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Poetic Form #1: The Haiku


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    1. Poetic Form #1: The Haiku This is master Basho, the great Japanese poet who invented the haiku as we know it: a tiny poem filled with a love of nature. He spent his life close to nature. After a year in 1683 during which his hut burned down and his mother died, he took to the road. From the age of forty (in 1684) he travelled from place to place, like a tramp or wandering monk, walking through the countryside, living by teaching poetry in each town or village where he stopped. His attitude to nature was humble, selfless, and deeply respectful. He said, "Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo."

    2. Mo’ on Basho One of Basho's fans, a poetry student, came to him and said, "I've got a great idea for a poem! It goes: 'Pull the wings off a dragonfly, and look - you get a red pepperpod!'" Basho said, "No. That is not in the spirit of haiku. You should write: 'Add wings to a pepperpod, and look - you get a red dragonfly!'" Cruelty, violence and sensationalism have no place in haiku poetry. The natural processes of suffering and death do, but the attitude to creatures that suffer is compassionate. Basho had hundreds of keen students all over the country and some of them built him a little hut. In the front garden they planted a banana tree, which in Japanese is called a basho, and that is how he got his name. He is the poet of the banana-tree hut. Sitting in his little hut he wrote this poem: Evening rain:the basho speaks of it first

    3. Traditional Haiku Basho told his followers that the experience the poem was based on was more important than fancy or clever language. The poet should be absorbed in nature. The poet should not show off in the poem. He told them to aim for simplicity with elegance in expressing the "haiku moment," the truth of the original noticing. Japanese haiku have seventeen syllables in three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Here are two examples: The red blossom bends And drips its dew to the ground Like a tear it falls Curving up, then down, Meeting blue sky and green earth Melding sun and rain

    4. Untraditional/Western Haiku In the last examples, the first line is 5 syllables, the second 7, and the third 5 again. This is all well and good but it's not necessary at all! In fact, most modern haiku in the western world no longer adheres to this structure. Here are some more contemporary examples:

    5. Your Assignment: 3 Haikus • On a separate sheet of paper, please write three haikus. • Remember … they are supposed to be about the natural world, but you can bend the rules a little bit. • K.I.S.S. ~ keep it simple, stupid • Use the traditional pattern, or be a little untraditional if you’d like.

    6. Poetic Form #2: The Limerick • A light humorous, nonsensical, or bawdy verse of five anapestic lines usually with the rhyme scheme aabba. Limerick Pattern --/ --/ --/ A (da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM) --/ --/ --/ A (da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM) --/ --/ B (da da DUM da da DUM) --/ --/ B (da da DUM da da DUM) --/ --/ --/ A (da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)

    7. Examples of Limericks(from kids in the UK) There was a young lady from IckenhamWho went on a bus-trip to Twickenham. She drank too much beer, Which made her feel queer,So she took off her boots and was sick-in-'em. There was a young man from DealingWho caught the bus for Ealing. It said on the door Don't spit on the floor So he jumped up and spat on the ceiling

    8. Examples of Limericks(from kids in the UK) There was an old person of FrattonWho would go to church with his hat on. 'If I wake up,' he said, ‘'With a hat on my head,I will know that it hasn't been sat on.‘ There once was an old man from Esser,Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser.   It at last grew so small,   He knew nothing at all,And now he's a college professor.

    9. Examples of Limericks(from kids in the UK) There was a young lady from Hyde,Who ate a green apple and died.   While her lover lamented,   The apple fermented,And made cyder inside her inside. I once had a blind date with Cilla.I took her to watch Aston Villa. She sang to the crowd And she sang very loudAnd that's why they threatened to kill 'er.

    10. Examples of Limericks(some of my favorites) I favor the limerick form,For serious work not the norm; A new way to capture, A feeling of rapture,Or visions of wild thunderstorm. Well, it's partly the shape of the thing That gives the old limerick wing; These accordion pleats Full of airy conceits Take it up like a kite on a spring. A decrepit old gas man named Peter, While hunting around for the meter, Touched a leak with his light. He arose out of sight, And, as anyone can see by reading this, he also destroyed the meter.

    11. Your Assignment: 2 Limericks • On the same sheet of paper as your haikus, write two limericks. • Remember … they are supposed to be funny, light, and humorous. Please don’t write some dark, dreary, & depressing limericks. It just won’t work. • Use the traditional (da da dum) pattern. Try not to screw with the meter too much.

    12. Poetic Form #3: Epitaphs 1: an inscription on or at a tomb or a grave in memory of the one buried there. 2: a brief statement commemorating or epitomizing a deceased person.

    13. Bonney, William H. (Billy the Kid) Truth and History. 21 Men. The Boy Bandit King He Died As He Lived William H. Bonney "Billy the Kid"

    14. Benjamin Franklin The Body of B. Franklin, Printer Like the Cover of an old Book Its Contents turn out And Stript of its Lettering & Guilding Lies here.  Food for Worms For, it will as he believed appear once more In a new and more elegant Edition corrected and improved By the Author

    15. Poe, Edgar Allan Fly Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.” Ruth, George Herman "Babe" May That Divine Spirit That Animated  BABE RUTH to Win the Crucial Game of Life Inspire the Youth of America

    16. Maris, Roger Eugene 61/61 Against all Odds Shakespeare, William Good frend for Jesus sake forbeare, To digg the dust encloased heare! Blest be the man that spares thes stones, And curst be he that moves my bones.

    17. Unknown U.S. Soldier Here Rests in Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But to God Capone, Alphonse My Jesus Mercy

    18. Chris Farley The Clown's Prayer"As I stumble through this life, help me to create more laughter than tears, dispense more happiness than gloom, spread more cheer than despair. Never let me become so indifferent that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged. Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people, make them happy and forget at least momentarily all the  unpleasantness in their lives. And, in my final moment; may I hear You whisper: When you made My people smile, you made Me smile."

    19. Poetic Form #4: Found Poem • Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions. • The end result is a poem that is “treated” meaning the word order has been profoundly changed, or “untreated” where words and phrases are virtually unchanged in order (syntax) or meaning.

    20. Found Poem Examples: This found poem was created from a expository text on mechanics: William Whewell’s "An Elementary Treatise on Mechanics”. Hence no force, however great, can stretch a cord, however fine, into a horizontal line which is accurately straight. * This is a “treated” found poem. The poet changed word order when they saw end line rhyme like fine and line.

    21. In 2003, Hart Seely, a poet, heard a Department of Defense news briefing, took the transcript, and wrote this found poem: As we know, There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know There are known unknowns. That is to say We know there are some things We do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, The ones we don't know We don't know. * This is an “untreated” found poem; all Seely did was add line breaks. He did not change word order (syntax) at all.

    22. A leap of faith . . . • Get out a text (could be a textbook, a novel, an instruction guide, an informative text, or directions for programming your mp3 player.) • The more obscure the better. • Try to find a found poem in it.

    23. Poetic Form #5: Acrostic Poem • From the Greek words ákros "top" stíchos "verse“ • A poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. • There are extremely complex and coded acrostic poems, but we’ll just play around with our names to describe our character.

    24. R eally hungry right about now. • Y ogurt is good; it comes from a cow. • A rtichoke hearts make great dip for veggies. • N oodles I eat with my friend named Reggie. • B urritos. • E ggs, scrambled, with sausage, cilantro, and toast. • R ice with tikka masala on a chicken roast. • N uts: pistachio, almonds, peanuts, and pine. • S alad is fine from time to time. • T urkey on Thanksgiving is what I eat. • E nglish muffins are a nice morning treat. • I just don’t think I can entertain dessert. • Now, get real, on to some orange sherbert.

    25. M ore def than Mos Def. • A lways know more ball that the ref. • T rickin’ suckas with the greatest of ease. • T oo bad you can’t compete, you with all your fleas. • S ick is what they called me back in Generation X. • C hickow is what they say when they see me flex. • H owever, hoops was never my game • A nyone who’s seen me play knows I’m lame. • C itin’ poetry ‘cause I’m to cool for the R.E. • H ey, ever seen me do T’ai Chi • Tight, yo.

    26. Flowetry Waves crash upon the shore As I walk down the beach. • Write two lines of a poem about a topic of your choice. Each line should be 5 - 7 syllables. Underline the last word in each line. • Pass your poem along to the next person. Write two more lines to the poem you get. Each line should 5 – 7 syllables. The last word of the 3rd line should rhyme with the last word of the 1st line. Similarly, the last word of the 4th line should rhyme with the last word in the 2nd line. • Hopefully, so far, you’ve just introduced the topic the poem will cover. Let’s review the rhyme scheme. Waves crash upon the shore As I saunter down the beach. Enticing me to the core It seems just out of reach. A B A B

    27. Floetry • Pass the poem again. This time, start a new stanza. A stanza is to a poem like a paragraph is prose. Separate the first quatrain from the second with a line. Write two new lines, 5 – 7 syllables. Be sure that the last words do not rhyme with any of the lines you already have. Waves crash upon the shore, as I saunter down the beach. Enticing me to the core, it seems just out of reach. You see, it’s looks refreshing, But I’m all dry and warm.

    28. Floetry • 4. Pass the poem again. Finish the second stanza. Be sure to keep the rhyme scheme & meter intact. • Hopefully, at this point, you’ve introduced some type of problem into the poem. In my example, there is inner conflict with the narrator. He wants to swim, but can’t find the motivation. Let’s review the rhyme scheme. Waves crash upon the shore, as I saunter down the beach. Enticing me to the core, it seems just out of reach. You see, it’s looks refreshing, But I’m all dry and warm. Not swimming is depressing, but I can’t break this norm. A B A B C D C D

    29. Floetry • 5. Pass the poem again. And again, start a new stanza. Be sure to keep the rhyme scheme & meter intact. This time, try to either solve the problem in the poem or complicate the problem even more. This is called a “turning point” or “shift” in tone, and is noticeable in a lot of poems. Waves crash upon the shore, as I saunter down the beach. Enticing me to the core, it seems just out of reach. You see, it’s looks refreshing, But I’m all dry and warm. Not swimming is depressing, but I can’t break this norm. Then I say, “screw it!” And run to grab my trunks.

    30. Floetry • 6. Pass the poem along again. Finish the third stanza. • Let’s review the rhyme scheme. Waves crash upon the shore, as I saunter down the beach. Enticing me to the core, it seems just out of reach. You see, it’s looks refreshing, But I’m all dry and warm. Not swimming is depressing, but I can’t break this norm. Then I say, “screw it!” And run to grab my suit. First wave comes, jump right through it. Excitement in me lets out a hoot. A B A B C D C D E F E F

    31. Floetry • 7. Uno mas. But this time, we’re going to add some finality to the poem. Try to finish the idea in the poem. Aim for 10 syllables in the last two lines. The lines should rhyme with each other, but shouldn’t rhyme with previous lines. Waves crash upon the shore, as I saunter down the beach. Enticing me to the core, it seems just out of reach. You see, it’s looks refreshing, But I’m all dry and warm. Not swimming is depressing, but I can’t break this norm. Then I say, “screw it!” And run to grab my suit. First wave comes, jump right through it. Excitement in me lets out a hoot. I’m so glad I went for a swim today. You should let your inner child out to play. A B A B C D C D E F E F G G

    32. I just tricked you!This is called a sonnet.Shakespeare used to write them. Sonnet 18 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, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,So long lives this and this gives life to thee.