POETRY SOME BASICS
Rhythm • This is a recurrence or repetition in the pacing of sound • It can be fast or slow • It can be staccato or flowing
Meter • A measure or count of something • When looking at poetry, meter is really just counting syllables in words. • Typically, syllables will come in pairs (in poetry), and one will be louder than the other • The louder syllable is called the stressed or accented syllable
Marking stressed and unstressed syllables is easy as well • Stressed syllable (the louder one) = on white board • Unstressed syllable (softer) = on white board • Saying words out loud will naturally put the accent in the right place
Examples Depict necktie Hammer destroy Cowbell dispatch Rampart debris Nugget dental Neglect memory
Implement Rambunctious Implementation
Calling Captain Obvious • Poetry, however, isn’t made up of just one word per line • There are usually several, each of varying lengths • Two things need to happen after you figure out which syllables are stressed and unstressed
Syllable practice • Before we go on, however, now is a good time to work on syllable counting • It is a simple thing, but practice now will help later
Haiku • In English • 17 syllables total • 3 lines long • 5-7-5 arrangement • Avoiding similes and metaphors • Haiku is a form of poetry popular in Japan • They are valued for • Their simplicity • Their openness • Their depth
Haiku is a contemplative poetry that typically is about nature, color, season, contrasts, and surprises • It is like a photo of a specific moment
Let’s practice! • Write a haiku about an animal. Remember…17 syllables, 3 lines, 5-7-5 pattern! • Now write a haiku about food. • Finally, write a haiku about nature.
3 = nature • 3 = food • 3 = whatever you choose • Indicate your 2 favorite to be shared w/ the class Your assignment: write 9 more haikus!
The 2 previously mentioned things • Figure out how many feet are in the line • Figure out how long the line is
The Foot • A foot is a section of poetry with a specific pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables • In order to determine the type of foot, look at each line individually and figure out the pattern
Iambic • Iambic is the most common type of foot you will see in poetry • This is a softer syllable followed by a louder one: des-PAIR • The U-ni-VER-sit-Y of MICH-i-GAN
Other common types • Trochaic – a louder syllable followed by a softer one: HAP-py • Dactylic – one louder syllable followed by two softer ones: MO-tor-car • Anapestic – Two softer syllables followed by one loud one: in the HOUSE
Just remember… • When looking for the type of foot, break it down into stressed and unstressed syllables • Look for the pattern • It does NOT matter if the foot breaks up a word – sometimes a word will be separated into two or even three different feet!
Practice time again! • Given the following lines of poetry, give me the type of foot used: “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…” -Poe, “The Raven” “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.” -Shakespeare, Sonnet 18
Length of Line • Shockingly, there are several different types of line length, and each has its own name. They are, however, easy to remember. • After finding the type of foot, you simply count the number of feet, or patterned sections, and that will tell you the line length.
The Most Common Lengths • Monometer = one foot • Dimeter = two feet • Trimeter = three feet • Tetrameter = four feet • Pentameter = five feet • Hexameter (or Alexandrine) = six feet • Octameter = eight feet
Answers • Shakespeare = Iambic Pentameter • Poe = Trochaic Octameter
Variations in meter • Sometimes, small differences in meter will pop up. It helps to know about them, so if they do, you won’t be confused. • The University of Michigan Studies the poetry of Keats and Frost.
The second line of this phrase starts with an initial inversion. • The first sentence we already know is iambic (based on the pattern), but then the pattern switches in line two. • If the first foot of ANY line in a poem has an order that is reversed from the rest of the poem, it is an initial inversion.
Another kind of inversion is a medial inversion. All this means is that the pattern is switched somewhere other than the beginning of the line. • Most take place after punctuation, like a colon or comma • “She said to me: open your book and read!”
After inversions, the most common variation in meter is an extra syllable. • “He bundles every forkful into place And tags and numbers it for further reference So he can find and easily dislodge it.” -Robert Frost, “The Death of the Hired Man”
2 Kinds of Extra Syllable • Extra Syllable • If the extra syllable occurs somewhere else in the line. • Feminine Ending • If the extra syllable occurs at the end of the line.
Rhyme • While you usually associate rhyming with poetry, not all poetry has to rhyme. However, when it does, there are a few different types of rhyme that are used
Direct Rhyme • This is the type of rhyme that you are the most familiar with • Direct rhyme is the exact repetition, in two or more words, of the final vowel and consonant sounds of a word
CHEESE • TOY • DOG
Indirect Rhyme • AKA off rhyme • An almost-but-not-quite direct rhyme, usually tied to either the vowel or consonant sound, but not both. • Examples of this would be: • Lame / rhyme • Goat / bleat • Life / shelf
Cliché Rhyme • Usually a direct rhyme, but those that are overused • Typically considered a flaw in the poem, because a good poet would be more original. • Example are: • Fire / desire • Breath / death • Womb / tomb • Love / dove
Original Rhyme • Again, usually direct, but things most would not think to put together • Examples: • Jacks / hypochondriacs / kayaks /quacks • Tracks / axe
Rhyme Scheme • Rhyme scheme is a specific pattern of rhyming words in a poem. Some forms of poetry require a rhyme scheme. • Rhyme schemes are indicated by letters. • Each corresponding rhyme has the same letter; each new rhyme is a new letter.
“The Oxen” by Thomas Hardy Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock. “Now they are all on their knees,” An elder said as we sat in a flock By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where They dwelt in their strawy pen, Nor did it occur to one of us there To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave In these years! Yet, I feel, If someone said on Christmas Eve, “Come; see the oxen kneel
“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb Our childhood used to know,” I should go with him in the gloom, Hoping it might be so.
Poetic Forms • Forms are a traditional way of arranging poetry, usually tied to rhyme scheme and a specific number of lines.
Blank and Free Verse • Blank Verse is a poem written in iambic pentameter that does not have any rhyme. It is “blank” of rhyme • Free Verse is a poem written without any meter; it will occasionally rhyme
Limericks • A limerick is a short poem that has: • 2 rhyming dimeter lines, followed by • 2 more rhyming dimeter lines, and then • 1 final trimeter line that rhymes w/ the first line
Hickory Dickory Dock The mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one, The mouse ran down, Hickory Dickory Dock.
Each night father fills me with dread When he sits on the foot of my bed; I’d not mind that he speaks In gibbers and squeaks, But for seventeen years he’s been dead.
Sonnets • Sonnets are 14 lines long and written in iambic pentameter. Traditionally, there are three types of sonnets: • Italian / Petrarchan • English / Shakespearean • Spenserian
Italian / Petrarchan • This sonnet is divided into 2 parts. • The first 8 lines are called an octave, and use only 2 rhymes. • The rhyme scheme for the octave = ABBAABBA
The last 6 lines are called a sestet. • The sestet in an Italian sonnet can rhyme in several different ways. • The two most common ways are: CDECDE or CDCDCD • As long as the last 2 lines don’t rhyme (which would be a couplet), it’s ok.
English / Shakespearean • Divided into 4 parts • Rhyme scheme = ABAB CDCD EFEF GG ( ends in a couplet)
Spenserian • A combo of Italian and English. • Rhyme scheme = ABAB BCBC CDCD EE (Also ends in a couplet)
Practice Time! • Write 2 sonnets: one English, and then choose one of the other two • They do not need to be iambic, but must be in pentameter (i.e., each line needs 10 syllables!) • Must follow rhyme scheme for chosen type • Title each one as well
Sources • To Read a Poem, 2nd Ed. by Donald Hall