Writing About Poetry

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Writing about poetry

(Creator: Delzi Laranjeira)

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Writing About Poetry

  1. 1. WRITING ABOUT POETRY The language of poetry is even more compressed than the language of the short story. You need to give yourself willingly to the understanding of poetry. The pleasure of reading it derives from the beauty of the language –the delight of the sounds and the images– as well as the power of emotion and the depth of the insights conveyed. Poetry may seem difficulty, but it can be intensely rewarding (McMahan 471)
  2. 2. How to read poetry <ul><li>Read the poem aloud to feel the rhythm and sounds </li></ul><ul><li>Get the literal meaning first: paraphrase </li></ul><ul><li>And Why unblooms the best hope ever sown? (T. Hardy) </li></ul><ul><li>And why does the best hope ever sown not bloom? </li></ul><ul><li>Once you understand the literal meaning you can begin to expand the meaning into an interpretation: ask questions </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the speaker? Who is being addressed? What is the message? What do the images contribute? What do the symbols suggest? How does it all fit together? </li></ul>
  3. 3. What we write about when we write about poetry <ul><li>Persona and tone: who is speaking and what’ s the speaker’s attitude towards the subject? </li></ul><ul><li>Poetic language: connotation and denotation, figures of speech </li></ul><ul><li>Poetic form: rhythm, rhyme, sounds, syntax, stanzaic patterns </li></ul>
  4. 4. Explicating x Analyzing <ul><li>Explication: goes carefully through the text, interpreting it, usually, line by line. The explication concerns mainly with revealing hidden meanings in the poem. </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis: involves explication but differs by focusing on some element of the poem and examining how the element contributes to an understanding of the meaning or purpose of the whole. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Composed Upon Westminster Bridge (1802 ) <ul><li>Earth has not anything to show more fair: </li></ul><ul><li>Dull would he be of soul who could pass by </li></ul><ul><li>A sight so touching in its majesty: </li></ul><ul><li>This City now doth, like a garment, wear </li></ul><ul><li>The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, </li></ul><ul><li>Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie </li></ul><ul><li>Open unto the fields, and to the sky; </li></ul><ul><li>All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. </li></ul><ul><li>Never did sun more beautifully steep </li></ul><ul><li>In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; </li></ul><ul><li>Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! </li></ul><ul><li>The river glideth at his own sweet will: </li></ul><ul><li>Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; </li></ul><ul><li>And all that mighty heart is lying still! </li></ul>

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