Think, Pair, Share… Using the song lyrics which you have brought in, think about how your song lyrics are more similar to poetry than a normal piece of fiction might be. List at least 4 ways, and share these ways with a partner. Be prepared to share these with the class, as you will be called on at random! We will examine your song lyrics in more depth after a brief introduction to poetry.
Important Poetry Terms Diction: the wording used by the poet Figurative language: language that should not be taken literally, such as metaphors, similes, personification, hyperbole (exaggeration), idioms (figurative local expressions) Imagery: language that helps create images in the mind of the reader, especially through the use of descriptive language and sensory detail. Mood: the atmopshere or feeling of the poem (e.g. gloomy, mysterious, happy) Write these down!!
Important Poetry Terms, cont. Speaker: the “narrator” of the poem—not necessarily the poet. Symbol: an object, animal, color, or any other thing that stands for itself but also represents something else (i.e. the mockingbird in To Kill a Mockingbird) Theme: the central idea or message of the poem. Tone: the poet’s attitude toward the subject, speaker, characters of the poem, etc. Write these down!!
Tips on Reading Poetry Active or deliberate reading is important if we are going to enjoy a poem. And it is essential if we plan to write poetry. Every poem can teach us something, but only if we take time to study it. Here are some tips on how to shift from passive to active reading: Write these down!!
Slow down… The poem will remain a blur if you read it as fast as a newspaper or short story.
Give it multiple readings… Three at least: one aloud for the sound and rhythm, one deliberately line by line for analysis, and a third time at the normal pace again.
Go back to puzzling lines or phrases Use your dictionary when needed. Online dictionaries provide quick and easy access to unfamiliar words!
Use a pencil. If the book is your own, underline what you like and circle what puzzles you. If you have looked up a new word, pencil in a brief definition. If you are using a borrowed copy, consider photocopying the pages or using Post-it notes..
UNDERSTANDING POETRY SALTT One way to first approach a poem is to use SALTT. S=Speaker—the voice of the poem. Who is “telling” the poem? (not the author) A=Audience—who is supposed to read/understand the poem? L=Life message/Theme: what is the reader supposed to learn? T=Topics: specific ideas/topics and details in the poem (support the theme) T=Techniques: poetic techniques and structure of the poem. It only takes a minute to identify SALTT and it opens up a whole lot of information to you as a reader. Write these down!!
Be prepared to look for these poetic techniques… Type of poem: narrative, dramatic, lyric, epic poetry, ballad, etc. (to be explained as we read a few poems in class). Stanzas—how long, how many Rhyme scheme—is there one? (ababa, etc.) Meter/rhyme—is there any? Free verse or blank verse (those without rhyme)? Symbols Figurative language—metaphors, similes, personification What are these? Sound devices—assonance, consonance, alliteration What are these?
Poetry Distinctives As you look at the song lyrics you have printed, or are provided for you, you will look for the following distinctives. The following provides a summary of what has previously been covered in this introduction. Write these down!!
Use of LINES A poem uses the line (rather than the sentence) as a primary unit. Thus, the poet, not the size of the paper, determines the end of the line.
A heightened use of IMAGES That is, words and descriptions that appeal to all five senses.
Greater attention to the SOUND of words. Poems use rhyming and other sound techniques such as alliteration to emphasize the sounds of words. The cute cat’s cry. The floppy, soppy mop.
A Development of RHYTHM A natural pattern or obvious beat often emerges in poetry. It is often marked with dashes (/) and U’s for stressed and unstressed syllables, accordingly. Peter, Peter pumpkin eater
Creative DENSITY That is, poems often imply far more than is actual stated. Pages of ideas that might be developed in normal prose are condensed down to a small group of evocative words and phrases.