Poetic Forms & Genres<br />The Stanza<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
Pattern<br />Pattern: The use of stanza is an extension of patterning words and language in poetry.<br />Patterning – rhyt...
Russian Formalism<br />‘As perception becomes habitual, it becomes automatic...The technique of art is to make objects see...
Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />‘The distinctive feature of poetry lies in the fact that a word is perceived as a w...
Stanza: Definitions<br /><ul><li>A group of lines of verse...arranged according to a definite scheme which regulates the n...
The word ‘stanza’ in Italian means room. In a simple practical way, the stanza in poetry has that figurative purpose. It i...
‘Stanza at a Glance’<br /><ul><li>Any unit of recurring meter and rhyme – or variations of them – used in an established p...
The stanza can be made up of lines of the same length (Isometric stanza)
If made of lines of different length = heterometric stanza
Loose grouping of lines and paragraphs of verse. Called quasi-stanzaic or verse paragraph</li></ul>Sarah Law Poetic Forms ...
Stichic Verse<br />In stichic verse line follows line without any regular grouping of lines into stanzas.<br />Poems writt...
Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />		Whence and what art thou, execrable shape, That dar'st, though grim and terrible,...
...back to the stanza<br />Generally the number of lines in each stanza of a particular poem will stay the same – though t...
The couplet<br /><ul><li>Rhyming couplet: two lines which rhyme with each other. E.g. From Pope’s ‘Essay on Man’:</li></ul...
Features of the couplet<br /><ul><li>It can be witty and succinct. Neoclassical poets used it for argument and satire.
Can give an air of finality. Shakespearian sonnets end with a rhyming couplet in order to give a sense of conclusion.
Neoclassical verse and a sonnet’s concluding couplet are NOT stanzas in themselves
Couplets become stanzas if separated from other couplets by a space:</li></ul>Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />She makes her music, loosening her hands:<br />The moment holds. But if the evening...
The Ghazal <br /><ul><li>A Persian form written in couplets
A repeating word or phrase at the end of each couplet (traditionally)
Each couplet is distinct from the others – no enjambment</li></ul>When you wake to jitters every day, it’s heartache. <br ...
three line stanzas<br />The triplet: all 3 lines rhyme aaa bbb ccc ...<br />Whenas in silks my Julia goes,<br />Then, then...
Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br /><ul><li>Other three line stanzas are known as tercets. May have 1st and 3rd lines r...
Terzarima: ababcbcdc ...</li></ul>O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,		a<br />Thou, from whose unseen presenc...
C20th uses include<br /><ul><li>‘Triadic stanza’ (aka ‘variable foot’) devised by William Carlos Williams:</li></ul>As I t...
The quatrain (4 line stanza)<br /><ul><li>The most common stanza length in English poetry. Comes in a number of varieties ...
Ballad stanza (rhythm 4-3-4-3):</li></ul>There lived a wife at Usher’s Well,<br />And a wealthy wife was she;<br />She had...
Check the handout...<br />For more examples of stanza patterns and their names<br />Poets can & do invent their own forms ...
Analysing stanzas<br />A stanza is the verse equivalent of a paragraph. Like each paragraph in a story or essay, a stanza ...
Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />Stanzas can be end-stopped (usually) or enjambed(sense and phrase carry on from end...
Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />Alas, alas, who’s injured by my love? (Donne, ‘The Canonization’)<br />Forlorn! The...
Questions, questions...<br />May be asked at the beginning of a stanza, and answered at the end:<br />Sir Walter Raleigh  ...
Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br /><ul><li>Questions can be used rhetorically to end a stanza and/or entire poem on an...
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Introduction to stanza use in poetry

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The stanza

  1. 1. Poetic Forms & Genres<br />The Stanza<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  2. 2. Pattern<br />Pattern: The use of stanza is an extension of patterning words and language in poetry.<br />Patterning – rhythm, rhyme, repetition, originates in the oral tradition as ways of remembering words and narrative<br />The ‘defamiliarisation’ of language<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  3. 3. Russian Formalism<br />‘As perception becomes habitual, it becomes automatic...The technique of art is to make objects seem unfamiliar, to make forms difficult, to increase the length of perception’ (Victor Shlovsky, ‘Art as Technique’, 1917)<br />‘Poetic Speech is formed speech’<br />‘A dance is a walk which is felt... it is a walk which is constructed to be felt’<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  4. 4. Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />‘The distinctive feature of poetry lies in the fact that a word is perceived as a word and not merely a proxy for the denoted object or an outburst of an emotion, that words and their arrangement, their meaning, their outward and inward form acquire weight and value of their own’ (Roman Jakobson)<br />
  5. 5. Stanza: Definitions<br /><ul><li>A group of lines of verse...arranged according to a definite scheme which regulates the number of lines, the metre and (in rhymed poetry) the sequence of rhymes; normally forming a division of a song or poem constructed according to the same scheme (OED)
  6. 6. The word ‘stanza’ in Italian means room. In a simple practical way, the stanza in poetry has that figurative purpose. It is as self-contained as any chamber or room. And yet to be in it is to have the consciousness at all times that it also leads somewhere’ (Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms)</li></ul>Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  7. 7. ‘Stanza at a Glance’<br /><ul><li>Any unit of recurring meter and rhyme – or variations of them – used in an established pattern of repetition and separation in a single poem
  8. 8. The stanza can be made up of lines of the same length (Isometric stanza)
  9. 9. If made of lines of different length = heterometric stanza
  10. 10. Loose grouping of lines and paragraphs of verse. Called quasi-stanzaic or verse paragraph</li></ul>Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  11. 11. Stichic Verse<br />In stichic verse line follows line without any regular grouping of lines into stanzas.<br />Poems written in blank verse, or rhyming couplets are usually stichic poems.<br />E.g. Neoclassical verse essays;<br />Milton’s blank verse epic Paradise Lost:<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  12. 12. Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br /> Whence and what art thou, execrable shape, That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance Thy miscreated Front athwart my way To yonder Gates? through them I mean to pass, That be assur'd, without leave askt of thee: Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof, Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heav'n. To whom the Goblin full of wrauthreply'd, Art thou that Traitor Angel, art thou hee, Who first broke peace in Heav'n and Faith, till then Unbrok'n, and in proud rebellious Arms Drew after him the third part of Heav'ns Sons Conjur'd against the highest...[Book II]<br />
  13. 13. ...back to the stanza<br />Generally the number of lines in each stanza of a particular poem will stay the same – though there are exceptions e.g. the rondeau<br />In most stanzaic poems, the underlying metre or pattern of rhythm stays the same.<br />Heterometric stanzas include the ballad stanza, the Spenserian stanza<br />Usually the rhyme pattern is constant<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  14. 14. The couplet<br /><ul><li>Rhyming couplet: two lines which rhyme with each other. E.g. From Pope’s ‘Essay on Man’:</li></ul>Know then thyself, presume not God to scan<br />The proper study of mankind is man.<br />Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,<br />A being darkly wise, and rudely great:<br />With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,<br />With too much weakness for the stoic’s pride...<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  15. 15. Features of the couplet<br /><ul><li>It can be witty and succinct. Neoclassical poets used it for argument and satire.
  16. 16. Can give an air of finality. Shakespearian sonnets end with a rhyming couplet in order to give a sense of conclusion.
  17. 17. Neoclassical verse and a sonnet’s concluding couplet are NOT stanzas in themselves
  18. 18. Couplets become stanzas if separated from other couplets by a space:</li></ul>Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  19. 19. Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />She makes her music, loosening her hands:<br />The moment holds. But if the evening ends<br />The coffee place will crowd, and trains will leave,<br />And fields absorb what light the moon might give.<br />(Matthew Welton)<br />*<br />In homes, a haunted apparatus sleeps,<br />That snores when you pick it up.<br />If the ghost cries, they carry it<br />to their lips and soothe it to sleep<br />with sounds. And yet they wake it up<br />deliberately, by tickling with a finger<br />(Craig Raine)<br />
  20. 20. The Ghazal <br /><ul><li>A Persian form written in couplets
  21. 21. A repeating word or phrase at the end of each couplet (traditionally)
  22. 22. Each couplet is distinct from the others – no enjambment</li></ul>When you wake to jitters every day, it’s heartache. <br />Ignore it, explore it, either way it’s heartache. <br /> <br />Youth’s a map you can never refold, <br />from Yokohama to Hudson Bay, it’s heartache. <br /> <br />Follow the piper, lost on the road, <br />whistle the tune that led him astray: it’s heartache. <br /> <br />Stop at the roadside, name each flower, <br />the loveliness that will always stay: it’s heartache. <br />...<br />(Mimi Khalvati)<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  23. 23. three line stanzas<br />The triplet: all 3 lines rhyme aaa bbb ccc ...<br />Whenas in silks my Julia goes,<br />Then, then (methinks) how sweetly flows<br />The liquefaction of her clothes<br />(Robert Herrick ‘Upon Julia’s Clothes’)<br />Over the mirrors meant<br /> To glass the opulent<br />The sea-worm crawls – grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.<br />(Thomas Hardy, ‘Convergence of the Twain: Lines on the Loss of the Titanic’)<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  24. 24. Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br /><ul><li>Other three line stanzas are known as tercets. May have 1st and 3rd lines rhyming, or may have no rhyme.
  25. 25. Terzarima: ababcbcdc ...</li></ul>O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being, a<br />Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead b<br />Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, a<br /> <br />Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, b<br />Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou, c<br />Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed b<br /> <br />The winged seeds... <br />Shelley, 'Ode to the West Wind'<br />
  26. 26. C20th uses include<br /><ul><li>‘Triadic stanza’ (aka ‘variable foot’) devised by William Carlos Williams:</li></ul>As I think of it now,<br /> after a lifetime,<br /> it is as if<br /> <br />a sweet-scented flower<br /> were poised<br /> and for me did open.<br /> <br />(William Carlos Williams, ‘Of Asphodel, that Greeny Flower’)<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  27. 27. The quatrain (4 line stanza)<br /><ul><li>The most common stanza length in English poetry. Comes in a number of varieties e.g.
  28. 28. Ballad stanza (rhythm 4-3-4-3):</li></ul>There lived a wife at Usher’s Well,<br />And a wealthy wife was she;<br />She had three stout and stalwart sons,<br />And sent them o’er the sea<br /><ul><li>In Memoriam stanza (after Tennyson’s poem ‘In Memoriam’: rhyme abba, iambic tetrameter)</li></ul>I sometimes hold it half a sin<br />To put in words the grief I feel;<br />For words, like Nature, half reveal<br />And half conceal the soul within.<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  29. 29. Check the handout...<br />For more examples of stanza patterns and their names<br />Poets can & do invent their own forms e.g. George Herbert, John Donne<br />If they don’t catch on, these stanzas don’t get a specific name.<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  30. 30. Analysing stanzas<br />A stanza is the verse equivalent of a paragraph. Like each paragraph in a story or essay, a stanza advances the composition; again like the paragraph, an individual stanza may represent a complete change in tone and idea or only a very slight one. (Karl Shapiro and Robert Beum A Prosody Handbook)<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  31. 31. Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />Stanzas can be end-stopped (usually) or enjambed(sense and phrase carry on from end of one stanza to beginning of next)<br />Look at how stanzas are opened and closed:<br />Questions, exclamations, repetitions, apostrophes (address to animal, thing, or absent person)<br />
  32. 32. Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />Alas, alas, who’s injured by my love? (Donne, ‘The Canonization’)<br />Forlorn! The very word is like a bell<br />To toll me back from thee to my sole self (Keats, ‘Ode to a Nightingale’)<br />O sages, standing in God’s holy fire <br />As in the gold mosaic of a wall (Yeats, ‘Sailing to Byzantium’)<br />
  33. 33. Questions, questions...<br />May be asked at the beginning of a stanza, and answered at the end:<br />Sir Walter Raleigh A Description of Love:<br /> Now what is love?  I pray thee, tell. It is that fountain and that well Where pleasure and repentance dwell. It is perhaps the sauncing bell That tolls all into heaven or hell: And this is love, as I hear tell. <br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  34. 34. Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br /><ul><li>Questions can be used rhetorically to end a stanza and/or entire poem on an intense note:</li></ul>Was it a vision or a waking dream?<br />Fled is that music – do I wake or sleep? <br />(Keats ‘Ode to a Nightingale’)<br />O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer,<br />Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?<br />O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,<br />How can we know the dancer from the dance? (Yeats ‘Among Schoolchildren’)<br />
  35. 35. Refrains<br /><ul><li>Refrain: look for at the beginning and/or end of each stanza:</li></ul> Disdain me not without desert,Nor leave me not so suddenlySince well ye wot that in my heartI mean ye not but honestly.Disdain me not. (Thomas Wyatt)<br />And death shall have no dominion. <br />Dead men naked they shall be one <br />With the man in the wind and the west moon; <br />When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone, <br />They shall have stars at elbow and foot; <br />Though they go mad they shall be sane, <br />Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; <br />Though lovers be lost love shall not; <br />And death shall have no dominion. (Dylan Thomas)<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  36. 36. Progression between stanzas<br />This is usually the case, although sometimes stanzas seem more interchageable than deliberately ordered. Such stanzas are sometimes known as ‘mobile stanzas’.<br />Poems that have ‘mobile stanzas’ are sometimes constructed like lists:<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  37. 37. The Means to attain a Happy Life(Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey 1516-1547)<br /><ul><li>Martial, the things that do attain The happy life be these, I find:— The riches left, not got with pain; The fruitful ground, the quiet mind; The equal friend, no grudge, nor strife; No charge of rule, nor governance; Without disease, the healthful life; The household of continuance; The mean diet, no delicate fare; True wisdom join'd with simpleness; The night dischargèd of all care, Where wine the wit may not oppress. The faithful wife, without debate; Such sleeps as may beguile the night: Contented with thine own estate Ne wish for death, ne fear his might. </li></ul>(original version)<br /> Martial, the things that do attain The happy life be these, I find:— The riches left, not got with pain; The fruitful ground, the quiet mind; The mean diet, no delicate fare; True wisdom join'd with simpleness; The night dischargèd of all care, Where wine the wit may not oppress. <br /> The equal friend, no grudge, nor strife; No charge of rule, nor governance; Without disease, the healthful life; The household of continuance; The faithful wife, without debate; Such sleeps as may beguile the night: Contented with thine own estate Ne wish for death, ne fear his might.<br />(edited version!) <br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  38. 38. Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />Usually though, look at the progress of the poem and how each stanza moves towards the poem’s conclusion.<br />This may be in the form of a straightforward narrative, or moving the argument or feeling of the poem on by .e.g contrast and opposition, or reinforcing and illustrating a theme.<br />
  39. 39. Vertue (George Herbert)<br /> <br />Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright!<br /> The bridal of the earth and sky--<br /> The dew shall weep thy fall to-night;<br /> For thou must die.<br /> Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave<br /> Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye,<br /> Thy root is ever in its grave,<br /> And thou must die.<br /> Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,<br /> A box where sweets compacted lie,<br /> My music shows ye have your closes,<br /> And all must die.<br /> Only a sweet and virtuous soul,<br /> Like season'd timber, never gives;<br /> But though the whole world turn to coal,<br /> Then chiefly lives.<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  40. 40. Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br /><ul><li>Just as some poetic forms have traditions of theme and mood, so can certain stanzas.
  41. 41. E.g. ottavarima(8 line stanza pattern) has been used for comic purposes by Byron (‘Don Juan’) and for serious meditative purposes by Yeats (‘Among School Children’)
  42. 42. A poet can use the fact that Byron and Yeats famously used ottavarima in these ways in order to indicate tradition and generate meaning.</li></li></ul><li>Ottavarima<br />Byron - from ‘Don Juan’<br />And Julia sate with Juan, half-embraced<br />And half retiring from the glowing arm,<br />Which trembled like the bosom where ‘twas placed;<br />Yet still she must have thought there was no harm,<br />Or else ‘twere easy to withdraw her waist;<br />But then the situation had its charm,<br />And then – God knows what next – I can’t go on;<br />I’m almost sorry that I e’er began.<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  43. 43. Yeats: from ‘Among School Children’<br />I walk through the long schoolroom questioning;<br />A kind old nun in a white hood replies;<br />The children learn to cipher and to sing;<br />To study reading-books and histories,<br />To cut and sew, be neat in everything<br />In the best modern way - the children's eyes<br />In momentary wonder stare upon<br />A sixty-year-old smiling public man.<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  44. 44. And finally...<br /><ul><li>Poets can take and sometimes develop stanza forms from their poetic predecessors, as well as developing their own entirely.
  45. 45. E.g. Keats used the Spenserian stanza in his ‘Eve of St Agnes’, deliberately drawing on its associations with medieval narrative.
  46. 46. Keats in particular liked to develop stanza forms – ‘Ode to Nightingale’ uses the quatrain of a Shakesperian sonnet and the sestet of a Petrarchan sonnet: ababcdecde:</li></ul>Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  47. 47. Adaptation of forms<br />My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains<br /> My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,<br />Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains<br /> One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:<br />‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,<br /> But being too happy in thine happiness – <br /> That thou, light winged Dryad of the trees,<br /> In some melodious plot<br /> Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,<br />Singest of summer in full-throated ease.<br />(Keats, from ‘Ode to a Nightingale’)<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
  48. 48. Adaptation of Forms <br />That Whitsun, I was late getting away: <br />Not till about <br />One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday <br />Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out, <br />All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense <br />Of being in a hurry gone. We ran <br />Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street <br />Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence <br />The river's level drifting breadth began,<br />Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.<br />(Larkin, from ‘The Whitsun Weddings’)<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms and Genres<br />
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