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Michael Linscott

on 21 July 2013

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Transcript of PoetryLinscott

A symbol is an object which is used as a sign, that is, to stand in for something else, such as an idea.
e.g. A dove symbolises peace

Alliteration is the repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of words placed closely together to create a sound echo or create a mood or rhythm.
e.g. The crunchy coconut cookies were delicious

The tone of a poem is the attitude you feel in it — the writer's attitude toward the subject or audience. The tone in a poem of praise is approval. In a satire, you feel irony. In an antiwar poem, you may feel protest or moral indignation. Tone can be playful, humorous, regretful, anything — and it can change as the poem goes along.

When you speak, your tone of voice suggests your attitude. In fact, it suggests two attitudes: one concerning the people you're addressing (your audience) and one concerning the thing you're talking about (your subject). That's what the term tone means when it's applied to poetry as well. Tone can also mean the general emotional weather of the poem. (John Timpane)
One of the most common uses of repetition in poetry is emphasizing a particular word or phrase for purposes such as drawing attention to a particular theme or pointing out contrasting uses of a given word. The degree to which repetition is used varies widely. Some poems repeat the same word or phrase in every single line while others repeat it only in a few stanzas or only twice in the entire poem. Repetition can even transcend the bounds of a single poem.
Alliteration, Assonance and Onomatopoeia

A simile is a direct comparison of one thing with another; usually the pair are connected with “like’ or “as”.
Similes are used to give vivid descriptive details. They present images which may relate to the five senses for their effect.
Example: The colour of her dress was
an extension of the sky on a clear, bright Australian summer day.
This is a vivid image stating the colour of the dress blended with the natural environment on a lovely summer's day. The blue colour is then easily imagined and and is dramatized by being linked with the sky.
Example: The fish and chip shop smelled like rancid oil.
The word 'rancid' means having a stale, sour smell or taste and in this context suggests to us that it is possibly neglected or vacant
Example: The sound was
a shotgun that scattered hundreds of birds into the cold grey sky.
Example: The herbal tea tasted
fermented raspberries
beasts the homeless men sunned themselves
The image emphasizes the impact of the sound and therefore we can imagine its shattering quality by the movement of the birds. The contrasting state of solitude beforehand is also suggested, and the phrase 'cold, grey sky' creates and image of bleakness
The word 'fermented', in this simile has suggestions of decay and a repulsive flavour which emphasizes the speaker's the unpleasant experience of tasting this tea.
The simile is more colourful and precise than a basic sentence such as, 'The homeless man sat in the sun.' It emphasises the effect of the sun on the men's skin and makes suggestions of their emotional state. They are like animals that draw comfort from the sun's rays on their skin.

They rise like sudden fiery flowers
That burst upon the night
The fall to earth in burning showers
Of crimson, blue and white.

Like buds too wonderful to name,
Each miracle unfolds,
And Catherine-wheels begin to flame
Like whirling marigolds.

Rockets and Roman candles make
An orchard in the sky,
Whence magic trees their petals shake
Upon each gazing eye.
James Reeves

Similes occur frequently in poetry and prose. In the poem, Fireworks, the comparison contained in the similes provide the basis for and entire poem
A metaphor is a comparison which says one thing is another
Example: The moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas (J. Masefield).
The moon is an old clean bone (J. Wright)

Metaphors are often used in descriptive writing to create vivid sight and sound images:
The figurative comparisons offer the reader a fresh and interesting way of looking at the thing being described.
"I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed."
(Christopher Isherwood, The Berlin Stories)

If you use a well known simile or metaphor, you are using what is called a cliché. If you do this, you loose your right to claim imagination or originality because you have stolen an expression rather than making it up yourself. Some Expressions have been used so many times they no longer appear fresh and inventive.

Example cliched simile: I am as sick as a dog.

Example cliched simile: He was as strong as an ox.

Example cliched metaphor: It rained cats and dogs.

Do not write down the first image what comes to mind as you write, if it is a cliché. Try to find a better alternative that tells the reader something new.
Example: As happy as Dikembe Mutombo blocking a shot.
Metaphors and Similes in Pop Culture

personification is giving a non-living object living qualities or writing as if it was a living person
Example of personifiction
Symbolism is the use of a concrete object to represent one or more abstract ideas. The purpose for using symbolism is to dramatise the significance of one’s thoughts or feelings
This apple symbolises health,nutrition and vitality
This apple symbolises decay,
rot and imperfection.
Assonance is the repetition of the same vowel sound in words closely placed together to create a pace or mood.
e.g. The growling crowd of bears wanted to be fed.

Assonance in pop music
Onomatopoeia is the use of words whose sounds resemble the sounds they describe.
e.g. The noise of the thundering waves pounded on my eardrums.

Sometimes tone is fairly obvious.
You can, for example, find poems that are absolutely furious.
The Scots poet Hugh MacDiarmid didn't care for mercenary soldiers (men who fight not
because they believe in a cause, but because someone is paying them to fight).
Here is MacDiarmid's very angry "Another Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries":

It is a God-damned lie to say that these
Saved, or knew, anything worth any man's pride.
They were professional murderers and they took
Their blood money and impious risks and died.
In spite of all their kind some elements of worth
With difficulty persist here and there on earth.
Sometimes you can pick up tone from clues in what a person says or writes, as in this untitled poem from the classic Chinese poet Liu Tsung-yüan:

From one thousand mountains the birds' flights are gone;
From ten thousand byways the human track has vanished.
In a single boat, an aged man, straw cloak and hat,
Fishes alone; snow falls, cold in the river.

This poem conveys a tone of melancholy: The birds have abandoned the mountains, and the footprints of human beings (which are signs of human presence) have "vanished" from thousands of roads. The old fisherman you see at the end is all alone, and the word "single," used for his boat, conveys loneliness. The last image is wintry indeed, with snow falling all around him. Taken together, all these elements create an atmosphere of melancholy.
Form and Structure
All poets have their own individual styles. However, there are a number of categories which poems fit into.
The ballad is a traditional form of poetry, which now takes many forms. The ballad develops a dramatic story.


The elegy is a poem written to mourn the death of a person. Something which resembles this style is called elegaic.


Narrative poetry, as the name suggests, is a poem where the poet describes an event or series of events. The poet may take on the role of a character in the story (1st person) or adopt the voice of the narrator (3rd person).

A modern style of poetry, often associated with heavy use of rhyme, word play and strong rhythm.

Sonnet:Two forms of sonnet are Petrarchan and Shakespearian. Both forms of sonnet were originally used to write love poetry. However, both styles have been used for other purposes.

Both styles are extremely complex forms of poetry and require skilful use by the poets due to their strict rhyme scheme. When reading sonnets,you should look carefully at how ideas develop or change between the different sections of the poems.
Many students grow up with the idea that poetry should be written in verses of four lines. This is possibly because of the popularity of the four line stanza, particularly in the ballad form.

However, from your study of poetry, you will have noticed that many different types of stanza are used.

There are many different lengths of stanza including couplets (2 lines),
quatrains (4 lines),
sestets (6 lines)
and octaves (8lines).

It is essential that you remember a poet uses a particular stanza for a particular reason!!!

If a poem consists of a series of quatrains but finishes with a couplet, you should question why.
-What effect does the short couplet have set against the quatrains?
-If the number of lines in each stanza varies, what does that tell you about the content of each stanza?
- Are short stanzas less important or more focused?
-Why has the poet divided the poem into different stanzas?
-What is contained in each stanza?
What occurs between stanzas?
-Do the poet?s ideas seem to jump?
-Are the stanzas arranged chronologically?
-Is an image developed in each stanza?

Poetry does not follow the same rules of punctuation as prose. Sometimes a poet may write a sentence which is divided into more than one stanza. If that happens, then why has the poet used the stanza to divide up the sentence? What effect does this create?
Ask yourself these questions when analysing the poem's stanzas
Thinking a little more about imagery...
Using sensory words!
Finding examples of personification
Metaphors and Similes in Pop Culture
Metaphor -Vehicle and Tenor
Figurative language animation
Personification and Anthropomorphism
Identifying Symbolism
Furthermore, poets use structure and form for a reason!
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