Exploring Poetry
A look at poetry for middle school
By: Zack Blecher
Welcome Everyone!
Today we are going to look at the wonderful
subject of poetry. We are going to explore what
poetry actually is and is not, some conventions of
poetry and some forms of poetry. After carefully
reviewing all the information there will be a short
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Lesson One
Lesson Two
What is Poetry
Lesson Three
Lesson Four
What is Poetry?
Poetry according to the dictionary is the art of rhythmical
composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by
beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts. Yet, what does
this actually mean.
from www.dictionary.com
To begin it may actually be easier to start by
knowing what poetry is not. The opposite of
poetry is prose. Prose is considered the ordinary
form of spoken or written language, without
metrical structure. We will discuss meter in the
convention section. Poetry is not the same as a
novel. Although at the same time poetry can tell a
from www.dictionary.com
There are various styles of writing under the heading
of poetry. Two broad categories of poetry are free
verse and metered verse. To find examples of both of
these simply go to the example section from the main
“One does not only wish
to be understood when
one writes; one wishes
just as surely to not be
~Friedrich Nietzsche
Poetry has been around for ages. Dating back to the
days of ancient Greece. The stories The Iliad and The
Odyssey were both elongated poems by Homer. Also
from the East came the 1000 verse poems The
Ramayana and The Mahabharata (both of which would
be memorized by a single person!). Moving forward in
time we come to Shakespeare and his use of iambic
pentameter not to mention his many Sonnets. Now that
we understand what poetry is we now need to learn
some specific conventions of poetry. Please return to
the main menu and go to lesson 2.
It is impossible to cover every convention of poetry in
one PowerPoint presentation. That being said we will
concentrate on these conventions:
•Metaphor and Simile
Alliteration, simply put, is a repeated sound at the
beginning of a word. Alliteration is a pervasive poetic
convention and is employed by most poets in one form
or another.
“Painting is silent poetry,
and poetry is a speaking
~ Simonides
A lot of poetry is meant not to be read from a page but
spoken aloud. Poets are masters of language and know
how certain sounds will ‘feel’ when spoken.
Alliteration lends itself nicely to this:
Burgundy beauties
beguiled by bemused
Metaphor and Simile
Two closely related conventions that are widely
utilized by poets are metaphor and simile. These
two terms are very similar yet slightly different.
Both take two or more things and draw a
comparison between them. Yet a metaphor says
one thing is another while a simile says one thing is
like another. A small but important difference.
Metaphor and Simile
An example of both of these is as follows (the
metaphor and simile are the underlined parts):
Metaphor- The blanket kissing my cheek - which is the fullest ripe
apple - teases me into sleep.
Insects stick to my face like an unruly beard.
“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
~ Jules de Gautier
Personification is a poetic device used that gives an
object or animal human characteristics. Below is an
example of this poetic devise.
The lingering luscious smoke spoke to me.
Notice that there are actually two conventions here:
personification and alliteration.
Hyperbole is a fancy word for excessive exaggeration.
Poets sometimes use this to make the importance of
something more obvious to the reader.
Examples: Her hate was greater than all the armies of
the world.
“I could eat a horse”
“Poetry lies its way to truth.”
~ John Ciardi
Now that you have learned about a few conventions
you should return to the main menu and explore some
of the forms of poetry. Be sure to pay attention to the
the differences between the forms of poetry mentioned
“A poem is never finished, only
~ Paul Valery
Forms of Poetry
Like conventions there are many forms and styles of
poetry. In this PowerPoint presentation we will
concentrate on three different kinds of poetry:
•Free Verse
The haiku is a highly controlled ancient Japanese form
of poetry. The haiku uses a certain number of syllables.
Syllables are the segments of parts of words. The form
haiku has 17 syllables in total. The syllables are broken
up into 5 in the first line 7 in the second line and then 5
again in the last line.
A lot of the time Haikus include subjects involving nature but
this is not a requirement of haikus. Here is an example of a
Haiku (the syllables are marked with the red numbers, note one
word can have more than one syllable):
1| 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
I love the tree’s shade
1| 2
|3| 4 | 5|6 | 7
it keeps me cool all day long
1 | 2 | 3
resting there is nice.
A limerick is a poem that has a certain rhyme
scheme, meaning that it rhymes a certain way. The
rhyme scheme is as follows: lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyme
with each other and lines 3 and 4 rhyme with each
other. To visualize this you can use letters to show
which lines rhyme together. A limerick would look
like this: A
Here is an example of a limerick:
“There once was a man from Peru
who dreamed he was eating his shoe
he awoke in the night
with a terrible fright
and found out it was quite true”
Free Verse
Free verse poetry does not have a discernable rhyme
or rhythm pattern. Free verse poetry has become more
and more popular in recent years. An example of a
free verse poem can be seen on the next slide.
Free Verse
Thick woolen socks cocoons of the most industrious
silk worms - enveloped his feet:
guards (strong willed and brainless)
against the ever creeping cold.
Each foot covered in mold,
that climbed the trunk of healthy
wood. Would not,
could not be comforted by
the socks
Extra Forms
If you are interested in learning more about forms of
poetry click here. The website contains several
different forms that we did not go over in this
PowerPoint. They will not be covered on the quiz
but if you enjoyed learning about these three forms
there are many MANY more just waiting to be
Do you feel you are ready for
the quiz? When you wish to
begin the quiz click the
picture of the pencils to the
right. To pick an answer
click the lettered box next to
the next that you think is the
Question 1
How are the haiku’s 17 syllables broken up?
five, seven, five
three, five, nine
five, five , seven
That’s right! The haiku is divided into five
syllables in the first line, seven in the second
line, and then five again in the third line. Click
the arrow for the next question.
Please Try Again
Well that is the right number of syllables in a
Haiku but not the right numbers. Please try again
by pressing the arrow or return to the main menu
to re-read the section on forms of poetry.
Please Try Again
That was very close. Think about the order of the
lines. You can either go back to try again by
pressing the arrow or return to the main menu to
re-read some information.
Question 2
What does the poetic convention hyperbole mean?
The repeated sound at the beginning
of a word
Giving an object human
Excessive exaggeration to
emphasize a point
That’s right hyperbole is excessive exaggeration.
This is used to emphasize importance. Click the
arrow to advance to the final question.
Please Try Again
No that is not correct. The repeated sound at the
beginning of a word is alliteration not hyperbole.
Either return to the question by pressing the
arrow or return to the main menu to review.
Please Try Again
Sorry that is incorrect. Giving an object human
characteristics is personification not hyperbole.
Either return to the question by pressing the arrow
or return to the main menu to review.
Question 3
Poetry is ___________________?
rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for
exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or
elevated thoughts
ordinary form of spoken or written language,
without metrical structure
A story told by pictures in segmented sections
That’s correct! Poetry is indeed a rhythmical
composition, written or spoken, for exciting
pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated
thoughts. That’s the end of the quiz. Hopefully
you have a new love of poetry and want to learn
more. Please click the diploma at the bottom of
the page to set the PowerPoint up for the next
Please Try Again
Sorry that’s not correct. Ordinary spoken word with
no metrical verse is called prose not poetry. Please
either click the arrow button to return to the question
or the main menu button to review the slides.
Please Try Again
Sorry please try again. You may have been thinking
about comics. Either click the arrow to return to the
question to try again or the main menu button to
review some information.