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“An Introduction to Poetry” Billy Collins (b. 1941)

“An Introduction to Poetry” Billy Collins (b. 1941)

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“An Introduction to Poetry” Billy Collins (b. 1941)

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  1. “An Introduction to Poetry”Billy Collins (b. 1941) I ask them to take a poem and hold it up to the light like a color slide or press an ear against its hive. I say drop a mouse into a poem and watch him probe his way out, or walk inside the poem's room and feel the walls for a light switch. I want them to waterski across the surface of a poem waving at the author's name on the shore. But all they want to do is tie the poem to a chair with rope and torture a confession out of it. They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means.

  2. POETRY TERMS Literary devices and terms associated with poetry.

  3. Persona The voice in the poem is not necessarily the poet’s.

  4. Persona • Poet is not necessarily the narrator of the poem. • Poems are not necessarily autobiographical. • Persona: The speaker of the poem, most often NOT the author. Persona is the narrator or the character.

  5. Tone Like tone of voice, the tone of the poem communicates attitude and feeling.

  6. Tone • Tone: The attitude of the poem. • The choice of words and the details that communicate the attitude. What attitude does the poem take toward a theme or subject?

  7. “For a Lady I Know”Countee Cullen (1903-1946) She even thinks that up in heaven Her class lies late and snores, While poor black cherubs rise at seven To do celestial chores. Published in Color, 1925.

  8. “Dreams”Langston Hughes (1902-1967) 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.

  9. “A Dream Deferred”Langston Hughes (1902-1967) What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? 1951

  10. Diction The writer’s choice of words, phrases, sentence structures, and figurative language all help to create meaning.

  11. Denotation and Connotation DENOTATION CONNOTATION • Dictionary definition of the word. • Overtones, suggestions, implications, additional meanings. • The emotions, thoughts and ideas associated with and evoked by the word. • What the word makes you think of or feel or what you associate with the word.

  12. Abstract and Concrete Words CONCRETE ABSTRACT • Tangible persons, places, or things; who or what we can immediately perceive with our senses. • Intangible ideas, concepts, emotions, or generalities.

  13. Allusion • Indirect historical, cultural, or literary references that enrich the meaning of a poem. • The reader brings his/her knowledge and understanding of the reference to the poem.

  14. “Grass”Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo. Shovel them under and let me work— I am the grass; I cover all. And pile them high at Gettysburg. And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun. Shovel them under and let me work. Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: What place is this? Where are we now? I am the grass. Let me work. 1918

  15. Figurative Language “Figures of speech” appeal to the imagination, create images, and describe through the use of interesting and unusual comparisons. Figurative language gives us new ways to look at the world.

  16. Imagery & Figurative Language • Imagery: Vivid, descriptive language that appeals to the senses. • Simile: An explicit comparison between two things by using the words “like,” “as,” “than,” “appears,” or “seems.” • Metaphor: A direct comparison between two unlike things, saying one thingis another, using the “to be” verb, not “like” or “as.”

  17. Imagery & Figurative Language • Personification: Giving animals, nature, inanimate objects, or ideas human characteristics, abilities, reactions, or emotions. • Anthropomorphism: Making animals, nature, inanimate objects, or ideas into human-like figures that speak, walk upright, wear clothes, and so on.

  18. “Because I could not stop for Death” (712)Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me – The Carriage held but just Ourselves – And Immortality. We slowly drove – He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility – We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess – in the Ring – We passed the Fields of Grazing Grain – We passed the Setting Sun – Or rather – He passed us – The Dews drew quivering and chill – For only Gossamer, my Gown – My Tippet – only Tulle – We paused before a house that seemed A Swelling of the Ground – The Roof was scarcely visible – The Cornice – in the Ground Since then –’tis Centuries – and yet Feels shorter than the Day, I first surmised the Horses’ Heads Were toward Eternity – 1890

  19. “ ”Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see, I swallow immediately. Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike I am not cruel, only truthful – The eye of a little god, four-cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me. Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish. Written 1961, Published 1963 and 1971

  20. “Root Cellar”Theodore Roethke (1908-1963) Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch, Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark, Shoots dangled and drooped, Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates, Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes. And what a congress of stinks!— Roots ripe as old bait, Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich, Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks. Nothing would give up life: Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.

  21. “Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter”Robert Bly (b. 1926) It is a cold and snowy night. The main street is deserted. The only things moving are swirls of snow. As I lift the mailbox door, I feel its cold iron. There is a privacy I love in this snowy night. Driving around, I will waste more time.

  22. Sound • Onomatopoeia: A word that imitates the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to; words that sound like what they describe or name; words that sound like their meaning. • Alliteration: Repetition of the same consonant sounds in a series of words, usually at the beginning of the words. • Assonance: The repetition of the same vowel sounds in nearby words that do not end the same. • "asleep under a tree" or "each evening" • The same internal vowel sound and the same ending is rhyme! “asleep in the deep”

  23. “Jabberwocky”Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. “Beware the Jabberwock, my son The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!” He took his vorpal sword in hand; Long time the manxome foe he sought— So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought. And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came! One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumping back. “And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” He chortled in his joy. ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.

  24. “Recital”John Updike (1932-2009) ROGER BOBO GIVES RECITAL ON TUBA --Headline in the Times Eskimos in Manitoba, Barracuda off Aruba, Cock an ear when Roger Bobo Starts to solo on the tuba. Men of every station—Pooh-bah, Nabob, bozo, toff, and hobo— Cry in unison, “Indubi- Tably, there is simply nobo- Dy who oompahs on the tubo, Solo, quite like Roger Bubo!”

  25. “To see the world in a grain of sand”William Blake (1757-1827) To see the world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour.

  26. RHYME But let’s be perfectly clear on this – not all poems rhyme! And that’s a good thing!

  27. Rhyme • Rhyme: Words or phrases with an identical or similar sound. • Exact: Identical sounds. • Near: Similar sounds. (Also called “slant rhyme.”) • End Rhyme: Words at the end of the lines rhyme. • Internal Rhyme: Words within the lines rhyme.

  28. “To see the world in a grain of sand”William Blake (1757-1827) To see the world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour.

  29. Rhyme Scheme • Rhyme Scheme: The pattern of end rhyme in a poem. • May mark the rhyme scheme of internal rhyme in a poem, but usually refers to the pattern of end rhyme. • Notated with lowercase letters of the alphabet, each different letter representing a different rhyme.

  30. Punctuation ENDSTOP ENJAMBMENT • Line ends with some mark of punctuation; we pause at the end of the line. • Line does not end with punctuation; we continue to read on to the next line in order to complete the thought.

  31. “Fire and Ice”Robert Frost (1874-1963) Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.

  32. “The Eagle”Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) He clasps the crag with crooked hands; Close to the sun in lonely lands, Ringed with the azure world, he stands. The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt he falls.

  33. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” Robert Frost (1874-1963) Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

  34. From “The Raven”Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. " 'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door Only this, and nothing more."     Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had tried to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore — Nameless here for evermore.     And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating " 'Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door — Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door; — This it is, and nothing more." Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you" — here I opened wide the door; — Darkness there, and nothing more. Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!“ This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!“ Merely this, and nothing more. Then into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon I heard again a tapping somewhat louder than before. "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore — Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;— 'Tis the wind, and nothing more!"  

  35. “Fire and Ice”Robert Frost (1874-1963) Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.

  36. RHYTHM The recurrence of stressed and unstressed sounds in poetry create the rhythm or the flow of the poem.

  37. Rhythm STRESS UNSTRESS • Accented or emphasized syllable. • Not accented or not emphasized syllable.

  38. Rhythm FOOT METER • A unit of two or three syllables that contains at least one stress. • The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables.

  39. Rhythm • Monometer • Dimeter • Trimeter • Tetrameter • Pentameter • Hexameter • Heptameter • Octameter

  40. Rhythm • Iambic: Unstress Stress But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? from Romeo and Juliet • Anapestic: Unstress Unstress Stress It was many and many a year ago In a kingdom by the sea That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of Annabel Lee. from “Annabel Lee” by Poe

  41. Rhythm • Trochaic: Stress Unstress Tyger, tyger, burning bright In the forest of the night from “The Tiger” by Blake • Dactylic: Stress Unstress Unstress This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlock, from “Evangeline” by Longfellow

  42. “When I was one-and-twenty”A. E. Housman (1859-1936) When I was one-and-twenty I heard a wise man say, “Give crowns and pounds and guineas But not your heart away; Give pearls away and rubies But keep your fancy free.” But I was one-and-twenty, No use to talk to me. When I was one-and-twenty I heard him say again, “The heart out of the bosom Was never given in vain; ‘Tis paid with sighs a plenty And sold for endless rue.” And I am two-and-twenty, And oh, ‘tis true, ‘tis true.

  43. “Counting-out Rhyme”Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) Silver bark of beech, and sallow Bark of yellow birch and yellow Twig of willow. Stripe of green in moosewood maple, Color seen in leaf of apple, Bark of popple. Wood of popple pale as moonbeam, Wood of oak for yoke and barn-beam, Wood of hornbeam. Silver bark of beech, and hollow Stem of elder, tall and yellow Twig of willow.

  44. POETRY FORMS Open and Closed Forms of Poetry

  45. Poetry Forms CLOSED FORM OPEN FORM • Follows specific, established pattern. • Does not attempt to follow established pattern. • Also called “free verse.”

  46. OPEN FORM “Free verse” has no distinct rules or boundaries.

  47. “America”Walt Whitman (1819-1892) Center of equal daughters, equal sons, All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old, Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich, Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love, A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother, Chair’d in the adamant of Time.

  48. From “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”Walt Whitman (1819-1892) 1 When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d, And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring, Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west, And though of him I love. 2 O powerful western fallen star! O shades of night – O moody, tearful night! O great star disappear’d – O the black murk that hides the star! O cruel hands that hold me powerless – O helpless soul of me! O harsh sounding cloud that will not free my soul.

  49. r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-rby e. e. cummings (1894-1962) r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r who a)s w(e loo)k upnowgath PPEGORHRASS eringint(o- aThe):l eA !p: S a (r rIvInG .gRrEaPsPhOs) to rea(be)rran(com)gi(e)ngly ,grasshopper;

  50. l(a)e. e. cummings (1894-1962) l(a le af fa ll s) one l iness