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A Quick Guide to Poetry
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A Quick Guide to Poetry

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  • 1. A Quick Guide to Poetry Structure & Form
  • 2. Parts of Poems•Lines – groups of words arranged together in apoem (not necessarily sentences)•Stanzas – lines of poetry separated into groups•Form – the appearance of the poem on the page
  • 3. Types of StanzasCouplet = a two line stanzaTriplet (Tercet) = a three line stanzaQuatrain = a four line stanzaQuintet = a five line stanzaSestet (Sextet) = a six line stanzaSeptet = a seven line stanzaOctave = an eight line stanza
  • 4. How Many?The Holy Longingby Johann Wolfgang von GoetheTell a wise person, or else keep silent,because the mass man will mock it right away.I praise what is truly alive,what longs to be burned to death.In the calm water of the love-nights,where you were begotten, where you have begotten,a strange feeling comes over you,when you see the silent candle burning.Now you are no longer caught in the obsession with darkness,and a desire for higher love-making sweeps you upward.Distance does not make you falter.Now, arriving in magic, flying,and finally, insane for the light,you are the butterfly and you are gone.And so long as you havent experienced this: to die and so to grow,
  • 5. Types of Rhyme•End Rhyme: rhyme that occurs at the end of a line of poetry–“Listen my children and you shall hear–Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.”•Internal Rhyme: rhyme that occurs within a line of poetry“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.”
  • 6. Types of Rhyme•True rhyme: The immediately recognizable norm: true/blue, mountain/fountain.•Slant rhyme: Rhymes that are close but not exact: lap/shape, glorious/nefarious.•Eye rhyme: This refers to rhymes based on similarity of spelling rather thansound. Often these are highly conventional, and reflect historical changes inpronunciation: love/move/prove, why/envy.•Identical rhyme: A word rhymes with itself, as in Emily Dickinsons "Because ICould not Stop for Death": We paused before a house that seemed A Swelling of the Ground-- The Roof was scarcely visible-- The Cornice--in the Ground.
  • 7. Rhyme SchemePattern of end rhyme in a poem, marked by lettersFireflies glitter in random flicks,Darting about, seeming to stray.Lighting the night with starry wicks,Flying off at the light of day.Rhyme scheme:__________Roses are red,Violets are blue,Sugar is sweet,And so are you.Rhyme scheme: __________
  • 8. What My Lips Have Kissed, And Where And Why-- Edna St. Vincent MillayWhat lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,I have forgotten, and what arms have lainUnder my head till morning; but the rainIs full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sighUpon the glass and listen for reply;And in my heart there stirs a quiet painFor unremembered lads that not againWill turn to me at midnight with a cry.Thus in the winter stands a lonely tree,Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,Yet know its boughs more silent than before:I cannot say what loves have come and gone;I only know that summer sang in meA little while, that in me sings no more.
  • 9. Meter (Rhythm)• Syllables – the number of beats in a word – Car (one syllable) – Auto (two syllables) – Automobile (four syllables)• When there is more than one syllable being said, some are stressed and some are unstressed.• When poets write in meter, they count out the number of stressed (strong) syllables and unstressed (weak) syllables for each line.• Meter occurs when the stressed and unstressed syllables of the words in a poem are arranged in a repeating pattern.• A measurable, patterned unit (a set) of poetic rhythm is called a “foot.”
  • 10. Basic Foot Rhythms•Name: IambicPattern: unstressed, stressed (U/) U / U / U / U / U /But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?–Name: TrochaicPattern: stressed, unstressed (/ U) / U / U / U / UDouble, double toil and trouble–Name: AnapesticPattern: unstressed, unstressed, stressed (U U /) U U / UU / U U /And the sound of a voice that is still–Name: DactylicPattern: stressed, unstressed, unstressed (/ U U) / U U / UUTake her up tenderly
  • 11. Line Length •One foot: Monometer Five feet: Pentameter Six feet: Hexameter •Two feet: Dimeter Seven feet: Heptameter •Three feet: Trimeter Eight feet: Octameter U •FourUfeet: Tetrameter / / U / U / U /But soft, what light through yon der win dow breaks? 1 2 3 4 55 feet = PentameterTherefore, this line is Iambic Pentameter U U / UU / U U /And the sound of a voice that is still 1 2 33 feet = TrimeterTherefore, this line is Anapestic Trimeter

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