analyzing poetry

Document Sample
analyzing poetry Powered By Docstoc
					Analyzing Poetry

  “Poetry is nearer to vital truth
      than history” (Plato)

   And Dr. Seuss uses it, too!
The ordinary form of spoken or written
language, without metrical structure, as
distinguished from poetry or verse.
Prose is the form of written language that is
not organized according to formal patterns
of verse. It may have some sort of rhythm
and some devices of repetition and balance,
but these are not governed by regularly
sustained formal arrangement. The
significant unit is the sentence, not the line.
Hence it is represented without line breaks
in writing.

Novels, short stories, articles, works of
The art of rhythmical composition, written or
spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful,
imaginative, or elevated thoughts.
Literary work in metrical form; verse.
Poetry is language spoken or written according
to some pattern of recurrence that emphasizes
relationships between words on the basis of
sound as well as meaning. This pattern is
almost always a rhythm or meter (regular
pattern of sound units). This pattern may be
supplemented by ornamentation such as rhyme
or alliteration or both.
Poetry project due April 21
 This partner-optional project will challenge you to
 use both your left and right sides of the brain. The
 left side, which is analytical, tends to see
 sequences, causes and effects, and differences.
 The right side, however, looks for patterns,
 emotions, images, analogies, and pictures.
 For this assignment, you will select a poem that is
 12-30 lines long from On a
 sheet of tag board, you will arrange the poem and
 poet in the center and arrange the right- and left-
 brain parts around it.
 The project will be worth 50 points. Please refer to
 the below rubric as you construct your project.
 The assignment is due Thursday, April 21, in the
 library (do not bring it to 259 on that day).
Left-Brain Components
Left-brain components include the
following: an analysis of the poem
(see sample on page 7 and TP-
CASTT explanation in packet), five
key facts about the poet that are
(give credit for this information) and
three defined words (more credit).
Submit all three parts to
Right-Brain Components
Right-brain components consist of
images from the poem and
connections to your life (films, songs,
or literature the poem reminds you of;
colors; reactions; your original efforts
inspired by the poem you’ve chosen.
These should not just be images
printed off the Internet. Be creative!
Vary textures, colors, shapes, sizes.
Poetry Project Rubric (Remember that the
analysis must be submitted to, and
the key facts need documentation!

  See rubric for expectations
  Use a flat piece of tag board (2 x 3 feet)
  Use a variety of textures and colors (unless
  black and white for artistic effect)
  Do not roll up the project to bring to school
  (please keep flat)
  Begin in the middle and work your way to
  the edges
  Document your sources—OR NO CREDIT.
   Rhythm in Poetry
While not all poetry has rhyme,
rhythm, or both, some does.
The basic “beat” of poetry is called a
A foot could have one, two, or three
syllables. Only one syllable is
stressed for each foot.
A stressed syllable = /
An unstressed syllable = U
Rhythm devices with three syllables

 Anapestic: three-syllable foot
 made of two unstressed syllables
 followed by a stressed syllable. An
 example of this would be
 comprehend (com-pre-HEND).

 Hmmm…how would Dr. Seuss
 handle the anapestic foot?
If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss
   U U / U U         /
 "So I'd open each cage.
   U U / U U /
  I'd unlock every pen.
  U U / U U /
 Let the animals go
   U U / U U /
 And start over again."
Rhythm devices with three syllables

 Dactylic: three-syllable foot made of a
 stressed syllable followed by two
 unstressed syllables. An example of
 this would be merrily (MER-ri-ly).

 This is like the waltz beat: ONE two
 three, ONE two three (think
 pterodactyl doing the waltz)
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  / U U / U U /           U U /
"I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees."
Rhythm devices with two syllables

 Iambic: two-syllable foot made of an
 unstressed syllable followed by a
 stressed syllable. An example of this
 would be regard (re-GARD).

 Shakespeare used this, and so did
 Robert Frost. What about Dr. Seuss?
U / U /          U    /    U /
“I do not like green eggs and ham.
 U / U /          U    / U /
  I do not like them, Sam I Am."
Rhythmic devices with two syllables

 Trochaic: two-syllable foot made of a
 stressed syllable followed by an
 unstressed one. Think Poe's The
 Raven! An example would be raven

 So Poe liked this. Did Dr. Seuss?
 What do YOU think?
  /    U     /   U     /   U     /   U
"One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.."
Name the rhythmic device
 “And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.”

   U U /        U U / U U / U U /
 “And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.”
Name that rhythmic device
  “I saw a pair of pale green pants
  With nobody inside them.”

   U / U / U /           U    /
   I saw a pair of pale green pants
Name the TWO rhythmic devices

 “Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee,
  Where the cotton blooms and blows”

 Iambic and anapestic
  U    /   U /    U U    /   U /
 Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee
Name the rhythmic device
 “Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright
 In the forest of the night!”

  / U / U / U /
 Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright!
Name the rhythmic device
 Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures,
 What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures!

  / U U / U U              /   U U / U
 Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures
What’s a foot in poetry?
 The number of stressed beats in a line of
 poetry is a foot. Most poems have more
 than one foot per line:
 Dimeter (two beats)
 Trimeter (three beats)
 Tetrameter (four beats) Green Eggs and Ham by Seuss
 Pentameter (five beats)—SHAKESPEARE!
 Hexameter (six beats)
 Septameter (seven beats)
 Octameter (eight beats)—”The Raven” by Poe
  How many feet in these lines?
Robert Service’s “The Cremation of Sam McGee”:
Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.

Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”:
Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me.

Robert Browning’s “The Laboratory”:
Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures.

Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches:
Now the star-bellied Sneetches had bellies with stars,
But the plain-bellied Sneetches had none upon thars.

William Blake’s “The Tyger”:
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night
SOUND DEVICES--what helps
with rhyme? sound pictures?
 Alliteration: Repetition of initial sounds of
 words in a row. Example: Peter Piper
 picked a peck of pickled peppers. (Of
 course, alliteration is not always so
 Assonance: Repetition of internal vowel
 sounds of words close together in poetry.
 Example: I made my way to the lake.
 Consonance: Repetition of internal or
 ending consonant sounds of words close
 together in poetry. Example: I dropped the
 locket in the thick mud.
Onomatopoeia: Words that sound like their
meaning. Example: splash, boom, whizz
  True rhyme: words that rhyme with all
 ending sounds: Example: trouble and
 Sight rhyme: words that look alike but do
 not rhyme. Example: though and bough;
 good and food
 End rhyme: words that rhyme and occur at
 the ends of different lines of poetry
 Internal rhyme: two words that rhyme
 within one line of poetry
  ex. “We were the first that ever burst”
Rhyme Scheme:
 the pattern of rhyme in a poem. To get the
 rhyme scheme, each line in the poem is
 assigned a letter. The first line gets an "A".
 If the next line rhymes with the first, give it
 an "A" also. If not, give it a "B". Continue
 throughout the poem, following the same
 rules: if the end word rhymes with anything
 before, match that letter. If not, give it the
 next unused letter of the alphabet.
“Alone” by Edgar Allen Poe
 From childhood’s hour I have not been       a
 As others were; I have not seen             a
 As others saw; I could not bring             b
 My passions from a common spring.           b
 From the same source I have not taken       c
 My sorrow; I could not awaken               c
 My heart to joy at the same tone;           d
 And all I loved, I loved alone.             d

 What is the scansion (type of rhythm and number
 of feet)?
 Iambic tetrameter
Beyond simile, metaphor,
hyperbole, and personification
 Apostrophe 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!”
 Conceit A fanciful poetic image 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.”
 Litotes 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.
Metonymy 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.”
Synecdoche 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.
Which type of figurative language?
 "for life's not a paragraph
 and death I think is no parenthesis" (e.e. cummings).
 “I should have been a pair of ragged claws
 Scuttling across the floors of silent seas” (T.S. Eliot)
 “But the hand!
  Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
 The life from spilling” (Robert Frost)
 “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are”
 (Mother Goose)
 “This flea is you and I, and this
 Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is” (John
TPCASTT: A way to analyze poetry

   Ponder the title before reading the poem.
  Make up questions about the title. There
  are two kinds of titles: interactive titles and
  naming titles. Interactive titles are have
  some sort of interplay with poem itself and
  can affect its meaning. Naming titles may
  give less crucial information. If a poem
  lacks a title, you can do this step with the
  first line of the poem or skip it.

 Translate the poem into your own
 words. And I mean translate! Word for
 word! Find synonyms for every
 possible word. Summarizing is NOT
 paraphrasing (see page 7 of the
 packet for a sample).

 Contemplate the poem for meaning
 beyond the literal. Identify and figure
 out the figurative language. Look for
 symbols and conceits (extended
 metaphors). Here also is where you
 will examine the form (rhythmic
 devices, for example).
 After identifying a subject/topic of the
 poem, figure out how the speaker
 (and/or the poet) feels about it.
 Look at word choice. Is the diction
 formal or informal?
 Look at tone. Is the poem ironic?
 Don’t assume the speaker and the
 poet are the same. Who is the
 narrator of the poem? Male or
 female? Young or old?
 Note transitions in the poem. Shifts in
 subject, attitude, or mood. Look for
 words like but or then.
 Look at the punctuation, like
 questions and answers
  Look for a change in verb tense (said
 to says) or person ( I to you, or I to he
 or she?)
 Look for a change in time
Title (second time)
 Examine the title again, this time on
 an interpretive level. Answer your
 questions. Figure out how the title
 illuminates the poem. Remember a
 "naming title" may not mean much.
 Remember you can do this with the
 first line of a poem if it lacks a title or
 you can skip this step altogether.
Theme (NOT A MORAL!)

 After identifying a subject/topic of the
 poem, determine what the poet thinks
 about the subject. What is the poet
 saying about life? Remember, it
 cannot be a command (no bossing
 the reader).
 Theme: Imagination can be powerful.
 Moral: Let your child daydream.
Sample paraphrase—no figurative
language allowed—and no big words!
 I enjoy seeing it drink up the miles and use
 its tongue to consume the valleys. Then it
 pauses to eat at a watering tank. After that
 it takes a gigantic step around some
 mountains while haughtily peeking into
 some crudely built huts on the roadsides.
 It slices through an open pit of rocks just
 enough to squeeze itself through. It
 complains constantly with a repetitive
 sound and then speeds down the hill,
 making a thunderous noise. Right on time
 it stops, nicely and powerfully, at its shed.
Sample connotation—analyze!
  “I Like To See It Lap the Miles” is an extended metaphor
 because the train is compared to a horse. In fact, train engines
 were referred to as “iron horses,” which is probably where
 Dickinson got the idea for this poem. The feeding tanks are
 the water and coal needed to fuel the engine, the complaints
 and neighs are the sounds a train makes as it goes up and
 down hills or toots its whistle. The “stable door” is the station.
 In order to make the engine seem like a living creature,
 Dickinson uses personification. A train engine does not have
 a tongue, so it can’t “lap the Miles” or “lick the Valleys up.” It
 doesn’t have a mouth or stomach, so it could not “feed itself at
 Tanks.” The language gives the engine many attributes of a
 horse: mouth, stomach, eyes, legs, and vocal chords.
 Dickinson also uses an allusion in the phrase “neigh like
 Boanerges.” Boanerges means “son of thunder” and is what
 Jesus called James and John, the sons of Zebedee, in the New
     Besides imagery, the poet uses sound devices. The second
 and fourth lines of each verse either rhyme or have near
 rhyme: “up” and “step,” “Star” and “door.” The entire poem
 is iambic, with the first and third lines in tetrameter and the
 second and fourth lines in trimeter. Dickinson also uses
 alliteration: “like to see it lap” and “horrid—hooting.”
Sample attitude
  The speaker of the poem seems to be a
 child with a good imagination. Many of the
 words are simple, though “supercilious,”
 “prodigious,” “Boanerges” and “omnipotent”
 require most people to find a dictionary.
 Still, a child growing up in a religious
 household in the nineteenth century would
 have been familiar with these words. The
 speaker may have been describing this
 scene to a friend or to a parent—or may
 have simply been wondering aloud.
Sample shift

 The poet uses "then" four times.
 Each time the train stops what it has
 been doing and begins another
 activity. This is similar to the many
 stops a train makes during the day.
 In fact, steam engines had to stop
 every seven miles, which is why so
 many towns in rural areas are only
 seven miles apart.
Sample theme

 The theme seems to be the power of
 imagination or wonder of a child.
 Just as the speaker is able to
 compare a steam engine to a horse,
 children have the capability of
 pretending that one object is really
 something else.

Shared By: