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Essentials of Poetry

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Lella Shaffner

on 5 July 2014

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Transcript of Essentials of Poetry

Figures of Speech
comparative description intended to deepen and emphasize meaning
reference to any aspect of human culture
quotations from other works of literature
references to historical events
references to art, music, or other works of literature
Essentials of Poetry
a word that has meaning in and of itself but also represents another idea
use of words to trigger the reader's senses
Don't be fooled by the word "image"; imagery includes:
visual- "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood"
auditory- "The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard"
olfactory & gustatory- "The whiskey on your breath/ Could make a small boy dizzy"
tactile- "The bed linens might just as well be ice and the clothes snow"
kinetic & kinesthetic- "Turning and turning in the widening gyre"
Tone and Mood
feelings of the poem
tone- the author's presentation of words to create certain attitudes from the reader
mood- the overall feeling generated by a poem
by Robert Francis
Two boys uncoached are tossing a poem together,
Overhand, underhand, backhand, sleight of hand, everyhand,
Teasing with attitudes, latitudes, interludes, altitudes,
High, make him fly off the ground for it, low, make him stoop,
Make him scoop it up, make him as-almost-as possible miss it,
Fast, let him sting from it, now, now fool him slowly,
Anything, everything tricky, risky, nonchalant,
Anything under the sun to outwit the prosy,
Over the tree and the long sweet cadence down,
Over his head, make him scramble to pick up the meaning,
And now, like a posy, a pretty one plump in his hands.

Form and Structure
the way a poem is organized visually
Stanza- a division made in a poem that is the equivalent to a paragraph in a short story
End-stopped- when a thought is completed by the end of a line
Enjambment- continuation of a sentence or clause over a line-break, intended to be read grammatically rather than pausing at the end of each line
Caesura- a strong pause at the end of a line
Sound, Rhythm and Rhyme
musical attributes of poems
rhyme scheme- the analysis of rhyming words at the end of lines. Each rhyming sound is designated by a letter, i.e. aabbccbb
rhythm- the recurrence of accent or stress in lines of verse.
meter- the measured pattern of rhythmic accents in a poem.
foot- the standard measurement in poetry, usually contains one stressed syllable and at least one unstressed syllable. The standard types of feet in English poetry are the iamb, trochee, dactyl, anapest, spondee, and pyrrhic.
dimeter- 2 feet; trimeter- 3 feet; tetrameter- 4 feet, pentameter- 5 feet, hexameter- 6 feet, heptameter- 7 feet
cultural and universal symbols: gold stands for being rich, a flag stands for its country, a rabbit represents speed
contextual, private, and authorial symbols: W.B. Yeats' use of the gyre to represent patterns in history
using 'like' or 'as' to compare two things
"My love is like a red, red rose"

emphasizing the likeness of two things using 'is'
"All the world's a stage"

"She is all states, and all princes, I"
giving human attributes to abstract ideas, animals or objects
"Where bashful flowers blow... and shadows tremble so"
also loosely used when animal characteristics are given to the inanimate
"the fog comes on little cat feet"
"Nothing will be lost. Nothing will be lost."
"Beat! Beat! Drums!"
when a part represents the whole of something or the whole of something represents its part
"The Eyes around- had wrung them dry-": Eyes stand for people, thus people have cried until their eyes went dry
"I should have been a pair of ragged claws/ Scuttling across the floors of silent seas": What creature could be represented by its claws, especially one in the sea?
exaggeration of an idea for emphasis
"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Til China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street"
repetition of words or phrases for emphasis
describing an idea, person or place through multiple emotions at a time
"In some melodious plot,
Of beechen green,
Singest of summer in full throated ease"
"With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz"
words with the same consonant sound used close together in a series
"The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free"
making something seem less important or intense than it really is
"The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace"
Example of rhyme scheme
Examples of meter
The appreciation of poetry is enhanced through the understanding of its essentials. While it takes years to master the understanding of meter, the elements of imagery and figures of speech are easy to apply.

Use these terms as much as you can in the discussion board to attain high points on your posts. Particularly be well-acquainted with imagery, figures of speech, and rhyme scheme.
I encourage you to talk about meter, especially if poetry is your favorite genre.
The Title
the title of the poem often gives away valuable information that is not shared in the poem itself
The title could tell you:

who the speaker is or who he/she is speaking to
what the speaker is referencing or alluding to
where the speaker is
when the speaker is living or a time he/she is talking about
the purpose of the speaker's thoughts
The Speaker
The speaker of the poem is rarely the writer of the poem.
the narrator of the poem
In some poems, the speaker can be a spirit, plant, animal, object, spirit or other non-human.
Even when the writer has much biographically in common with the speaker, don't jump to the conclusion that the writer is the speaker (Ex: "Lady Lazarus" by Sylvia Plath)
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