes

    An E and O. And one is squat, without

    A head at all—more of a football type.

    Once Flick played for the high-school team, the Wizards.

    He was good: in fact, the best. In ‘46

    He bucketed three hundred ninety points,

    A county record still. The ball loved Flick.

    I saw him rack up thirty-eight or forty

    In one home game. His hands were like wild birds.

He never learned a trade, he just sells gas,

Checks oil, and changes flats. Once in a while,

As a gag, he dribbles an inner tube,

But most of us remember anyway.

His hands are fine and nervous on the lug wrench.

It makes no difference to the lug wrench, though.

Off work, he hangs around Mae’s Luncheonette.

Grease-gray and kind of coiled, he plays pinball,

Smokes those thin cigars, nurses lemon phosphates.

Flick seldom says a word to Mae, just nods

Beyond her face toward bright applauding tiers

Of Necco Wafers, Nibs, and Juju Beads.


  • Jonathon Swift’s, “The Perfect Proposal”

  • Scary Movie

    • Spoofing

    • Mocking

    • Mimicking

    • Impersonating



My dad gave me one dollar bill

‘Cause I’m his smartest son,

And I swapped it for two shiny quarters

‘Cause two is more than one!

And then I took the quarters

And traded them to Lou

For three dimes—I guess he don’t know

That three is more than two!

Just then, along came old blind Bates

And just ’cause he can’t see

He gave me four nickels for my three dimes,

And four is more than three!

And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs

Down at the seed-feed store,

And the fool gave me five pennies for them,

And five is more than four!

And then I went and showed my dad,

And he got red in the cheeks

And closed his eyes and shook his head—

Too proud of me to speak!


  • His hatred consumed to the point where it burnt holes into my soul.

  • His love overtook my every movement; my life was forever dedicated to his requests.

  • School is beyond boring; it’s like watching a tree grow a new leaf—you may never see the beginning or the end.

  • Lunch today was so exuberantly disgusting; I thought I was on the season premiere of Fear Factor eating eggs of some not so exotic bird.

Tonight i can write
Tonight I can write . . .

  • Pablo Neruda

    Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

    Write, for example, “The night is shattered and the blue stars shiver in the distance.”

    The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

    Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

    I loved her, and sometimes she loved me to.

    Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.

    I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

    She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.

    How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

    Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

    To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

    To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.

    And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

    What does it matter that my love could not keep her.

    The night is shattered and she is not with me.

    This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.

    My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.

My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.

We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.

My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. Like my kisses before.

Her voice. Her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.

Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms

my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer

and these the last verses that I write for her.


  • The break-up was like stubbing a toe (he actually put his fist through a window and needed 12 stitches)

  • Their love was a prick in my side (when his infatuation with her was all-consuming)

  • Winter in Pennsylvania can be chilly (after a week of below 25 temperatures)

  • The TV reception is annoying (when no channels will stay in & everything comes in with static)

How things work
How things work

  • Gary Soto

    Today it’s going to cost us thirty-five dollars

    To live. Six for a softball. Eight for a book,

    A handful of ones for coffee and two sweet rolls,

    Bus fare, rosin for your mother’s violin.

    We’re completing our task. The tip I left

    For the waitress filters down

    Like rain, wetting the new roots of a child

    Perhaps, a belligerent cat that won’t let go

    Of a balled sock until there’s chicken to eat.

    As far as I can tell, daughter, it works like this:

    You buy crayons from a stationer, a bag of apples

    From the farmer’s market, and what dollars

    Are passed on help others buy pencils, a guitar,

    Tickets to a matinee movie.

    If we buy a goldfish, someone tries on a hat.

    If we buy crayons, someone walks home with a broom.

    A tip, a small purchase here and there,

    And things just keep going. I guess.


  • You’ve got it all

  • She has the most beautiful voice you’ll ever hear

  • He was so mean; He was a Hitler

  • Their romance is as dangerous as Romeo and Juliet’s

  • All of the problems in this country have been caused by Democrats (or Republicans)

I m nobody who are you
I’m nobody! Who are you?

  • Emily Dickinson

    I’m Nobody! Who are you?

    Are you—Nobody—Too?

    Then there’s a pair of us!

    Don’t tell! they’d advertise—you know!

    How dreary—to be—Somebody!

    How public—like a Frog—

    To tell one’s name— the livelong June —

    To an admiring Bog!


  • Will bite when cornered (ad for a tire)

    • Divergence or variation in the word bite

    • Bite would normally mean with teeth; this means with the tread of the tires

  • It’s a Sucker (ad for a vacuum cleaner)

    • Divergence or variation in the word sucker

    • Sucker would normally mean someone who is easily tricked; this means to actually suck in the dirt

The secret
The secret

  • Denise Levertov

    Two girls discover

    the secret of life

    in a sudden line of


    I who don’t know the

    secret wrote

    the line. They

    told me

    (through a third person)

    they had found it

    but not what it was

    not even

    What line it was. No doubt

    by now, more than a week

    later, they have forgotten

    the secret,

the line, the name of

the poem. I love them

for finding what

I can’t find,

and for loving me

for the line I wrote,

and for forgetting it

so that

a thousand times, till death

finds them, they may

discover it again, in other


in other

happenings. And for

wanting to know it,


assuming there is

such a secret, yes,

for that

most of all.


  • Enjambment

  • Onomatopoeia

  • Alliteration

  • Assonance

  • Consonance

  • Repetition

  • Rhyme

  • Imagery


  • The continuation of a sentence from one line of a poem into the next

  • A run-on line

  • Makes the reader’s eye follow the line

  • Can help with the poem’s meter & flow

  • Is, however, used in organic poetry, too

The peace of wild things
The peace of wild things

  • Wendell Berry

    When despair for the world grows in me

    and I wake in the night at the least sound

    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

    I go and lie down where the wood drake

    rests in this beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

    I come into the peace of wild things

    who do not tax their lives with forethought

    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

    And I feel above me the day-blind stars

    waiting with their light. For a time

    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


  • Sound words

    • Crash

    • Bang

    • Toot

    • Bleep

    • Sizzle

    • Swish

    • Pow

    • Whack

Honky tonk in cleveland ohio
Honky tonk in cleveland, ohio

  • 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.


  • Repetition of same sound in a poem

    • Must have two or more words with same sound

  • Tongue twisters

    • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers

    • Shelly picks sea shells at the sea shore

  • Calls attention to certain words

    • He who laughs last laughs first.

    • Time and tide wait for no man.

The bells
The bells

  • By Edgar Alan Poe

  • I (of IV)Hear the sledges with the bells - Silver bells!What a world of merriment their melody foretells!How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,In the icy air of night!While the stars that oversprinkleAll the heavens seem to twinkleWith a crystalline delight;Keeping time, time, time,In a sort of Runic rhyme,To the tintinnabulation that so musically wellsFrom the bells, bells, bells, bells,Bells, bells, bells - From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


  • Repetition of VOWEL sounds in words that are close to each other

  • John Betjeman's 'A Subaltern's Love Song'

    • "westering, questioning settles the sun / On your low-leaded window”

A rose for janet
A rose for janet

I know

this rose is only

an ink-and-paper rose

but see how it grows and goes

on growing

beneath your eyes:

a rose in flower

has had (almost) its vegetable hour

whilst my

rose of spaces and typography

can reappear at will

(your will)

whenever you repeat

this ceremony of the eye

from the beginning

and thus

learn how

to resurrect a rose

that’s instantaneous


and perfect now

By Charles Tomlinson


  • repetition of similar consonant sounds, especially at the ends of words

    • lost and past

    • confess and dismiss

Stopping by woods on a snowy evening
Stopping by woods on a snowy evening

  • By Robert Frost

    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. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep. 

    This poem provides a good example of Assonance and Consonance. The “s” sound.



  • Harrison Fuller

      Repetition can be good Repetition can be bad Repetition can make you smile Repetition can make you mad To repeat a specific word That is repetition Repetition can take a hold That is the repeating mission Repetition is used in life Repetition is used in speech Repetition is used in writing Repetition is in reach To repeat a repeatable word Gives speech a repeatable rhyme The repeatable rhyme has a repeatable pattern Which is not a repeatable crime

Repetition can be annoying Repetition can be a pain Repetition can get better Repetition can repeatedly gain When an intelligent word is repeated It repeatedly loses its awe Repeating it often loses value But mild repetition adds more Repetition will reappear Repetition will come round Repetition will be seen again Repetition’s a familiar sound I’ll repeat what I said at the beginning And I’ll repeat it at the end Repetition may do some good But it’ll send you repeatedly round the bend http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/repetition/


Come on

Get a clue

You know how to rhyme

You do!

The adjacent poem is written by Sarah Teasdale and is titled, “There will come soft rains”

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;And frogs in the pools singing at night,And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;Robins will wear their feathery fireWhistling their whims on a low fence-wire;And not one will know of the war, not oneWill care at last when it done.Not one would mind, neither bird nor treeIf mankind perished utterly;And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,Would scarcely know that we were gone.

  • Each couplet has an end rhyme.


  • Words paint pictures

  • Makes experience more real for reader

  • Impact of meaning enhanced

  • Every word counts

    • Active verbs

    • Fun words

    • Meaningful adjectives

Cherry blossoms adrift
Cherry blossoms adrift

  • By Mary O. Fumento, 1999

    Pink petals passingScents above so highPainted porcelain perfectionBlossoms caress the sky

    Swaying silent shroudSuitors strolling byPink petals passingLover's gentle sigh

    Pastel hues fallingSlow fluttering gracePink petals passingLining streams in lace

    Pink petals passingSmoothest transit bySoft essence floatingIn most subtle lullaby

    Inducing springtime slumberUpon a satin shoreSailing with the currentPink petals pass before


Types of poems
Types of poems

  • Haiku

  • Cinquain

  • Limerick

  • Free verse