Elements of Poetry

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Elements of Poetry. From: Elements of Literature. How to read a poem. Read the poem aloud at least once. Read from the “inside out.” Be aware of punctuation, especially periods and commas. If a line of poetry doesn’t end with punctuation, don’t stop. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Elements of Poetry


Elements of PoetryFrom: Elements of LiteratureHow to read a poemRead the poem aloud at least once. Read from the inside out. Be aware of punctuation, especially periods and commas. If a line of poetry doesnt end with punctuation, dont stop.Read the poem for its meaning, using a natural voice. Let the music come through on its own. Pay attention to each word. Pay attention to the title.

Read it out loud!Read the poem aloud at least once. Dont stop just because youre at the end of the line. Only stop for punctuation marks. Each poem has its own pulse, which you can hear more clearly by reading it aloud.

Inside outRead from the inside out. If you read a poem and try to worry about finding the metaphor or identify rhyme schemes, youve missed the point of the poem. Youve read it from the outside in. Dont do that! First, enjoy the poem. Then, ask yourself why you liked it. (metaphors, rhyme, etc. can be found after the first reading.)

Punctuation mattersBe aware of punctuation, especially periods and commas. A period signals the end of a sentence-which is not always at the end of a line. You should make a full stop when you come to a period. If a line of poetry doesnt end with punctuation, dont stop. Continue reading until you read a punctuation mark. http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/p180-howtoread.htmlPoetry is musicIf the poem is written in meter (pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables-most poems use meter), dont read it in a singsong way.Read the poem for its meaning, using a natural voice. Let the music of the poem come through on its own.

Words are importantPay attention to each word. Poets generally use only a few words, so each word is important. Look up unfamiliar words. Pay attention to the title. Sometimes-but not always-the meaning of the poem is hinted at in the title.

Try it!Read this excerpt from a poem out loud, remember to read it first. Stop at the punctuation-not the end of the line. Listen for the natural singsong tone-dont force it.

Still I Rise by Maya AngelouYou may write me down in historyWith your bitter, twisted lies,You may trod me in the very dirtBut still, like dust, I'll rise.

Just like moons and like suns,With the certainty of tides,Just like hopes springing high,Still I'll rise.

You may shoot me with your words,You may cut me with your eyes,You may kill me with your hatefulness,But still, like air, I'll rise.The Sound of PoetryPoetic ElementsThe musical sound of poetry comes from several elements used wisely in the poem. Not all are used in every poem. The poet chooses the elements that best deliver the poem and sound the poet wants to create. Here are a few of the elements commonly used in poetry: RhythmMeterRhymeRefrainAlliterationAssonanceOnomatopoeiaMetaphors and SimilesImagerySymbolism

RhythmThe repetition of stressed and unstressed syllablesProvides the poems beatMU-sicMOUNT-ainBe-CAUSETry your name: Where is the stressed sound? That is the stressed syllable.

For My Grandmother by Countee CullenThis lovely flower fell to seed;Work gently, sun and rain;She held it as her dying creedThat she would grow again.

This lovely flower fell to seed; stressed unstressed

MeterWhen a clear pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables is repeated, that is called meter. Cullens poem For My Grandmother uses meter because the stressed and unstressed syllable pattern is repeated throughout the entire poem. Listen to the consistent pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in the poem one more time. For My Grandmother by Countee CullenThis lovely flower fell to seed;Work gently, sun and rain;She held it as her dying creedThat she would grow again.

This lovely flower fell to seed; stressed unstressed

RhymeThe chiming effect a poem creates-the singsong sound, the music- is done with rhyme. Rhyme is when sounds match in words. There are several types of rhyme. Types of RhymeEnd rhyme (rhyme at the end)Couplet (two end words in two lines next to each other in a poem rhyme)Internal rhyme (the rhyming words are in the middle of the lines, not the ends.)Exact rhyme (the rhyming sounds are exactly the same sounds)Approximate rhyme-sometimes called: near rhyme, imperfect rhyme, slant rhyme (the rhyming sounds are close, but not exactly the same)End rhyme

End rhyme is when the end words of lines rhyme with each other.

Excerpt from Peanut-Butter SandwichFrom Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

I'll sing you a poem of a silly young kingWho played with the world at the end of a string,But he only loved one single thingAnd that was just a peanut-butter sandwich.

His scepter and his royal gowns,His regal throne and golden crownsWere brown and sticky from the moundsAnd drippings from each peanut-butter sandwich.

His subjects all were silly foolsFor he had passed a royal ruleThat all that they could learn in schoolWas how to make a peanut-butter sandwich.More end rhymes: The panther is like a leopard,Except is hasnt been peppered.

-Ogden NashFrom The Panther

Even though its spelled differently, the ending sound is the same in both words. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss"We looked!Then we saw himstep in on the mat!We looked!And we saw him!The Cat in the Hat!"

I know it is wetAnd the sun is not sunny.But we can haveLots of good funthat is funny! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun But you have to know how.

'Have no fear, little fish,' Said the Cat in the Hat. 'These Thingsare good Things.' And he gave them a pat."


A couplet is when two consecutive lines (lines following each other-right next to each other in the poem) rhyme with each other at the end. Shakespearean sonnets perfect the use of couplets! Each sonnet closes with a couplet. Shakespearean sonnets: SONNET 54O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem By that sweet ornament which truth doth give.The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem For that sweet odour which doth in it live. The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye As the perfumed tincture of the roses, Hang on such thorns and play as wantonly When summer's breath their masked buds discloses:But, for their virtue only is their show, They live unwoo'd and unrespected fade, Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so; Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,When that shall fade, my verse distills your truth.

(Thats a perfect couplet!)Shakespeare Sonnet #130My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damask'd, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare.

(Heres another perfect couplet.)Internal rhymeRhymes occurring within lines.The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where theCotton blooms and blows.Why he left his home in the South to Roam round the Pole, God only knows. He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell; Though hed often say in his homely way that hed sooner live in hell.

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail. Talk of your cold! Through the parkas fold it stabbed like a driven nail. If our eyes wed close, the lashes froze till sometimes we couldnt see; It wasnt much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee. So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, youll cremate my last remainsI do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear; But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near; I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: Ill just take a peep inside. I guess hes cooked, and its time I look: . . .then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar; And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: Please close that door. Its fine in here, but I greatly fear youll let in the cold and storm- Since I Left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, its the first time Ive been warm. Exact rhyme

The vowel and end sound in a word are exactly the same as in its rhyming word (although they dont have to be spelled exactly the same just sound the same.) Toad-RoadJog-hogTapping-rappingState-fateConfess-lessHome-roamOde to a Toad by Anne-Marie Wulfsberg, Concord-Carlisle High School, Concord, MassachusettsI was out one day for my usual jog(I go kinda easy, rarely full-hog)When I happened to see right there on the roadThe squishy remains of a little green toad.

I thought to myself, where is his home? Down yonder green valley, how far did he roam? From out on the pond I heard sorrowful croaks, Could that be the wailing of some his folks?

I felt for the toad and his pitiful state, But the day was now fading, and such was his fate. In the grand scheme of things, now I confess, Whats one little froggie more or less? HomeworkWrite a poem using a type of rhyme we have discussed thus far. End rhyme, Exact Rhyme, Internal RhymePoem must be at least 6 or more lines long.

Approximate rhyme (near rhyme, imperfect rhyme, slant rhyme)

Modern poets often prefer approximate rhyme. These words have similar vowel or end sounds but are not exactly the same. Fellow-hollowInside-LightMouse- outIntroduction to Poetry by Billy CollinsI ask them to take a poem and hold it