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Analyzing Poetry

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Jamie Meli

on 16 February 2015

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Transcript of Analyzing Poetry

What is poetry?
"[Poetry is] the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings."
- William Wordsworth
Poetry Analysis
a step-by-step guide to reading and understanding poetry
Figurative Language
Language that goes beyond the literal meaning in order to achieve a specific or special effect.
Analyzing Poetry
Miss Meli's Class
"Poetry can be dangerous, especially beautiful poetry, because it gives the illusion of having had the experience without actually going through it."
- Rumi
"Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air."

– Carl Sandburg
"The poet doesn’t invent. He listens."
– Jean Cocteau
Where can you find figurative language?
Everyday language
Music
Movies
TV Shows
Advertisements
Novels
Short stories
Biographies
Poetry
Most Common Forms of Figurative Language
Irony
a contrast or difference between what is expected and what actually happens
Situational
Verbal
Dramatic
Imagery
appealing to the five sense
Sight
Smell
Taste
Sound
Touch
Hyperbole
an extreme exaggeration
Dead Poets Society
1989
Symbol
an object, character, figure, or color used to represent an abstract concept.
Example:
Dumbo's "magic" feather represents courage and self-confidence.
Personification
Allusion
a brief reference in a literary work to a person, place, thing, or passage in another literary work, usually for the purpose of associating the tone or theme of the one work with the other.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
2013
The Matrix
1999
giving human qualities to non-human objects
Simile
Metaphor
a comparison made using "like" or "as"
a comparison made
without
using "like" or "as"
Alliteration
Consonance
Assonance
repetition of identical consonant sounds, most often the sounds beginning words, in close proximity.
repetition of
vowel
sounds in different words in close proximity.
repetition of
consonant
sounds in different words in close proximity.
Enjambment
Caesura
a short but definite pause used for effect within a line of poetry, usually shown with a dash (-) or a double dash (--)
a line having no end punctuation but running over to the next line.
Poetic Terms
End Stop
line ending in a full pause, usually indicated with a period or semicolon.
Stanza
a group of poetic lines
(like paragraphs are to prose)
Meter
Rhyme
the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem
the repetition of similar or identical sounds
Shift
an intentional change in tone, mood, point of view, setting, rhyme, meter, etc.
Tone
Mood
the emotions the reader feels while reading; the overall feeling of a piece of work
the implied attitude of a writer or speaker toward the subject and characters of a work
Title
First Reading
Re-Reading
Meaning
Themes
Analysis
Interpretation
If there is a title does it define the subject matter of the poem's focus?
Read the poem silently to gain a first impression.
What is the narrative in the poem (what is happening?)
Make some notes on your first impression.
Read the poem again, carefully, analytically, and out loud this time.
Take note of punctuation; notice images that stand out; listen to the rhyming pattern and the rhyming of the words (or lack thereof).
Identify the obvious meaning and then look for implied meaning(s).

What do you think the poet is trying to say?
Identify the main theme of the poem.
Are poetic techniques used?
What is the structure?
(repetition; tenses; different voices; different themes in stanzas)
Where and why?
Use of vocabulary and language?
Find the meanings of words you're not familiar with.
What is the tone? Does it change?
What is the message?
Or, why do you think the poet wrote this poem?
What issues are raised about society/relationships or life?
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