IB Poetry Prep

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					I. Structure:
parts within parts
line length
rhyme, rhythm
type of verse: blank verse, free verse, rhymed, iambic, regular vs irregular line or stanza length
form of poem: sonnet, villanelle, sestina, limerick, etc.
progression through the parts and within parts

II. Mode:
Poetry: Narrative, lyric, elegy, epic, didactic, dramatic (characters speak, as in a play or monologue), etc.
Nonfiction prose: narrative, descriptive, expository, persuasive/argumentative (fiction can contain elements of
all of these)

III. Narrator (speaker):
IDENTIFY, in some way, the speaker
What is the narrative stance? First, third limited, third omniscient, stream-of-consciousness
What words define the narrator’s perspective?
Simply paraphrase the narrative; what is the poem’s “story” in literal terms?
Are there voices additional to the narrator’s? How do you know?

IV. Figures of speech:
comparison: simile, metaphor, personification, animation
distortion: hyperbole, understatement
substitution: metonymy, synecdoche

V. Imagery:
IDENTIFY the images in the passage. Images are words, phrases, or sentences that provide a mental picture or
sensation (sense – ation: a concrete physical thing that can be perceived with the senses, like “an odor of
chrysanthamums” or “the deep, nocturnal musk beneath the cloying smell of honeysuckle.”) CLASSIFY the
types of imagery that recur in the passage. Is it animal, nature, kinetic, sickness, grave, Christian, hellish, etc.
Images are generally suggestive rather than comparative.

VI. Symbols
(Do not CREATE symbols out of nothing. If you see no symbols, do not concoct one to answer this section.
Leave it blank instead. A symbol is something that is itself and is also representative of something else – you
must have clues and evidence: how do you know this is a symbol? What is it a symbol of?
How do symbols work in the poem’s allegory?

VII. Theme:
What universal ideas (not a lesson) is the poem exploring?

VIII. Tone:
What attitude does the poet or speaker take toward his subject? How do you know? (ironic, sarcastic, sincere,
angry, disdainful, sympathetic….

IX. Write a thesis with three angles working toward a single purpose about your assigned poem. One workable
formula is to examine how I-VI develop VII and VIII.

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