Course Description by ET6XZE


									Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Ministry of Higher Education

Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University

College of Arts

Department of English Language and Literature

                                     Introduction to Poetry

                                                First Year

                                            Second Semester



                                       Dr. Najmah Althobaity
                          Course Description

                    Introduction to Poetry (First Year)

                                (1433 - 2012)

Princess Nora Bint Abdul Rahman University College of Arts, Riyadh

Department of English Language and Literature

Instructor: Dr. Najmah N. Althobaity

Office hours: 9:45-10:45 Sun. & Mon. (and by appointment)


                            Course objectives

This course is intended to introduce students to the special structures and
sounds recurrent in English verse and to the particular nature of English
poetic patterns. It will introduce also some definitions of related poetic
terminology, which are essential at this stage of their freshmen level.

Grading criteria:

   1. Class participation, assignments and quizzes…………....10%

   2. Mid-term exam…………………….………………….… 20%

   3. Final exam……………………………….……………… 70%

Required Textbooks:

Perrine, Laurence. Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry.8th ed.

      New York; Harcourt Brace C. P., 1991.


      1. Stallworthy, Jon & et al. The Norton Anthology of Poetry. 4th
      2. Meyer, Michael. The Compact Bedford Introduction to
         Literature.4th ed.

                            Course Plan

Weeks              Topics

1st Week   General Introduction: "Poetry through the Ages"

2nd Week   Types of Poetry: Sonnets, odes, lyric, narrative, ballad, free

           Sonnets by Shakespeare and Elizabeth Browning.

3rd Week   Ballad: We are Seven" by William Wordsworth.

           Narrative poem: "Traveling through the Dark" by William

4th Week   What is stanza? Forms of stanzas:

           Couplet, triplet, quatrain, sestet, & octave.
           "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth.

5th Week   Musical Devices (1): Alliteration, Assonance, Consonance.

           "Acquainted with the Night" by Robert Frost
6th Week   Musical Devices (2): Rhyme, Onomatopoeia, Rhythm,
           Rhyme scheme, Meter
7th Week   -Diction

           -Run-on lines, End-stopped lines.

8th Week    Sensuous Imagery:

            Auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, organic, kinesthetic.

            "Dying" by Emily Dickinson

9th Week    Figurative Language (1): What is a figure of speech?

            Denotation and Connotation, Simile, Metaphor,

            (What is life for Macbeth) William Shakespeare

            "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes

10th Week   Figurative Language (2):

            Personification, Apostrophe, Metonymy

11th Week   Figurative Language (3): Symbol, Allegory

            "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

12th Week   Figurative Language (4): Paradox, Overstatement,
            Understatement, Irony

            Patrick Lewis' "The Unkindest Cut"

13th Week   Review for Final Examination

The Poems to be taught are:

1."Shall I Compare thee to a Summer's Day?" by William Shakespeare

2- "How Do I Love Thee?" (Sonnet 43) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

3."We are Seven" by William Wordsworth

4."Acquainted with the Night" by Robert Frost

5."I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth

6. "Traveling through the Dark" by William Stafford

7- "Dying" by Emily Dickinson

8- Excerpt from Macbeth by William Shakespeare

9- "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

10- "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes

Shall I Compare thee to a Summer's Day? (Sonnet 18)

by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st.

   So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day's

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old grief, and with my childhood's faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.


By William Wordsworth

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud

      That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

      When all at once I saw a crowd,

      A host, of golden daffodils;

      Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

      Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

      Continuous as the stars that shine

      And twinkle on the milky way,

      They stretched in never-ending line

      Along the margin of a bay:

      Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

      Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

      The waves beside them danced; but they

      Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

      A poet could not but be gay,

      In such a jocund company:

      I gazed--and gazed--but little thought

      What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

      In vacant or in pensive mood,

      They flash upon that inward eye

      Which is the bliss of solitude;             - 10 -

      And then my heart with pleasure fills,

      And dances with the daffodils.
Acquainted with the Night

by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
                                                   - 11 -
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
O luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.


by Emily Dickinson

I heard a fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.

The eyes beside had wrung them dry,
And breaths were gathering sure
For that last onset, when the king
Be witnessed in his power.

                                                   - 12 -
I willed my keepsakes, signed away
What portion of me I
Could make assignable,-and then
There interposed a fly,

With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,
Between the light and me;
And then the windows failed, and then
I could not see to see.

Excerpt from Macbeth
by William Shakespeare

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

                                                  - 13 -
And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,

                                            - 14 -
Because it was grassy and wanted wears;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ‫ــــ‬

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Traveling through the Dark
by William Stafford

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.

By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;

                                                       - 15 -
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side brought me the reason--
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.

The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.

I thought hard for us all--my only swerving--,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.

                          The Negro Speaks of Rivers
                                  by Langston Hughes

                                   I've known rivers:

            I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the

                       flow of human blood in human veins.

                      My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

                                                                        - 16 -
                      I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

                    I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

                   I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

                   I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln

                     went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy

                              bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

                                      I've known rivers:

                                    Ancient, dusky rivers.

                            My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

                                Glossary of Poetic Terms

The prominence or emphasis given to a syllable or word. In the word poetry, the accent (or
stress) falls on the first syllable.

A line of poetry that has 12 syllables. The name probably comes from a medieval romance
about Alexander the Great that was written in 12-syllable lines.

The repetition of the same or similar sounds at the beginning of words: “What would the world
be, once bereft/Of wet and wildness?” (Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Inversnaid”)

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A metrical foot of three syllables, two short (or unstressed) followed by one long (or stressed),
as in seventeen and to the moon. The anapest is the reverse of the dactyl.

A figure of speech in which words and phrases with opposite meanings are balanced against
each other. An example of antithesis is “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” (Alexander Pope)

Words that are spoken to a person who is absent or imaginary, or to an object or abstract idea.
The poem God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay begins with an apostrophe: “O World, I
cannot hold thee close enough!/Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!/Thy mists that roll and rise!”

The repetition or a pattern of similar sounds, especially vowel sounds: “Thou still unravished
bride of quietness,/Thou foster child of silence and slow time” (“Ode to a Grecian Urn,” John

A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend and often has a repeated refrain. “The
Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is an example of a ballad.
A type of poem, usually with three stanzas of seven, eight, or ten lines and a shorter final
stanza (or envoy) of four or five lines. All stanzas end with the same one-line refrain.

blank verse
Poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in
blank verse.

A natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually near the middle of the line. There is a
caesura right after the question mark in the first line of this sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett
Browning: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

A medieval Italian lyric poem, with five or six stanzas and a shorter concluding stanza (or
envoy). The poets Petrarch and Dante Alighieri were masters of the canzone.

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carpe diem
A Latin expression that means “seize the day.” Carpe diem poems urge the reader (or the
person to whom they are addressed) to live for today and enjoy the pleasures of the moment.
A famous carpe diem poem by Robert Herrick begins “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…”
chanson de geste
An epic poem of the 11th to the 14th century, written in Old French, which details the exploits
of a historical or legendary figure, especially Charlemagne.

The principles and ideals of beauty that are characteristic of Greek and Roman art,
architecture, and literature. Examples of classicism in poetry can be found in the works of John
Dryden and Alexander Pope, which are characterized by their formality, simplicity, and
emotional restraint.

A fanciful poetic image or metaphor that likens one thing to something else that is seemingly
very different. An example of a conceit can be found in Shakespeare's sonnet “Shall I compare
thee to a summer's day?” and in Emily Dickinson's poem “There is no frigate like a book.”

The repetition of similar consonant sounds, especially at the ends of words, as in lost and past
or confess and dismiss.

In a poem, a pair of lines that are the same length and usually rhyme and form a complete
thought. Shakespearean sonnets usually end in a couplet.

A metrical foot of three syllables, one long (or stressed) followed by two short (or unstressed),
as in happily. The dactyl is the reverse of the anapest.

A poem that laments the death of a person, or one that is simply sad and thoughtful. An
example of this type of poem is Thomas Gray's “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.”

The continuation of a complete idea (a sentence or clause) from one line or couplet of a poem
to the next line or couplet without a pause. An example of enjambment can be found in the
first line of Joyce Kilmer's poem Trees: “I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a

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tree.” Enjambment comes from the French word for “to straddle.”
The shorter final stanza of a poem, as in a ballade.


A long, serious poem that tells the story of a heroic figure. Two of the most famous epic poems
are the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer, which tell about the Trojan War and the adventures of
Odysseus on his voyage home after the war.

A very short, witty poem: “Sir, I admit your general rule,/That every poet is a fool,/But you
yourself may serve to show it,/That every fool is not a poet.” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
epithalamium (or epithalamion)

A poem in honor of a bride and bridegroom.

feminine rhyme

A rhyme that occurs in a final unstressed syllable: pleasure/leisure, longing/yearning.

figure of speech

A verbal expression in which words or sounds are arranged in a particular way to achieve a
particular effect. Figures of speech are organized into different categories, such as alliteration,
assonance, metaphor, metonymy, onomatopoeia, simile, and synecdoche.

Two or more syllables that together make up the smallest unit of rhythm in a poem. For
example, an iamb is a foot that has two syllables, one unstressed followed by one stressed. An
anapest has three syllables, two unstressed followed by one stressed.

free verse (also vers libre)
Poetry composed of either rhymed or unrhymed lines that have no set meter.


A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. Haiku
often reflect on some aspect of nature.

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A line of poetry that has seven metrical feet.

heroic couplet

A stanza composed of two rhymed lines in iambic pentameter.


A line of poetry that has six metrical feet.

A figure of speech in which deliberate exaggeration is used for emphasis. Many everyday
expressions are examples of hyperbole: tons of money, waiting for ages, a flood of tears, etc.
Hyperbole is the opposite of litotes.

A metrical foot of two syllables, one short (or unstressed) and one long (or stressed). There are
four iambs in the line “Come live/ with me/ and be/ my love,” from a poem by Christopher
Marlowe. (The stressed syllables are in bold.) The iamb is the reverse of the trochee.
iambic pentameter

A type of meter in poetry, in which there are five iambs to a line. (The prefix penta- means
“five,” as in pentagon, a geometrical figure with five sides. Meter refers to rhythmic units. In a
line of iambic pentameter, there are five rhythmic units that are iambs.) Shakespeare's plays
were written mostly in iambic pentameter, which is the most common type of meter in English
poetry. An example of an iambic pentameter line from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is “But
soft!/ What light/ through yon/der win/dow breaks?” Another, from Richard III, is “A horse!/ A
horse!/ My king/dom for/ a horse!” (The stressed syllables are in bold.)

idyll, or idyl
Either a short poem depicting a peaceful, idealized country scene, or a long poem that tells a
story about heroic deeds or extraordinary events set in the distant past. Idylls of the King, by
Alfred Lord Tennyson, is about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
A long narrative poem, especially one that was sung by medieval minstrels called trouvères.
The Lais of Marie de France are lays.

A light, humorous poem of five usually anapestic lines with the rhyme scheme of aabba.

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A figure of speech in which a positive is stated by negating its opposite. Some examples of
litotes: no small victory, not a bad idea, not unhappy. Litotes is the opposite of hyperbole.

A poem, such as a sonnet or an ode, that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. A
lyric poem may resemble a song in form or style.

masculine rhyme

A rhyme that occurs in a final stressed syllable: cat/hat, desire/fire, observe/deserve.

A figure of speech in which two things are compared, usually by saying one thing is another, or
by substituting a more descriptive word for the more common or usual word that would be
expected. Some examples of metaphors: the world's a stage, he was a lion in battle, drowning
in debt, and a sea of troubles.

The arrangement of a line of poetry by the number of syllables and the rhythm of accented (or
stressed) syllables.
A figure of speech in which one word is substituted for another with which it is closely
associated. For example, in the expression The pen is mightier than the sword, the word pen is
used for “the written word,” and sword is used for “military power.”

Telling a story. Ballads, epics, and lays are different kinds of narrative poems.

A lyric poem that is serious and thoughtful in tone and has a very precise, formal structure.
John Keats's “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is a famous example of this type of poem.
A figure of speech in which words are used to imitate sounds. Examples of onomatopoeic
words are buzz, hiss, zing, clippety-clop, and tick-tock. Keats's “Ode to a Nightingale” not only
uses onomatopoeia, but calls our attention to it: “Forlorn! The very word is like a bell/To toll
me back from thee to my sole self!” Another example of onomatopoeia is found in this line
from Tennyson's Come Down, O Maid: “The moan of doves in immemorial elms,/And
                                                                                      - 22 -
murmuring of innumerable bees.” The repeated “m/n” sounds reinforce the idea of
“murmuring” by imitating the hum of insects on a warm summer day.
ottava rima
A type of poetry consisting of 10- or 11-syllable lines arranged in 8-line “octaves” with the
rhyme scheme abababcc.

A poem that depicts rural life in a peaceful, idealized way.


A line of poetry that has five metrical feet.

A figure of speech in which things or abstract ideas are given human attributes: dead leaves
dance in the wind, blind justice.


A type of literature that is written in meter.


A stanza or poem of four lines.


A line or group of lines that is repeated throughout a poem, usually after every stanza.

The occurrence of the same or similar sounds at the end of two or more words. When the
rhyme occurs in a final stressed syllable, it is said to be masculine: cat/hat, desire/fire,
observe/deserve. When the rhyme occurs in a final unstressed syllable, it is said to be
feminine: longing/yearning. The pattern of rhyme in a stanza or poem is shown usually by using
a different letter for each final sound. In a poem with an aabba rhyme scheme, the first,
second, and fifth lines end in one sound, and the third and fourth lines end in another.
rhyme royal

A type of poetry consisting of stanzas of seven lines in iambic pentameter with the rhyme
scheme ababbcc. Rhyme royal was an innovation introduced by Geoffrey Chaucer.
The principles and ideals of the Romantic movement in literature and the arts during the late
                                                                                      - 23 -
18th and early 19th centuries. Romanticism, which was a reaction to the classicism of the early
18th century, favored feeling over reason and placed great emphasis on the subjective, or
personal, experience of the individual. Nature was also a major theme. The great English
Romantic poets include Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats.
The analysis of a poem's meter. This is usually done by marking the stressed and unstressed
syllables in each line and then, based on the pattern of the stresses, dividing the line into feet.
A figure of speech in which two things are compared using the word “like” or “as.” An example
of a simile using like occurs in Langston Hughes's poem “Harlem”: “What happens to a dream
deferred?/ Does it dry up/ like a raisin in the sun?”

A lyric poem that is 14 lines long. Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnets are divided into two quatrains
and a six-line “sestet,” with the rhyme scheme abba abba cdecde (or cdcdcd). English (or
Shakespearean) sonnets are composed of three quatrains and a final couplet, with a rhyme
scheme of abab cdcd efef gg. English sonnets are written generally in iambic pentameter.

A metrical foot of two syllables, both of which are long (or stressed).

Two or more lines of poetry that together form one of the divisions of a poem. The stanzas of a
poem are usually of the same length and follow the same pattern of meter and rhyme.

The prominence or emphasis given to particular syllables. Stressed syllables usually stand out
because they have long, rather than short, vowels, or because they have a different pitch or
are louder than other syllables.

A figure of speech in which a part is used to designate the whole or the whole is used to
designate a part. For example, the phrase “all hands on deck” means “all men on deck,” not
just their hands. The reverse situation, in which the whole is used for a part, occurs in the
sentence “The U.S. beat Russia in the final game,” where the U.S. and Russia stand for “the U.S.
team” and “the Russian team,” respectively.


A Japanese poem of five lines, the first and third composed of five syllables and the rest of
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terza rima
A type of poetry consisting of 10- or 11-syllable lines arranged in three-line “tercets” with the
rhyme scheme aba bcb cdc, etc. The poet Dante is credited with inventing terza rima, which he
used in his Divine Comedy. Terza rima was borrowed into English by Chaucer, and it has been
used by many English poets, including Milton, Shelley, and Auden.

A line of poetry that has four metrical feet.

A metrical foot of two syllables, one long (or stressed) and one short (or unstressed). An easy
way to remember the trochee is to memorize the first line of a lighthearted poem by Samuel
Taylor Coleridge, which demonstrates the use of various kinds of metrical feet: “Trochee/ trips
from/ long to/ short.” (The stressed syllables are in bold.) The trochee is the reverse of the

A figure of speech, such as metaphor or metonymy, in which words are not used in their literal
(or actual) sense but in a figurative (or imaginative) sense.

A single metrical line of poetry, or poetry in general (as opposed to prose).

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