An Introduction to Poetry: Elements & Techniques

An Introduction to Poetry:
Elements & Techniques
CHS English I
Mr. Davis
• Alliteration: Using the same consonant to start two or more stressed
words or syllables in a phrase or verse line, or using a series of
vowels to begin such words or syllables in sequence. Alliteration
need not re-use all initial consonants: words like “train” and “terrific”
are alliterate.
• Assonance: The rhyming of a word with another in one or more of
their accented vowels, but not in their consonants; sometimes called
vowel rhyme.
• Consonance: Sometimes just a resemblance in sound between two
words, or an initial or head rhyme like alliteration, but also refined
to mean shared consonants, whether in sequence (“bud” and “bad”)
or reversed (“bud” and “dab”).
• Onomatopoeia: A word that imitates a noise or action. Example:
• Simile: A comparison made with “as,” “like,” or
• Metaphor: Compares two different things without
using a word of comparison, such as “like” or “as.”
• Hyperbole: Exaggeration beyond reason – sometimes
meant to be funny.
• Personification: A figure of speech where the poet
describes an abstraction, thing, or a non-human form as
if it were a person.
• Imagery: A set of mental pictures or images; the use of vivid or
figurative language to represent objects, actions, or ideas; the use of
expressive or evocative images in art, literature, or music; a group or
body of related images, as in a painting or poem.
• Strong Verbs: Using powerful verbs to portray vividly an event in a
story or poem.
• Symbol: A word or object that has its own meaning and represents
another word, object or idea.
• Mood: The feeling a poem creates for its reader.
• Tone: the attitude a poet takes towards his/her subject.
• Style: the way a poet uses words, forms, or imagery to create an
effect on the reader.
Stanza- A unit of lines grouped together. Similar to a paragraph in prose.
Couplet- A stanza consisting of TWO lines that rhyme.
Quatrain- A stanza consisting of four lines.
Refrain- The repetition of one or more phrases or lines at certain intervals, usually at
the end of each stanza. Similar to the “chorus” in a song.
Repetition- A word or phrase repeated within a line or stanza.
Example: “gazed and gazed”
Rhythm: the pattern created by the stressed and unstressed syllables of words in a
sequence. A controlled pattern of rhythm is called “meter.”
Rhyme: the repetition of identical or similar sounds in stressed syllables.
Rhyme Scheme: The pattern in which “end rhyme” occurs.
• Narrative: the poet tells a story in verse form. Narrative
poems include “epics” and “ballads.” Epic poems are
long poems about gods and heroes (The Odyssey).
Ballads are songlike poems about adventure and
• Dramatic: the poet tells a story using a characters own
thoughts or statements.
• Lyric: a brief poem in which the poet expresses the
feelings of a single speaker, creating a single effect on the
reader. These poems are known for their musical
qualities, achieved through the use of rhyme and rhythm.
• Sonnet: a fourteen-line lyric poem with
formal patterns of rhyme, rhythm, and line
structure (Shakespearean and Italian).
• Free verse: no specific patterns of rhyme,
rhythm, or structure.
• Haiku: a poem containing three unrhymed
lines of five, seven, and five syllables. A
Japanese form that uses imagery to convey
a single emotion.
This marks the first entry in your “Poetry Packet.”
Just like with TKAM, you will take notes, answer questions,
complete writing assignments, etc., and it is YOUR
responsibility to keep up with your work.
When we complete enough assignments, I will give you a
“checklist” and you will submit your work.
Your “Introduction to Poetry” worksheet is included in this
Copy down the following vocabulary terms. Use EACH one in a
sentence (correctly).
1. Defer (v): put off until a future time.
2. Pensive (adj): deeply or seriously thoughtful
3. Discerning (adj): having good judgment or
4. Preliminaries (n): steps or events before a
main event
1. Langston Hughes: “Dream Deferred”
& “Dreams”
2. William Wordsworth: “I Wandered
Lonely as a Cloud”
3. Gabriela Mistral:
4. Jean de Sponde: “Sonnets on Love
Answer each of the following questions regarding the first selection of poems. Be sure to
answer in COMPLETE sentences (restate the question in your answer!).
Which of these poems affected you the most, and WHY?
Answer in 2-3 COMPLETE sentences.
In Hughes’s “Dream Deferred,” and/or “Dreams” identify one
SIMILE and one METAPHOR. To what is the poet comparing
these things? (3 sentences).
What are the “natural sights” (or things you would see in
nature) that are described in Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely
as a Cloud” and Mistral’s “Meciendo/Rocking”? Answer in 2
In de Sponde’s “Sonnets on Love XIII,” to what does the speaker
compare his love? What do you think this says about the
speaker’s feelings? Answer in 2-3 sentences.
Provide AT LEAST three examples of PERSONIFICATION from
the selection of poems. Answer in 3 complete sentences.
 Read Poetry Collection 2 (pages 577-581):
1. Richard Brautigan: “All watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”
2. Emily Dickinson: “Hope is a thing with feathers” & “Much Madness
is divinist Sense”
3. Stanley Kunitz: “The War Against the Trees”
 Answer questions 1-7 (all parts) on p. 582.
 Complete the “Writing” activity on p. 583. You may
write a POEM or a PROSE response. Be sure to include
ALL 5 SENSES in your response.
Copy the “Vocabulary Builder” terms on p. 590.
Read Poetry Collection 3 (pages 592-595):
1. Walter Dean Myers: “Summer”
2. Alfred, Lord Tennyson: “The Eagle”
3. May Swenson: “Analysis of Baseball”
Answer questions 1-7 (all parts) on p. 596.
 Read Poetry Collection 4 (pages 599-607):
1. Edgar Allan Poe: “The Bells”
2. Yusef Komunyakaa: “Slam, Dunk, & Hook”
3. Lewis Carroll: “Jabberwocky”
 Answer questions 1-7 (all parts) on p. 608.
 Complete the “Writing” activity on p. 609.
Respond in AT LEAST one 5-sentence paragraph (Intro, 3
supporting facts, conclusion)
• You are in charge of your group in my absence. Please make
sure that your members remain on task and aware of their
• I have assigned a collection of poems to be read and analyzed
in class each day. Please lead the group reading and discussion.
How you choose to read the poems is up to your group, but
ALL members must submit their own responses to the poems.
• On Wednesday, January 23, you will receive a CHECKLIST for
your Poetry Journal. Please make sure each member receives a
copy and is aware that these are due on FRIDAY, JANUARY
• FRIDAY will be dedicated to READING WORKSHOP. Please
make sure your group is aware of their expectations.
Thanks much,
Mr. Davis
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