Aesthetic self-referentiality ( which means that they draw attention to themselves as art form both through the form in which they are written and through explicit references to the writing of poetry)
With all the difficulties of defining poetry it is worth remembering that poetry, especially in the form of song, is one of the oldest form of artistic expression, much older than prose, and it seems to answer- or to originate in- a human impulse that reaches for expression in joy, grief, doubt, hope, loneliness, and much more.
Categorizing poetry into types help us group poems together on the basis of shared characteristics which in turn facilitate the process of interpretation and understanding of the poems.
Poetry can be categorized into a number of types depending on the theme, subject matter or structure of the poem. It is useful to keep two general distinctions in mind: lyrical poetry and narrative poetry.
Subcategories of lyric poetry: lyric poetry has different sub-types each having its own distinctive features, both in form and in content. Some famous types include: the elegy, ode, sonnet, dramatic monologue, epithalamion, epigram, limerick, and haiku.
Elegy: It is a formal lament for the death of a particular person (for example Tennyson`s ‘In Memoriam’). More broadly defined, the term elegy is also used for solemn meditations often on questions of death, such as Grey`s ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’.
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyardby Thomas Gray The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,And leaves the world to darkness and to me. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Ode: Most popular and ancient form of poetry, practiced by the Greek and Roman poets. A long lyric poems with a serious subject, written to a set structure in an elevated style. John Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and "Ode To A Nightingale" and Wordsworth`s " Hymn to Duty " are famous examples.
Ode To A Nightingaleby John Keats My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness painsMy sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,Or emptied some dull opiate to the drainsOne minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
LYRICAL POETRY (Continued) Sonnet: A love poem of 14 lines, dealing with the lover`s sufferings and hopes. Of Italian origin, became popular in England through Wyatt and Earl of Surrey who imitated the sonnets of Petrarch (Petrarchan sonnet). Used for topics other than love, as for religious experience (by Donne & Milton), reflections on art (by Keats & Shelley), or even the war experience (by Brooke & Owen). A series of sonnets linked by the same theme, is called sonnet cycle (for instance Petrarch, Spencer, Shakespeare) which depict the various stages of a love relationship. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Sonnet 18by William Shakespeare Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm’d; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d; ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
LYRICAL POETRY (Continued) Dramatic monologue: A lyric poem in which a speaker, who is explicitly someone other than the author, makes a speech to a silent auditor in a specific situation and at a critical moment. Without intending to do so, the speaker reveals aspects of his temperament and character. Browning`s “My Last Duchess” and “Porphyria's Lover’ are examples of this type. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
“My Las Duchess” by Robert Browning That's my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder, now: FràPandolf's hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will 't please you sit and look at her? I said "FràPandolf" by design, for never read Strangers like you that pictured countenance, The depth and passion of its earnest glance, ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
LYRICAL POETRY (Continued) Epithalamium : From the Greek 'epi' meaning 'upon' and 'thalamium' meaning 'nuptial chamber'. It is a wedding poem in honour of a bride and bridegroom. The best example of Epithalamium in Greek literature is the ‘18th Idyll of Theocritus’, that celebrates the marriage of Menelaus and Helen. The famous work "Epithalamium" was written by Edmund Spenser in honor of his marriage in 1594.Dryden`s “Annus Mirabilis” and R. Graves` “A Slice of Wedding Cake” are other examples of this form. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
LYRICAL POETRY (Continued) Example of Epithalamium Form - Excerpt A Slice of Wedding Cakeby Robert Graves Why have such scores of lovely, gifted girlsMarried impossible men?Simple self-sacrifice may be ruled out,And missionary endeavor, nine times out of ten. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Epigram: A very short, satirical and witty poem usually written as a brief couplet or quatrain. It derives from the Greek 'epigramma' meaning an inscription. It was cultivated in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by poets like Ben Jonson and John Donne who wrote twenty-one English epigrams.
A verbal representation, in verse, of a series of connected events; and propels characters through a plot.
It is always told by a narrator and the narrative may be a love story (like Tennyson`s ‘Maud’), the story of a father and son (like Wordsworth`s ‘Michael’), the deeds of a hero or heroine (like Scott`s ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel’), or the story of man`s fall from Eden (like Milton`s ‘Paradise Lost’). Subcategories of narrative poetry are for example: epic, mock-epic, and ballad.
Epic: Operates on a large scale, both in length and topic, such as the founding of a nation (Vergil`s ‘Aeneid’) or the beginning of world history (Milton`s ‘Paradise Lost’). The poet makes an invocation to a god or goddess to assist him in the enormous task. It tends to use an elevated style of language and supernatural beings take part in the action.
Mock-epic: Makes use of epic conventions, like the elevated style and the assumption that the topic is of great importance, to deal with completely insignificant occurrences. A famous example is Pope`s ‘Rape of the Lock’.
Ballad: A song, originally transmitted orally and tells a story. They are similar to a folk tale or legend and often has a repeated refrain. A ballad is often about love and often sung. Ballads are written in four-line stanzas of alternating tetrameter and tri-meter.
The Mermaid by Unknown author Oh the ocean waves may roll, And the stormy winds may blow, While we poor sailors go skipping aloft And the land lubbers lay down below, below, below And the land lubbers lay down below. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Both lyric and narrative poetry can contain lengthy and detailed descriptions (descriptive poetry) or scenes in direct speech (dramatic poetry).
Didactic poems are meant to teach in a restrictive (James Thompson`s ‘The Seasons’)or in a general (Popes` ‘Essay on Criticism’)way. Horace famously demanded that poetry should combine prodesse (learning) and delectare (pleasure).
Prosody: The study of speech rhythms and versification. Most poetry is rhythmical utterances, i.e. it makes use of rhythmic elements natural to a language: alternation of stress and non-stress, vowel length, consonant clusters, pauses and so on. Various rhythmic patterns have different effects on those who read or hear poetry. The central question for the analysis of metre and rhythm is to determine the function which these rhythmical elements perform in each poem.
Metre: It is the measured arrangement of accents and syllables. Poetry employs the stresses that occur naturally in language utterances to construct regular patterns. Some possibilities for metrical patterns in poetry are:
Accentual metre: same stresses but different syllables
Syllabic metre: same syllables but different stresses
Accentual-Syllabic metre: equal number of stressed and non-stressed syllables per line. Most common metre in English poetry.
Free verse: irregular pattern of stress and syllables
The visual representation of the distribution of stress and non-stress in verse is called scansion. Stress syllable is denoted by ( ¹ ) and non-stress by ( º ).
Accentual metre: each line has the same number of stresses, but varies in total number of syllables. It is found in nursery rhymes and was commonly used in Old English poetry. Hopkins's sprung rhythm and modern rap poetry make use of this metre.
There was a crooked man and he went a crooked mile  He found a crooked sixpence beside a crooked stile  He had a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse  And they all lived together in a little crooked house  (From: Christie, ‘Crooked House’) ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Syllabic metre: It has a fixed number of syllables in each line, though there may be a varying number of stresses. Pure syllabic verse is comparatively rare in English and what there is, is imported from foreign forms of poetry, such is the Japanese Haiku.It is named according to the number of syllables per line using Greek numbers.
William Black, for instance, liked the so-called fourteener, a line with fourteen syllables:
‘Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean, The children walking two and two, in red and blue and green, Grey headed beadles walked before with wands as white as snow, Till into the high dome of Paul`s they like Thames` waters flow. ( Blake`s Songs of Innocence: Holy Thursday) ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Accentual-syllabic metre: It is extensively used in the English poetry. In this metrical system both the number of stresses and the number of syllables between the stresses are regular, but it is often the case that a line leaves one metrical foot incomplete, thus varying the number of syllables as a whole. Each single unit of stress and non-stress is called foot. There are a large number of metrical foot measurements but the most common ones are: iamb, trochee, dactyl, anapaest, and spondee.
Trochaic ( trochee): DUM-da( represented by ¹ º or ' ̌ )
2 syllables: stressed followed by non-stressed Examples: Double , double, toil and trouble [' ̌ ' ̌ ' ̌ ' ̌ ] (Shakespeare`s “Macbeth” ) Go and catch a falling star [' ̌ ' ̌ ' ̌ ' ] catalexis of the final foot. Get with child a mandrake root [' ̌ ' ̌ ' ̌ ' ] ( John Donne “ Song” ) Crabbed age and youth cannot live together; Youth is full of pleasance age is full of care; ( Shakespeare`s “The Passionate Pilgrim” ) ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Dactyl:DUM-da-da ( represented by ¹ º º or ' ̌ ̌ )
3 syllables: One stressed followed by two non-stressed Examples: Woman much missed how you call to me, call to me [' ̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ] ( Thomas Hardy`s “The Voice” ) Cannon to the right of them Cannon to the left of them Cannon in front of them Volley`d and thunder`d ( Tennyson`s “Charge of the Light Brigade” ) ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Anapaest:da-da-DUM ( represented by º º ¹ or ̌ ̌ ')
3 syllables: Two non-stressed followed by one stressed Examples: The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, [̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ' ] And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; [̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ' ] And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea. [̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ' ̌ ̌ ' ] ( Byron`s “The Destruction of Sennachrib” ) But lo the old inn, and the lights, and the fire And the fiddler`s old tune and the shuffling of feet; ( William Morris` “ The Message of the Wind” ) ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
2 syllables: Stressed followed by another stressed
Often used as a substitute as whole poem cannot be written in it. It slows down the pace of line and give emphasis to words and phrases.
Examples: If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. ( Shakespeare`s sonnet cxxx) Its eyes closed, pink white eyelashes Its trotters stuck straight out. ( Ted Hughes`s “View of a Pig” ) ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
In naming the metre of a poem we combine the term giving the stress pattern and the number of feet per line. For example, a line written in the iambic metre and having four feet per line is called iambic tetrameter:
Had we but world enough, and time This coyness, lady, were no crime. We would sit down, and think which way To walk, and pass our long love`s day. ( From Marvell`s “To His Coy Mistress” ) ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
RHYTHM Beside meter and metrical variations the variations in speed in which a poem is read is essential to rhythm. Speed is particularly influenced by:
CONSONANCE: The repetition of the same consonant sounds (usually at the end of the words) after different accented vowel sounds.
Example: Clear – scar, river – forever ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
SOUND PATTERNS ONOMATOPOEIA: Use of words whose sounds imitate, echo or suggest natural sounds or their meanings. Some general examples include: tweet, chirp, cluck, clink, and quack etc. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Stichic verse: It is a continuous run of lines of the same length and the same meter. Mostly used in narrative verse.
Blank verse: It is usually stichic, non-rhyming iambic pentameter. It is widely by Shakespeare for English dramatic verse, but it is also used, under the influence of Milton, for non-dramatic verse.
Spenserian stanza: A nine-line stanza rhyming ababbcbcc, used by Edmund Spenser in the “Faerie Queene”. The first eight lines are iambic pentameter, the last line is an alexandrine, which breaks the slight monotony of the pentameter and is often employed to emphasize a point.
Sonnet: A lyric poem of usually fourteen lines in iambic pentameter, in the close form. Two sonnet forms have been widely used: the Italian ( or Petrarchan) sonnet and the English ( or Shakespearean) sonnet.
The Italian sonnet is divided in an octave and a sestet. The octave rhyme abbaabba, and the sestet rhyme cdecde or cdccdc.
The English (or Shakespearean) sonnet is composed of three quatrains and a couplet, with the rhyme scheme ababcdcdefefgg.
An important variant of the English sonnet is the Spenserian sonnet which links the quatrains with rhymes: ababbcbccdcdee. This sonnet type is used by Edmund Spenser in his sonnet cycle “Amoretti”
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STANZA AND VERSE FORMS Villanelle: A French verse form with a rather intricate verse and rhyme pattern. It has five tercets rhyming aba and a final quatrain rhyming abaa. The tercet provide a kind of refrain, as the first line of the first tercet is repeated as the last line of the second and fourth, and the third line of the first tercet is repeated as the last line of the third and fifth. The first and last line of the first quatrain form the last two lines of the concluding quatrain. A famous example is Dylan Thomas`s poem “Do not go gentle into that good night”. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Limerick: A short sometimes bawdy, humorous poem consisting of five Anapestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 of a it have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another. Lines 3 and 4 have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other. Edward Lear is famous for his Book of Nonsense which included the poetry form of Limericks.
Limerick from the Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear There was an Old Man with a gong,Who bumped at it all day long;But they called out, 'O law!You're a horrid old bore!'So they smashed that Old Man with a gong. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Haiku: A poetry type of Japanese origin composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. It originated in the sixteenth century and reflects on some aspect of nature and creates images.
Free verse ( verse Libra ): It does not use any particular pattern of stress or number of syllables per line. Though, such poems are without regular metre, rhyme or stanza form, but they are not without rhythmic effects and organization. It can be organized around syntactic units, word or sound repetitions, or the rhythm created by a line break.
It is time to explain myself– let us stand up. What is known I strip away, I launched all men and women forward with me into the Unknown. The clock indicates the moment – but what does eternity indicate? (Walt Whitman) ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
The form of speech artfully varied from common usage.
Figurative language is divided into two main groups:
Rhetorical schemes: arrangement of individual sounds, words, and syntax. Rhetorical tropes: figurative language, representing a deviation from common or main significance of a word or phrase (semantic figures) or include specific appeal to the audience ( pragmatic figures). ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Metaphor: A figure of similarity, in which a word or phrase expresses, describes, or defines one thing as though it were another thing. It is an implicit or covert comparison that adds a new dimension of meaning to the original expression or thing.
Example: The Bird of time has but a little way To flutter, and the Bird is on the wing. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Paradox: A statement that initially appears to be contradictory but then, on closer inspection, turns out to make sense. A paradox reduced to two words is called Oxymoron, as:
Seriously Joking, Living dead, eloquent silence, and inertly strong For example: John Donne ends his sonnet "Death, Be Not Proud" with the paradoxical statement "Death, thou shalt die." ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Symbol: Anything that stands for something else. It may be a person, object, image, word, or event that evokes a range of additional meaning beyond and usually more abstract than its literal significance. In literature, symbols can be cultural, contextual, or personal.
Keats starts his ode with a real nightingale, but quickly it becomes a symbol, standing for a life of pure, unmixed joy; then before the end of the poem it becomes only a bird again.
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FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE Personification: A form of metaphor in which human characteristics are attributed to nonhuman things. Personification offers the writer a way to give the world life and motion by assigning familiar human behaviors and emotions to animals, inanimate objects, and abstract ideas. For example: In Keats’s "Ode on a Grecian Urn," the speaker refers to the urn as an "unravished bride of quietness." ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE Pun: A play on words that relies on a word’s having more than one meaning or sounding like another word. Shakespeare and other writers use puns extensively, for serious and comic purposes: In Romeo and Juliet (III.i.101), the dying Mercutio puns, "Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man." ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Imagery: It is the "mental pictures" that readers experience within a passage of literature. It signifies all the sensory perceptions referred to in a poem, whether by literal description, allusion, simile, or metaphor. It is not limited to visual imagery; it also includes auditory (sound), tactile (touch), thermal (heat and cold), olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste), and kinesthetic sensation (movement).
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FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE Allusion: A brief reference to a person, place, thing, event, or idea in history or literature. It imply reading and cultural experiences shared by the writer and reader, functioning as a kind of shorthand whereby the recalling of something outside the work supplies an emotional or intellectual context ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE Apostrophe: It is Addressing an abstraction or thing, present or absent, or addressing an absent person or entity. Examples: (1) Frailty, thy name is woman.–William Shakespeare. (2) Hail, Holy Light, offspring of heaven firstborn!–John Milton. (3) God in heaven, please help me.
Not all questions will be phrased in the same way, so look carefully at the key words to help you work out what you need to write about in your answer. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
WRITING ABOUT POETRY Key words and phrases Continued For example: Comment on the ideas and attitudes in the poem How do particular words and phrases bring out the poet's ideas? What is the effect of the poem on you and why? What was the poet's intention in writing this poem and how do you know? How does the poet use words to capture sensations such as sound, smell, sight and touch?
You may be asked to comment on specific features of the poem such as:
Imagery and symbolism Form and structure (including rhythm and rhyme) ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Subject Matter:What? Where? When? What's the story of the poem? Answering these questions is a good starting point to help you make sense of a poem, and it can usually be done fairly easily. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Language: There are certain features of language that you can look out for in poetry and write about. Try and find examples of them in the text and think about what effect they have.
Why did the poet use that particular feature? What was s/he trying to convey? The choice of adjectives (describing words). They might be simple or complex. Any images or symbols that convey particular ideas. The use of any techniques such as simile, metaphor or onomatopoeia. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Sound: Some people find writing about sound difficult because you need to read the poem aloud to hear what it sounds like. Here are some questions that you should try and answer when you are considering the sound of a poem:
Does the poet use rhyme or echoing sounds to bring certain words together and reinforce the meaning? Does the poet use repetition to emphasize certain words? Does the poet use a definite rhythm throughout the poem, or in part of the poem, which reinforces the meaning? ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Form: You should try and understand the form of the poem (the way it is constructed).
Look at the number and the length of the lines and stanzas - are they regular? Irregular? Do the lines have a similar length or do they look random? Are there any very short, direct, lines? ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Ideas and attitudes: When you've got to know the poem, you can begin to see what ideas and attitudes are in there.
What else is happening in the poem? What are the feelings of the poet and/or the speaker(s)? You have to make up your mind what the poet's intention in writing the poem was and what they wanted to say. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
Tone : Make the idea of tone simpler by thinking about it like this:
If you were reading the poem aloud, how would you do it? What kind of voice would you use? How would you want an audience to react when they heard it? Practice thinking about tone by reading a number of different poems. How does the poet want the audience to react to each one? ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
WRITING ABOUT POETRY Using quotations: You may need to be able to pick out quotations from the poem that illustrate the points that you make. The selection of a quotation is one way to know if you really understand the poem and if you are able to construct an argument and have thought about your ideas. Make sure you develop your point by commenting about the quotation you've selected - how it shows what you're saying. Remember this process: Point - Quotation - Comment Make a point, support it with a quotation and then explain how the language used helps to add to the line's effectiveness. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
How to read a poem What's it about? Get to know the subject matter of the poem. How does the poem work? Look at the language (words) the poet has used. Think about the sound the poem makes when you read it. Look at the form it's written in. Develop your ideas about the poem. What ideas does the poem give you? What attitude does the poet have to the subject matter? What tone does the poem have - how would you read it aloud? ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT
THE END By Rozi Khan The Department of English Govt. P.G. Jahanzeb College Saidu Sharif, Swat. ROZI KHAN GPGJC SWAT