Introduction to Poetry

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Introduction to Poetry
Poetry is the most misunderstood form of writing. It is
also arguably the purest form of writing. Poetry is a
sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of
beauty and expressing this through words.
Poetry is not easily defined. Often it
takes the form of verse, but not all
poetry has this structure. Poetry is a
creative use of words which, like all
art, is intended to stir an emotion in
the audience. Poetry generally has
some structure that separates it from
Robert Frost's
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Eve Merriam’s metaphor
Morning is
a new sheet of paper
for you to write on.
Whatever you want to say,
all day,
until night
folds it up
and files it away.
The bright words and the dark words
are gone
until dawn
and a new day
to write on.
ALLAH, we thank Thee for the night
And for the pleasant morning light
For rest and food and loving care,
And all that makes the world so fair.
Help us to do the things we should,
To be to others kind and good.
In all we do, in all we say,
To grow more loving everyday.
Say, Allah is ONE,
Like HIM there is none.
No son or daughter has HE,
Nor born to any is HE.
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures so, so wonderful.
All things, big and small,
Allah alone made them all.
Elements of poetry
Some important elements of poetry are:
1. Figurative language
2. Imagery
3. Rhythm
4. Rhyme and alliteration
5. Forms of poetry
6. tone
Simile a comparison made
between two objects of different
kinds which have, however, at
least one point in common
(Wren & Martin, 1981:480).
The words indicating simile are:
like, as, so, appear, seem and
more than.
O my love, is like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June.
O my love is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
(Robert Burns)
Emily Dickinson’s There is no frigate like a book
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry:
Note: frigate=kapal perang gerak cepat, courses=kuda2 pelari
cepat, prancing=berjingkrak2
Metaphor is an implied simile. It does not, like the
simile, state one thing is like another or acts as
another, but takes that for granted and proceeds
as if two things were one (Wren & Martin
Robert Herrick’s a meditation for his mistress
(kekasih) .
You are a tulip seen today
But, dearest, of so short a stay(tak berumur panjang)
That were you grow scarce man can say
You are a lovely July-Flower,
Yet one rude wind or ruffling shower(hujan gerimis
yang mengganggu)
Will force you hence, and in an hour.
Personification is the attribution of personal
nature or character to inanimate objects or
abstract entities.
1. The old train crept along the narrow path
2. Flames ate the house
3. That leaves look pale, dreading (takut oleh)the
winter’s near (Shakespeare)
figure of speech in which some absent or
nonexistent person or thing is addressed in
a dialogue or conversation as if present and
capable of understanding.
John Donne’s Holy Sonnet
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for you art(are) not so.
Is a statement which is made emphatic by overstatement
1. why, man, if the River were dry, I am able to fill it with
2. For a falling in love couple the attack of tsunami is
just like a splash of water.
3. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten the smell
of bloods in this little hand.
An apparent contradiction that is nevertheless
somehow true (Perrine :1974:649)
1.and death shall be no more: death thou shall die
2. The world’s laziest workaholic.
3.Silent scream
Is a part is used to designate the whole.
1. He has many mouth to feed ”ia
memberi makan banyak mulut”
2. A hundred wings(birds) flashed by.
Something that means more than what it is (Perrine: 1974:628)
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
*harness=pakaian kuda
Basic elements of
Syllable (suku kata)
Foot (pola syllable)
Verse (verse)
Stanza (bait)
One syllable: I, go
Two syllables: sym-bol, slen-der
Three syllables: yes-ter-day, re-vol-ver
Elements of syllable recitation:
Loudness (keras-lembut suara)
Duration (panjang-pendek suara)
e.g: I will neeeeeeeever do it again.
It soooooo awesome!
It read it whoooooooooole night
Timbre (kualitas suara)
-----Good night,
b. Dimeter
U --U _____
Give me one word
----- U ------And no more;
U ---- U ----If so be, this
------ U ------Makes you poor,
c. Trimeter
--- U
----- U
---- U
When I was one and twen- ty
U ---U ----U ------I heard a wise man say,
-----U ----- U
Give crowns and pounds and gui neas
----- U
----U -----But not your heart
a- way
d. Tetrameter
---- U ---- U ------ U -----Some say the world will end
in fire
----U ---------Some say
----- U ---- ------ U ------ U ------From what I ’ve tes ted of de-sire
U --U ---U --- U
---I hold with those who fa vour fire
e. Pentameter
---- U ---- U
---- U ----That time of year thou mayst in me
U ----behold
--- U
---U ---- U ----- U -----When ye llow leaves , or none, or few, do hang
U --- U
---U --- U ---Upon those boughs which shake againts the cold,
--- U --U
---- U
--Bare ruin - ed choirs where late the sweet birds sang
The basic unit of poetry is the line. It serves the same
function as the sentence in prose, although most
poetry maintains the use of grammar within the
structure of the poem. Most poems have a structure
in which each line contains a set amount of syllables;
this is called meter. Lines are also often grouped into
The stanza in poetry is equivalent or
equal to the paragraph in prose. Often
the lines in a stanza will have a
specific rhyme scheme. Some of the
more common stanzas are:
Couplet: a two line stanza
Triplet: a three line stanza
Quatrain: a four line stanza
Cinquain: a five line stanza
Meter is the measured arrangement of words in poetry, the
rhythmic pattern of a stanza, determined by the kind and
number of lines. Meter is an organized way to arrange
stressed/accented syllables and unstressed/unaccented
Whose woods / these are / I think /I know
Rhyme is when the endings of the words sound the
same. Read the poem with me out loud.
Dust of Snow
by Robert Frost
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And save some part
Of a day I had rued.
Rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyming words at the
end of each line. Not all poetry has a rhyme
scheme. They are not hard to identify, but you must
look carefully at which words rhyme and which do not.
Dust of Snow
Poems of
more than
one stanza
often repeat
the same
scheme in
each stanza.
by Robert Frost
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And save some part
Of a day I had rued.
Repetition is the repeating of a sound, word,
or phrase for emphasis.
☺ Inside the house
(I get ready)
☺ Inside the car
(I go to school)
☺ Inside the school
(I wait for the bell to ring)
Whenever you describe something by comparing it with
something else, you are using figurative language.
Figurative language is any language that goes beyond
the literal meaning of words in order to furnish new
effects or fresh insights into an idea or a subject. The
most common figures of speech are simile, metaphor,
and alliteration. Figurative language is used in poetry
to compare two things that are usually not thought of
as being alike.
A simile is a figure of speech in which two
essentially unlike things are compared, often in
a phrase introduced by like or as.
The clouds looked like cotton candy.
Grandpa was as stubborn as a mule
Tom's head is as hard as a rock.
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which an implied
comparison is made between two unlike things that
actually have something important in common.
Clouds are
cotton candy.
They are fluffy.
Grandpa was a
They are stubborn.
Tom is a rock.
They are hard.
Alliteration is the repetition of the same sounds or of
the same kinds of sounds at the beginning of words
or in stressed syllables, as in "on scrolls of silver
snowy sentences" (Hart Crane). Modern alliteration is
predominantly consonantal. To find an alliteration, you
must look the repetitions of the same consonant
sound through out a line.
Silvery _
snowflakes fall _silently
Softly _
sheathing all with moonlight
Until _
sunrise _
slowly _
Snow _
softening _swiftly.
Now you try the one in your packet.
Imagery is an appeal to the senses. The poet
describes something to help you to see, hear, touch,
taste, or smell the topic of the poem.
The fog comes on little cat feet.
It sits looking over harbor and city
on silent haunches and then moves
Carl Sandburg
Now do the poem in your packet.
An exaggerated statement used to heighten effect is
a hyperbole. It is not used to mislead the reader, but
to emphasize a point.
I’ve told you a million times not to leave
the dirty glass on the table.
The exaggeration in the number
of times.
In your packets, write two more hyperbole. Have
your partner check them.
An idiom is a phrase where the words together
have a meaning that is different from the
dictionary definitions of the individual words.
This can make idioms hard for students to
A day late and a dollar short.
This idiom means
it is too little, too late.
Write two more examples of idioms to share
with the class.
The formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur
that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or
actions they refer to is called an alliteration. It is a word
or a grouping of words that imitates the sound it is
describing, such as animal noises like "oink" or "meow",
or suggesting its source object (these are the more
important ones), such as "boom", "click", "bunk", "clang",
"buzz", or "bang".
by Marie Josephine Smith
Ticking, tucking.
Head is rocking.
Tippy toeing.
Snap, crack.
Crushing branch.
Helter, shelter.
Run for shelter.
Pitter, patter.
Rain starts to fall.
Gathering momentum.
Becomes a roar.
Thunder booms.
A figure of speech, which gives the qualities
of a person to an animal, an object, or an
idea is called personification. It is a
comparison, which the author uses to show
something in an entirely new light, to
communicate a certain feeling or attitude
towards it and to control the way a reader
perceives it.
A brave handsome tree fell with a
creaking rending cry.
The author is giving a tree the human
quality of bravery and the ability ot
Free verse is just what it says it is - poetry that
is written without proper rules about form,
rhyme, rhythm, and meter. In free verse the
writer makes his/her own rules. The writer
decides how the poem should look, feel, and
Winter Poem
By Nikki Giovanni
once a snowflake fell
on my brow and i loved
it so much and i kissed
it and it was happy and called its cousins
and brothers and a web
of snow engulfed me then
i reached to love them all
and i squeezed them and they became
a spring rain and i stood perfectly
still and was a flower
The simplicity of the limerick quite possibly accounts for its
extreme longevity. It consists of five lines with the rhyme
scheme a a b b a. The first, second, and fifth lines are
trimeter, a verse with three measures, while the third and
fourth lines are dimeter, a verse with two measures. Often
the third and fourth lines are printed as a single line with
internal rhyme.
Old Man with a Beard
Edward Lear
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!'
A narrative poem, often of folk origin and intended to
be sung, consisting of simple stanzas and usually
having a refrain.
The Ballade Of The Mistletoe Bough
by Ellis Parker Butler
I am standing under the mistletoe,
And I smile, but no answering smile replies
For her haughty glance bids me plainly know
That not for me is the thing I prize;
Instead, from her coldly scornful eyes,
Indifference looks on my barefaced guile;
She knows, of course, what my act implies—
But look at those lips! Do they hint a smile?
I stand here, eager, and beam and glow,
And she only looks a refined surprise
As clear and crisp and as cold as snow,
And as—Stop! I will never criticize!
I know what her cold glance signifies;
But I’ll stand just here as I am awhile
Till a smile to my pleading look replies—
But look at those lips! Do they hint a smile?
Just look at those lips, now! I claim they show
A spirit unmeet under Christmas skies;
I claim that such lips on such maidens owe
A—something—the custom justifies;
I claim that the mistletoe rule applies
To her as well as the rank and file;
We should meet these things in a cheerful guise—
But look at those lips! Do they hint a smile?
Some might consider the study of poetry old
fashioned, yet even in our hurried lives we are
surrounded by it: children's rhymes, verses
from songs, trite commercial jingles, well
written texts. Any time we recognize words as
interesting for sound, meaning or construct, we
note poetics.