Published on March 27, 2008
Elements of Poetry : Elements of Poetry Poets have many tools they use to add to the poem’s sound, meaning, and emotional effect on the reader. Slide 2: 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 not rhyme. Lines : 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. Stanza : 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. Four Stanzas in Couplets 1 2 3 4 Each Stanza Signals a New Image “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. Rhyme and Rhyme Scheme : 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 : Rhythm 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 what’s stressed. Whenever the wind is high Stressed = Unstressed = 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? Free Verse : 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 Alliteration : Alliteration 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 “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. Imagery : Imagery 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 “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. Exaggeration : Exaggeration 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. “Beetles” by Monica Shannon Beetles must use polish, They look so new and shiny! Just like a freshly painted car, Except for being tiny. Poet stretches the truth about how beetles become shiny to make readers smile and to create greater interest in these insects. Simile : Simile 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 “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. Metaphor : Metaphor 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 “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. Onomatopoeia : Onomatopoeia “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 Whooshs Barooms Whews Personification : Personification 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. “Snowy Benches” by Aileen Fisher Do parks get lonely in winter, perhaps, when benches have only snow on their laps? Parks have feelings and benches have laps. The poet asks whether the parks feel lonely in winter, like people sometimes do. Idiom : Idiom 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 “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! “I had them pat” - knowing something well. “My brain is cooking” - it was working fast and bubbling over with ideas. Symbol : 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. Something that stands for something more than just itself. Suggests another larger meaning. Example: the American flag is a symbol of freedom. 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. Mood : Mood 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. “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. Tone : Tone 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. “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! Identify the Elements of Poetry : Identify the Elements of Poetry 1. Use the poetry books and/or poem handouts to find an example of each element of poetry. 2. Share your examples with your teams/partners. 3. Be prepared to share your examples with the class. Make sure you can explain why each example fits an element of poetry.