What Is a Poem Features of Poems

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					    What Is a Poem?                                                           Features of Poems
    Poems are made up of words that create images or pictures in our          ✣ Poems have meaning. Poems can describe an interesting place
    minds. They have been described as “the best words in the best              or person, tell a story or explain feelings.
    order”, and there are many ways of writing poems.
                                                                              ✣ Poems have sounds. Poems sound different from other types
    Many poems sound like songs when you read them aloud. This is               of writing. Poems may have rhyming words, a regular rhythm like
    because poems have a regular rhythm and repeated lines, words               music, words with repeated sounds, or even words that sound
    or sounds.                                                                  like their meaning.
    Poems have a particular appearance that tells you they are poems          ✣ Poems have images. Poems create pictures in our mind, called
    before you even read the words. Poems have shorter lines than most          images. Images often refer to our sense of sight, smell, sound,
    sorts of writing. The words of a poem may make short sentences or           taste and touch. An image may describe something, or it may
    lists. Sometimes, poems may be shaped to represent a topic, or they         compare one thing to another. Images help you see something
    might be scattered all over the page.                                       as if it is really there.
                There are no special topics for poems. They can be about      ✣ Poems have lines. Poems have lines that may be long or short,
                  mosquitoes, babies, the sea, supermarkets, friends,           and can be made up of whole sentences or sentence fragments.
                    skateboards, mountains, anything at all.                    Some poems have lines arranged in stanzas. A stanza is a group
                                                                                of lines that are arranged in a definite pattern. In other poems,
                        Poems can be conversations, statements, stories
                                                                                the lines make a picture or shape to illustrate the topic.
                         or descriptions. They can be serious or funny.
                          They are written for many purposes: to describe     ✣ Poems have patterns. Poems have patterns of letters, syllables
                           something, to tell a story, to explain feelings,     and words. These patterns often help you to hear the rhythm of a
                            to make a message on a greeting card or             poem. Some types of poems have patterns with a particular number
                                to advertise products.                          of syllables in each line, and others have words repeated throughout
                                                                                the poem.
                                       This book will help you read poems
                                           and understand how they work.      As you read through this book, you will find out more about the
                                             You might even like to write     features of poems, and how you can use them to write your own poetry.
                                               your own poems.




4    Tracking Through Poetry                                                                                                      Features of Poems    5
    Meaning
    The words in a poem must have meaning for the reader. They are not
    simply words scattered on a page. The meaning of a poem will vary
    from one poem to another, and from one reader to another.
    The earliest poems were made up before books were invented, or were
    used to tell stories for people who could not read. These poems were
    spoken aloud and passed from one generation to another without ever
    being written down. They were designed to entertain people and to help
    them remember stories and traditions.
    Traditional narrative (story) poems entertain us. Reciting narrative
    poems was a popular way to tell stories before radio and television was
    invented. They can also give us information about things that happened
    in history, and often carry a message about how to live well.
       Humorous poems are written just to make us laugh, while other
              poems make fun of a person or event in the news. Many
                 poems and songs are written to express feelings. Poems
                   and songs that do this are called lyrics. Some poems
                     are written to persuade us of something, such as
                        the importance of caring for the environment.
                          Poems can be used as songs to promote an
                                idea, such as sun safety or healthy
                                     eating. Poems and songs are also
                                            used to advertise programs
                                                  and products on radio
                                                       and television.




6    Tracking Through Poetry