Elements of Poetry: Structure and Forms Let’s start with some basics…
Elements of Poetry:
Structure and Forms
Let’s start with some basics…
Let’s start with some basics…
May be short or long.
Are NOT necessarily complete sentences or even complete thoughts!
The arrangement of lines, spacing, and whether or not the lines rhyme in some manner, can define the FORM of a poem.
A group of lines whose rhyme scheme is usually followed throughout the poem.
A division in poetry like a paragraph in prose.
Common stanza patterns include couplets, triplets, quatrains, etc.
Free-verse poems follow no rules regarding where to divide stanzas.
And now several forms
And now several forms
Two lines that rhyme.
A complete idea is usually expressed in a couplet, or in a long poem made up of many couplets.
Couplets may be humorous or serious.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
candy is sweet and yummy
It goes down smoothly in my tummy!
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Tell a story. It is a story told in verse, by a speaker or narrator.
There is a plot …
something happens; because of this, something else happens.
Can be true or fictional.
Poems vary in treatment of character and setting.
Forms of narrative poetry include:
A narrative, rhyming poem or song.
Characterized by short stanzas and simple words, usually telling a heroic and/or tragic story (although some are humorous).
Can be long.
Usually rich with imagery
(emotionally charged visual images).
Originated from folk songs that told exciting or dramatic stories.
a traditional American ballad in ten stanzas.
When John Henry was a tiny little baby
Sitting on his mama’s knee,
He picked up a hammer and a little piece of steel
Saying, “Hammer’s going to be the death of me, Lord, Lord,
Hammer’s going to be the death of me.”
John Henry was a man just six feet high.
Nearly two feet and a half across his chest.
He’d hammer with
a nine-pound hammer all day
And never get tired and want to rest. Lord, Lord,
And never get tired and want to rest.
The Unquiet Grave
. (an old ballad that would have been sung to an eerily catchy tune)
The wind doth blow today, my love,
And a few small drops of rain.
I never had but one true-love,
In cold grave she was lain.
I’ll do as much for my true-love
As any young man may.
I’ll sit and mourn all at her grave
For a twelvemonth and a day.
Very long narrative (story) poem that tells of the adventures of a hero.
Purpose is to help the reader understand the past and be inspired to choose good over evil.
Usually focuses on the heroism of one person who is a symbol of strength, virtue, and courage in the face of conflict.
Some are VERY long – for example,
by Homer, (written as 12 books) has over 6,213 lines in the first half alone!
Always expresses some emotion.
Poems are shorter than epic poems.
Tend to express the personal feelings of one speaker (often the poet).
Give you a feeling that they could be sung.
Lyric Poetry continued…
Originally Greek poets sang or recited poems accompanied by music played on a
(a stringed instrument like a small harp).
In the Renaissance,
poems were accompanied by a
(like a guitar).
Lyric Poetry: Sonnet
Most sonnets are in a fixed form of 14 lines of 10 syllables, usually written in iambic pentameter.
The theme of the poem is summed up in the last two lines.
Can be about any subject, but usually are about love and/or philosophy.
Lyric Poetry: Sonnet continued…
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;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
Lyric Poetry: Ode
A tribute to someone or something.
Often uses exalted language in praise or celebration.
Can be serious or humorous.
Lyric Poetry: Ode continued…
Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes
by Gary Soto
to express grief or mourning
for someone who has died
somber, serious, ending on a peaceful note
Elegy for Anne Frank
Elegy for Anne Frank
by Jessica Smith
You blossomed and grew
between the quiet gray walls
of your attic home.
A sidewalk-surrounded flower
pushed up through the cracks,
petals straining for
the light, but your
roots held you down.
In the dim light of your room
made family trees
the continuing lives
comforting you in ways
your mother could not.
While concentration camps
built bonfires with the
bones of your neighbors,
you dreamed of the sun and
the love you’d find when the doors
of your prison were unlocked.
When I took your short life from your diary,
I could feel your heartbeat
pulse with my own,
and every breath you took
went into my own lungs,
desire you felt
I felt, too.
Your life was held by four silent years,
surrounding you as the four walls did.
And before the last bomb fell,
destroying the last of your love and light,
And I am thankful.
A FUNNY 5-line poem, written with one couplet (two lines of poetry that rhyme) and one triplet (three lines of poetry that rhyme).
Always follows the same pattern.
The rhyme scheme (pattern) is – a a b b a.
The last line contains the “punchline” or “heart of the joke”.
Often contain hyperbole, onomatopoeia, idioms, and other figurative language.
You will soon hear the distinctive beat pattern of all limericks.
eg: “A fly and a flea in a flue
Were caught, so what could they do?
Said the fly, “Let us flee.”
“Let us fly,” said the flea.
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.”
Before we even said grace
He sat and filled up his face
He gorged on salami
Ate all the pastrami
Then exploded with nary a trace.
There was a large bear in a tree
Who was in pursuit of a bee
The bee was no dummy
He gave the bear money
So the bear let the honeybee free.
Is just that – free!
Lines of poetry written without rules; no regular beat or rhyme.
A Japanese form of poetry; one line of five syllables; one line of seven syllables; and a final line of five syllables.
Fragments (not usually complete sentences)
About everyday things; written in the present tense.
Much is left unsaid.
Little sparrow child
plays in the road. “Oh, watch out!
Watch out! Horse tramps by!”
Soft, summer twilight,
suddenly a sound;
in the old pond – Splash!
A Cinquain is a poem that resembles a diamond.
It has 5 lines and begins with one word.
The 2nd line has two adjectives that describe that word.
The 3rd , three verbs.
The 4th line is a phrase that goes deeper into the topic.
The 5th line gives either a synonym for the first word, or a word that encompasses the whole poem.
and a few other interesting poetry forms…
One of the oldest forms of poetry
Polynesians used list poems to form an inventory of all of their islands!
a.k.a Catalog Poem
Can be long or short, rhymed or unrhymed
List Poem continued…
Things a Pigeon Knows
What does a pigeon know? Who throws cracker crumbs the
Eaves and ledges, thickest,
Rafter edges, How thin cats are often
Steel beams, Tennis courts. Trees in parks.
Cars and busses, The highest steeple.
A bridge, with its delightful Swarms
trusses, of people.
Popcorn vendors, - Patricia Hubbell
Taxis and their yellow
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