The Speaker and The Poet
• Poets will often assumes a role or imitate
the speech of a person in a particular
• This “role” is referred to as the speaker,
voice, mask, or persona.
• The voice speaking a poem may sound like
it is the poet’s own, and it may be difficult
to separate the two, but there is usually a
3. Diction and Tone
• Diction refers to the words and
grammatical constructions that the poet
uses in the creation of their persona.
• These choices may occur on a
• These choices give the reader insight into
the persona of the poet.
4. Diction and Tone
• Speakers have attitudes toward
themselves, their subjects, and their
• They choose their words, pitch, and
modulation based on these attitudes.
• These choices add up to the tone of the
• To find the tone, it is a good idea to read
the poem aloud.
– The reader must try to catch “the speaking tone of voice
somehow entangled in the words and fastened to the
page for the ear of the imagination.” (Frost)
5. Figurative Language
• Words have their literal meanings, but
they can also be used so that something
other than the literal meaning is implied.
• Common types of figurative language:
– Simile: items from different classes are
compared by a connective such as
“like,” “as,” “appears,” or “seems.”
6. Figurative Langaage
– Metaphor: Assert the identity, without a
connective, of terms that are literally
– Personification: The attribution of
human feelings or characteristics or
abstractions to inanimate objects.
– Apostrophe: Addressing a person or
thing that is not literally listening.
7. Usage of Figurative Language
• Figurative language forces the reader to
confront the connotations rather than the
denotations of written language.
– Connotations: suggestions, associations
– Denotations: dictionary definitions
• It is said to be different than ordinary
language, but many of these expressions,
due to repetition have become literal.
8. Usage of Figurative Language
• Good figurative language is usually
concrete, condensed, and interesting.
• It is not limited to literary writers. It is
used by most anyone who is concerned
with effective expression.
9. • Imagery refers to any element of setting
or character that takes on a figurative
• Much of literary imagery is based on the
patterned use of diction, such as word
– The types of figurative language
discussed previously are examples of
Imagery and Symbolism
10. Imagery and Symbolism
• Symbols: Images that are so loaded with
significance that it is not simply literal, and
it does not simply stand for something
else; it is both itself and the something
else that it suggests.
“The Infinite is made to blend with the
Finite, to stand visible, and as it were,
attainable there.” – Thomas Carlyle
11. Imagery and Symbolism
• Conventional Symbols: people have
agreed to accept them as standing for
something other than their literal
– Cross = Christianity
– Rose = Love, Romance
12. Verbal Irony and Paradox
• Verbal Irony: The speaker’s words mean
more or less the opposite of what they
– Overstatement (hyperbole)
• Paradox: the assertion of an apparent
13. Poetic Structure
• Rhythm: Stresses at regular intervals
– Poets vary their rhythm according to
their purpose. These choices often
contribute to the meaning of the poem.
“Rhythm must have meaning. It cannot be
merely a careless dash off, with no grip and on
real hold on the words and sense, a tumty tum
tumty tum tum ta.” – Ezra Pound
14. • Meter: the pattern of stressed sounds
– Foot: basic unit of measurement
– End-stopped line concludes with a
– Run-on line has its sense carried over
into the next line with a pause
– Meter produces rhythm – a poem with
end-stopped lines will have a different
meter than one with run-on lines.
15. • Rhyme: the repetition of identical or
similar stressed sounds or sounds
– While rhythm is a basic element of
poetry, rhyme is not.
– Rhyme suggests order and may be
related to meaning. It brings two words
together, implying a relationship that
the reader may not have been aware of.
• Blank Verse and Free Verse
– Blank verse: unrhymed iambic
– Free verse: rhythmical lines, varying in
length, adhering to no fixed metrical
pattern, and usually unrhymed. The
pattern is often based on repetition and
parallel grammatical structure.