Poetry Portfolio

Poetry Portfolio
Grade 9
Core Values:
Engagement of Students as Active Learners
Directions and Outline for Poetry Portfolio .................................. 3
Poetry Portfolio Topics from Past Students .......................... 7
Portfolio Journal .................................................................... 9
What Your Table of Contents Should Include: ................... 10
“Thoughts on Poetry” .......................................................... 12
POETRY QUOTATIONS ................................................... 13
Sample Published Poem Page ............................................. 20
SAMPLE BIOGRAPHY ..................................................... 21
Poetic Devices ........................................................................ 22
Using TPCASTT for Analysis of Poetry ............................. 24
ROBERT FROST................................................................ 25
Sample Original Poems ....................................................... 30
Poetry Fusion Project .......................................................... 33
Poetry Portfolio Rubric ....................................................... 34
Directions and Outline for Poetry Portfolio*
1. Theme - Your portfolio must have a single, constant theme (subject to
approval) throughout the project.
2. Journal - Take reflective notes as you go about the various processes,
including obstacles and accomplishments. These will be used for
informational purposes for your final reflective essay. (These notes will not be
handed in, but you should write at least 3-4 sentences per work time – include
progress made, how you feel about it, and future plans)
3. Source Folder - A separate folder (2 pockets with fasteners) labeled
“Sources” must be turned in with all of your printed/copied resources from
your portfolio inside it. You MUST print or copy all of your poem and
biography sources you intend to use. Print these directly (not pasted into MS
word). Fill out a bibliography “half sheet” and staple it to your source. Put your
name on everything. These WILL be turned in with your project in your
“source folder.” Include printed/copied poems on one side (with half sheets
attached) and biographical information printed (with half sheets attached) on
the other. Please hole punch and clip the graphics half sheets in the middle. If
you do not turn in your source folder or turn it in with sources missing, up to
20 points will be deducted from your final grade.
4. Cover Page - You need a cover page (with a relevant museum art work or
original art work by you) with your portfolio name (related to your theme), your
name, date, and block.
5. Table of Contents - Your first page must be a "table of contents", detailing
the organization your portfolio and establish a clearly defined order of
presentation. Use the assessment checklist as a guide. You must list each
title of each poem and the poet’s name (for published poems) and list each
individual element of your portfolio. Be sure that the titles are in quotes.
(numbering your individual portfolio pages is optional) See Model
6. Preface - A preface (an introduction to your portfolio which briefly
discusses the theme and your personal reasons for that theme) must be
included at the beginning of the portfolio. This should be PAGE 1 (following
your table of contents).
7. Thoughts on Poetry - A one page essay titled “Thoughts on Poetry”
should follow your preface, explaining your personal definition of poetry and
your personal feelings about poetry. This document should be developed over
the time that you are completing your portfolio, and should include at least two
quotations about poetry that you agree with and integrate into your writing.
This should be no longer than one page.
8. Published Poems - FOUR poems (directly related to your theme) by
published authors must be included with one relevant museum-source graphic
per poem. A minimum of four different poets must be represented in your
portfolio. Include poet names. All sources of poetry must be listed on your
“Poem Source Page.” Poems should appear with the same formatting (left
justified, centered, same line breaks, etc.) as they were in the source in which
they were found. You can only have one poem per page, and be printed in
color (please-no full-page background printing). The pieces of artwork from
museum web sites must have proper citations under them. See sample poem
9. Theme Explanation Boxes- You must include a brief explanation (1-3
sentences) per published poem about how the poem fits your theme. You
must include these in text boxes on your poem pages. Be specific!
10. Art Citations - For your ten museum source art works
(http://www2.rccsd.org/RKeim/GRAPHICS_RESOURCES.htm) included, you must have
proper source citations both under the picture (only list artist, title, date, and
museum underneath the graphic) and the source should be cited on a
“Graphic Sources” page. (Note: if you create original artwork/photography for
your original poems, you do not need to have museum artwork for these.)
11. Graphics explanations - For all works of art and graphics throughout
your portfolio, you must include a brief explanation (1-3 sentences) per art
work about how the art work fits that particular poem. You must include this in
a text box on your poem page. Be specific!
12. Song Lyrics - You may choose one set of song lyrics for your portfolio,
but song lyrics are NOT required.
13. Biographies - Four poets represented in your portfolio MUST
have biographical information in your “about the poets” section. The section
entitled "About the Poets" should include detailed information about each poet
and a picture. These should be a minimum of two to three paragraphs. You
are required to cite at least two sources per biography, including at least one
quotation from your source. In-text citations and bibliography (Biography
Works Cited Page) are required. No citations = no credit for your work, no
matter how good it may be. (Note: Wikipedia.com, About.com and
Answers.com are not considered valid sources). See this sample
14. Poetic Elements Section: you must select and define/describe FIVE
sound elements and FIVE figurative elements to be included in a short
"Elements" section of your portfolio. For each element described/defined, you
must include a 3-5 line original (written by you) poem or part of poem which
demonstrates that element clearly.
15. Criticism/Analysis - You must choose one of the poems by a published
poet and write a critical interpretation of the poem (what does the poem mean
on different levels, and what literary devices are used and how do they affect
the poem). "FILMS" Notes sheets will help.
16. Original Poetry - FIVE original (poems written completely by you) form
poems must also be included. These poems must demonstrate an
understanding of poetic elements. These must be related to your theme and
must have museum source art as well (or original artwork created by you). In
a text box, give a detailed description of the form (i.e. sonnet, tyburn, tanka,
etc.) of the poem you used. You should still include the graphic explanation as
you did on the poems by published authors. See these websites for examples
of different forms of poetry http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/types.html and
17. Bibliographies - THREE Bibliographies: A “Poem Source Page” must be
included listing where each poem was found. A separate “Biography Works
Cited” page listing sources for information cited in the "About the Poets" page
must also included. A third page for artwork cited titled "Graphic Sources"
should follow the other two. All bibliographies must adhere to MLA format.
See library handouts or Owl Purdue.
18. POETRY FUSION PROJECT – For this section of your portfolio, you will
provide evidence of an art/poetry fusion project. Create art work using lines of
poetry from your portfolio (either by published authors or by you). The art and
the poem should complement each other, making something completely new
out of the poem. This section of your portfolio needs to include a detailed
explanation about planning and what you have done, as well as evidence of
your project (such as photographs, drawings, etc.). You may use any medium
you choose, but poetry from your portfolio MUST be part of the fusion piece.
Examples include original photography, painting, drawing, sculpture.
19. Creative Reflection: This reflective essay will discuss the process of the
portfolio and your poetry writing, specifically the creative process,
incorporating Theodore Roethke's quote, "Sometimes an apparent constraint
can serve to free the imagination." You need to use specific details about your
poetry writing in this essay.
20. All work must be neatly presented in finished form with attention to ensure
"published" quality.
21. Assessment Checklist - Finally, you must fill out the self-assessment
checklist and include it in the back of your portfolio. Failure to do so will result
in a 5 point penalty!
22. Good Idea: have your teacher look over your project prior to handing it in
to ensure you have all the elements you need.
Although we will work on the portfolio in class, the majority of work will
be done on your own time. Please bring any material that will be
beneficial to your task.
Organize your portfolio based on the self-assessment checklist
Re-read these directions, ask questions if you need clarification.
Print out any and all items you are considering for use: poetry, biographies, and
graphics. Organize them.
The academic writing (criticism, biographies, and essay) should be double spaced,
12 point, Times New Roman
Avoid pale fonts - If I can't read it, I can't grade it.
Avoid “shadow” fonts that make the words appear blurry and low quality graphics
that have copyright stamps or are over-pixilated
Please do not print full-page sized graphics
*Material was adapted from Robert Keim’s website http://www2.rccsd.org/RKeim/
Poetry portfolio topics from past students
Note: this isn’t a list to “select” a topic from, but it merely shows the scope of what is
possible. If you have a topic not on this list, feel free to pursue it! You should find
something that you are interested in or that you find interesting…it will make the whole
process go more easily!
Talk with your teacher after you’ve found a few poems about possible theme
selection based on one or all of the poems you’ve found. To broaden your
horizons, check out:
Poetry portfolio topics from past students
This isn’t a list to “select” a topic from, but it merely shows the scope of what is possible. A
topic should be specific, and what the poem is ABOUT.
You should find something that you are interested in or that you find interesting…it will
make the whole process go more easily!
If you have a topic not on this list, feel free to pursue it! Check with your teacher if you are
Family Poems
Art +
Forest animals
Night time
Ocean poems
Patriotic poems
Civil war
Growing up
Historical figures
Poems about poetry +
Dreams (ambitions)
Native Americans + Or
any specific culture (by and
Dreams (sleeping)
Science +
Seasons (all or one
Small town life
The body
World War 2
Slavery poems
Topics with a * indicate ones that are probably too broad to provide a concise topic. These are broad
generalizations from which you should select a subcategory to focus on as your theme.
Topics marked with a + are ones that are more unique and which provide from a more enriching
Portfolio Journal
At least twice a week, you should write in your journal after you work on your portfolio.
Remember to put the date on the journal entry
Include the following information:
1. What it is that you accomplished for the day…
2. How you feel things went for the day…
3. How you feel about how things are going overall…
4. Is there anything you’d do differently today if you could?
5. What you think the next steps should be…
What Your Table of Contents Should Include:
“Thoughts on Poetry”
Published Poem 1: “Title” and author
Published Poem 2: “Title” and author
Published Poem 3: “Title” and author
Published Poem 4: “Title” and author
Biography 1 – Poet Name
Biography 2 – Poet Name
Biography 3 – Poet Name
Biography 4 – Poet Name
Criticism/Analysis – Poem “title”
Original Poetry
1. Poetic form and “title”
2. Poetic form and “title”
3. Poetic form and “title”
4. Poetic form and “title”
5. Poetic form and “title”
Sound Elements
Figurative Elements
Poetry Fusion Project Evidence and Summary
Creative Reflection
Works Cited
“Thoughts on Poetry”
Your task is to present your own thoughts and perspectives, using a
combination of your own ideas and quotations by people who have
done a great deal of thinking and writing about poetry, writing
poetry, and the philosophy behind the uniquely human experience
that is poetry.
One approach (probably the best):
Step one: evaluate the quotations (next page)
Step two: formulate your own opinion and do some pre-writing
Step three: carefully select two or three quotations that fit what you feel
poetry is all about
Step four: write your response. Use paragraphing and integrate the
quotations into your own writing. Re-write all or part of the quote (if you
only want to use part of it—some are lengthy), and be sure to list the
author. Be sure to give an interpretation of the quote and make sure it fits
smoothly into what you are writing.
“A Poet’s Advice to Students”
A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feeling through words.
This may sound easy. It isn't
A lot of people think or believe or know they feel---but that's thinking or believing or knowing;
not feeling. And poetry is feeling---not knowing or believing or thinking.
Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be
taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you're a lot of
other people: but the moment you feel, you're nobody-but-yourself.
To be nobody-but-yourself---in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you
everybody else---means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never
stop fighting.
As for expressing nobody-but-yourself in words, that means working just a little harder than
anybody who isn't a poet can possibly imagine. Why? Because nothing is quite as easy as using
words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time---and whenever we
do it, we're not poets.
If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you've
written one line of one poem, you'll be very lucky indeed.
And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like
learning to blow up the world---unless you're not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and
fight till you die.
Does this sound dismal? It isn't.
It's the most wonderful life on earth.
Or so I feel.
- e e cummings
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. ~Leonard
Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary. ~Kahlil Gibran
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating
poetry. ~Mark Strand, "Eating Poetry," Reasons for Moving, 1968
There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either. ~Robert Graves, 1962
interview on BBC-TV, based on a very similar statement he overheard around 1955
Poetry is what gets lost in translation. ~Robert Frost
Imaginary gardens with real toads in them. ~Marianne Moore's definition of poetry, "Poetry,"
Collected Poems, 1951
A poem is never finished, only abandoned. ~Paul Valéry
He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never
written a line in all his life. ~George Sand, 1851
Always be a poet, even in prose. ~Charles Baudelaire, "My Heart Laid Bare," Intimate Journals,
Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition. ~Eli Khamarov,
The Shadow Zone
Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search
for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom
script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away. ~Carl Sandburg, Poetry Considered
Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted. ~Percy Shelley, A Defence of
Poetry, 1821
Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. ~Plato, Ion
Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make
poetry. ~W.B. Yeats
The distinction between historian and poet is not in the one writing prose and the other verse...
the one describes the thing that has been, and the other a kind of thing that might be. Hence
poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are
of the nature rather of universals, whereas those of history are singulars. ~Aristotle, On Poetics
Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes. ~Carl Sandburg
Poetry should... should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear
almost a remembrance. ~John Keats
A poet can survive everything but a misprint. ~Oscar Wilde
To see the Summer Sky Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie - True Poems flee. ~Emily
The poet is in the end probably more afraid of the dogmatist who wants to extract the message
from the poem and throw the poem away than he is of the sentimentalist who says, "Oh, just let
me enjoy the poem." ~Robert Penn Warren, "The Themes of Robert Frost," Hopwood Lecture,
A poem begins with a lump in the throat. ~Robert Frost
Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. ~Percy Byshe Shelley
A prose writer gets tired of writing prose, and wants to be a poet. So he begins every line with a
capital letter, and keeps on writing prose. ~Samuel McChord Crothers, "Every Man's Natural
Desire to Be Somebody Else" The Dame School of Experience, 1920 Poetry is man's rebellion
against being what he is. ~James Branch Cabell
A poet is an unhappy being whose heart is torn by secret sufferings, but whose lips are so
strangely formed that when the sighs and the cries escape them, they sound like beautiful
music... and then people crowd about the poet and say to him: "Sing for us soon again;" that is as
much as to say, "May new sufferings torment your soul." ~Soren Kierkegaard
"Therefore" is a word the poet must not know. ~André Gide
The poem is the point at which our strength gave out. ~Richard Rosen
It is the job of poetry to clean up our word-clogged reality by creating silences around things.
~Stephen Mallarme
The true poet is all the time a visionary and whether with friends or not, as much alone as a man
on his death bed. ~W.B. Yeats
If the author had said "Let's us put on appropriate galoshes," there could, of course, have been no
poem. ~Author Unknown
Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason. ~Novalis
There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing. ~John Cage
Only the poet has any right to be sorry for the poor, if he has anything to spare when he has
thought of the dull, commonplace rich. ~William Bolitho
Who can tell the dancer from the dance? ~William Butler Yeats
Poetry is the language in which man explores his own amazement. ~Christopher Fry
If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the inquisition might have let him alone.
~Thomas Hardy
The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau
Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as
geometry. ~Gustave Flaubert
Wanted: a needle swift enough to sew this poem into a blanket. ~Charles Simic
The only problem with Haiku is that you just get started and then ~Author Unknown
To have great poets there must be great audiences too. ~Walt Whitman
Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out.... Perfect
understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure. ~A.E. Housman
Perhaps no person can be a poet, or can even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of
mind. ~Thomas Babington Macaulay
Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the
reader recognizes as his own. ~Salvatore Quasimodo
You can't write poetry on the computer. ~Quentin Tarantino
Each man carries within him the soul of a poet who died young. ~Sainte-Beuve, Portraits
littéraires, 1862
Poets are mysterious, but a poet when all is said is not much more mysterious than a banker.
~Allen Tate
You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you. ~Joseph Joubert
God is the perfect poet. ~Robert Browning
Science is for those who learn; poetry, for those who know. ~Joseph Roux, Meditations of a
Parish Priest
Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance. ~Carl Sandburg
The worst fate of a poet is to be admired without being understood. ~Jean Cocteau, Le Rappel á
l'ordre, 1926
Poetry is life distilled. ~Gwendolyn Brooks
Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn. ~Thomas Gray
He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realise.
~Oscar Wilde
Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. ~Robert Frost
You don't have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone. ~John Ciardi,
Simmons Review, Fall 1962
Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life. ~William Hazlitt
A poet's autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote. ~Yevgeny Yentushenko,
The Sole Survivor, 1982
A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to
nothing but itself. ~E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy, 1951
Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. ~T.S. Eliot, Dante, 1920
Poetry is the art of substantiating shadows. ~Edmund Burke
Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.
~Robert Frost
Poetry, like the moon, does not advertise anything. ~William Blissett
Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting. ~Robert Frost
If you've got a poem within you today, I can guarantee you a tomorrow. ~Terri Guillemets
A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman. ~Wallace Stevens, Opus
Posthumous, 1957
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are
members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law,
business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty,
romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. Dead Poet's Society
Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of
personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and
emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things. ~T.S. Eliot, Tradition and
Individual Talent, 1919
Each memorable verse of a true poet has two or three times the written content. ~Alfred de
Musset, Le Poète déchu, 1839
Poetry is ordinary language raised to the nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and
blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words. ~Paul Engle, New
York Times, 17 February 1957
I don't create poetry, I create myself, for me my poems are a way to me. ~Edith Södergran
I would as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down. ~Robert Frost, 1935
Poetry is not a civilizer, rather the reverse, for great poetry appeals to the most primitive
instincts. ~Robinson Jeffers
He who writes prose builds his temple to Fame in rubble; he who writes verses builds it in
granite. ~Edward Bulwer-Lytton
The word "Verse" is used here as the term most convenient for expressing, and without pedantry,
all that is involved in the consideration of rhythm, rhyme, meter, and versification... the subject
is exceedingly simple; one tenth of it, possibly may be called ethical; nine tenths, however,
appertains to the mathematics. ~Edgar Allan Poe
The poem... is a little myth of man's capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the
poem is not a thing we see - it is, rather, a light by which we may see - and what we see is life.
~Robert Penn Warren, Saturday Review, 22 March 1958
A poem should not mean But be. ~Archibald MacLeish, Ars Poetica, 1926
It is a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about
his art than he can by practicing it. ~W.H. Auden
Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry. ~Muriel Rukeyser
I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from
the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests. ~Pablo Neruda, quoted in Wall Street
Journal,, 14 November 1985
You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it tick.... You're back with the mystery of having
been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps... so that something
that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in. ~Dylan Thomas, Poetic Manifesto,
Poets aren't very useful Because they aren't consumeful or very produceful. ~Ogden Nash
What is a Professor of Poetry? How can poetry be professed? ~W.H. Auden
Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to
untie. ~Jean Cocteau
Mathematics and Poetry are... the utterance of the same power of imagination, only that in the
one case it is addressed to the head, in the other, to the heart. ~Thomas Hill
The crown of literature is poetry. It is its end and aim. It is the sublimest activity of the human
mind. It is the achievement of beauty and delicacy. The writer of prose can only step aside when
the poet passes. ~W. Somerset Maugham
A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses. ~Jean
Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess
in the fairy tale 'til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
A poet must leave traces of his passage, not proof. ~Rene Char
[A poem] begins in delight and ends in wisdom. ~Robert Frost, "The Figure a Poem Makes,"
Collected Poems of Robert Frost, 1939
Poetry comes with anger, hunger and dismay; it does not often visit groups of citizens sitting
down to be literary together, and would appal them if it did. ~Christopher Morley, John
The poet, as everyone knows, must strike his individual note sometime between the ages of
fifteen and twenty-five. He may hold it a long time, or a short time, but it is then that he must
strike it or never. School and college have been conducted with the almost express purpose of
keeping him busy with something else till the danger of his ever creating anything is past.
~Robert Frost
[P]oets are masters of us ordinary men, in knowledge of the mind, because they drink at streams
which we have not yet made accessible to science. ~Sigmund Freud
Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words. ~Edgar Allan Poe
To be a poet is a condition, not a profession. ~Robert Frost
Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits. ~Carl Sandburg
Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth. ~Samuel Johnson
I've written some poetry I don't understand myself. ~Carl Sandburg
The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth. ~Jean Cocteau
Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose-petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting
for the echo. ~Don Marquis
No poems can please for long or live that are written by water-drinkers. ~Horace (Quintus
Horatius Flaccus), Satires
The poetry of the earth is never dead. ~John Keats
A poet dares be just so clear and no clearer.... He unzips the veil from beauty, but does not
remove it. A poet utterly clear is a trifle glaring. ~E.B. White
The poet... may be used as a barometer, but let us not forget that he is also part of the weather.
~Lionel Trilling, The Liberal Imagination, 1950
Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful. ~Rita Dove
Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. ~G.K. Chesterton
A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape
the world, and stop it going to sleep. ~Salman Rushdie
Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them. ~Dennis Gabor
Many of the above quotations were originally found
at: http://www.quotegarden.com/poetry.html
Poetry Definitions: Carl Sandburg
Tentative (First Model) Definitions of Poetry
Poetry is a projection across silence of cadences arranged to break that silence with
definite intentions of echoes, syllables, wave lengths.
Poetry is an art practiced with the terribly plastic material of human language.
Poetry is the report of a nuance between two moments, when people say, ‘Listen!’
and ‘Did you see it?’ ‘Did you hear it? What was it?’
Poetry is a tracing of the trajectories of a finite sound to the infinite points of its
Poetry is a sequence of dots and dashes, spelling depths, crypts, crosslights, and
moon wisps.
Poetry is a puppet-show, where riders of skyrockets and divers of sea fathoms
gossip about the sixth sense and the fourth dimension.
Poetry is a plan for a slit in the face of a bronze fountain goat and the path of fresh
drinking water.
Poetry is a slipknot tightened around a time-beat of one thought, two thoughts, and
a last interweaving thought there is not yet a number for.
Poetry is an echo asking a shadow dancer to be a partner.
Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly the air.
Poetry is a series of explanations of life, fading off into horizons too swift for
Poetry is a fossil rock-print of a fin and a wing, with an illegible oath between.
Poetry is an exhibit of one pendulum connecting with other and unseen pendulums
inside and outside the one seen.
Poetry is a sky dark with a wild-duck migration.
Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the
Poetry is any page from a sketchbook of outlines of a doorknob with thumb-prints of
dust, blood, dreams.
Poetry is a type-font design for an alphabet of fun, hate, love, death.
Poetry is the cipher key to the five mystic wishes packed in a hollow silver bullet fed
to a flying fish.
Poetry is a theorem of a yellow-silk handkerchief knotted with riddles, sealed in a
balloon tied to the tail of a kite flying in a white wind against a blue sky in spring.
Poetry is a dance music measuring buck-and-wing follies along with the gravest and
stateliest dead-marches.
Poetry is a silver of the moon lost in the belly of a golden frog.
Poetry is a mock of a cry at finding a million dollars and a mock of a laugh at losing
Poetry is the silence and speech between a wet struggling root of a flower and a
sunlit blossom of that flower.
Poetry is the harnessing of the paradox of earth cradling life and then entombing it.
Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess
about what is seen during a moment.
Poetry is a fresh morning spider-web telling a story of moonlit hours of weaving and
waiting during a night.
Poetry is statement of a series of equations, with numbers and symbols changing like
the changes of mirrors, pools, skies, the only never-changing sign being the sign
of infinity.
Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes.
Poetry is a section of river-fog and moving boat-lights, delivered between bridges
and whistles, so one says, ‘Oh!’ and another, ‘How?’
Poetry is a kinetic arrangement of static syllables.
Poetry is the arithmetic of the easiest way and the primrose path, matched up with
foam-flanked horses, bloody knuckles, and bones, on the hard ways to the stars.
Poetry is a shuffling of boxes of illusions buckled with a strap of facts.
Poetry is an enumeration of birds, bees, babies, butterflies, bugs, bambinos,
babayagas, and bipeds, beating their way up bewildering bastions.
Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.
Poetry is the establishment of a metaphorical link between white butterfly-wings and
the scraps of torn-up love-letters.
Poetry is the achievement of the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.
Poetry is a mystic, sensuous mathematics of fire, smoke-stacks, waffles, pansies,
people, and purple sunsets.
Poetry is the capture of a picture, a song, or a flair, in a deliberate prism of words.
Sandburg, Carl. Selected Poems. Ed. by George Hendrick and Willene Hendrick.
Harcourt Brace and Company. New York . 1996
Sample Published Poem Page
A Nation's Strength
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
What makes a nation's pillars high
And it's foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?
It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.
Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.
And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.
Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor's sake
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly...
They build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.
Jean Baptiste Edouard Detaille, Cavalry Charge, 1902.
Museum of Modern Art, Boston
This work of art fits my poem because it depicts a
cavalry charge, which is a patriotic image. The image
also shows a man with a sword, which is an image in the
This poem fits my theme of patriotism because it is about the role of
soldiers and brave men serving their country. It is patriotic to suggest that
a country is strong because its people are strong, and that the men who
defend the country and sacrifice themselves for their country “for truth
and honor’s sake” build the “pillars deep” and sturdy and lift the country
“to the sky”.
Dorothy Porothy
Dorothy Porothy, born Dorothy Frommoz, was born on April 4, 1928 (“Dorothy
Porothy”). Porothy spent her difficult youth traveling back and forth between her mother’s and
grandmother’s homes, particularly during tornado season. At age eight, she was severely beaten
by her mother’s boyfriend, who was later killed by her uncles. This horrific event caused Porothy
to go mute for nearly six years (“Biography”). “It was terrible. Little Dorothy saw that her words
had the power to kill” (“Dorothy Porothy”).
At age 16, Porothy gave birth to a son, Toto, after which she toured Europe and Africa in
the musical Bullets on Parade. On her return to New York City in the 1960’s, she joined the
Harlem Writer’s Guild and became involved in black activism (“Life”). She spent several years
in Ghana as the editor of African Review, where she began to take her writing more seriously
Porothy now serves as professor of American Studies at The University at WinstonSalem, North Carolina. She continues to appear on television and in films, such as McGruber,
and also the television adaptation of Babes in Candyland. She continues to publish volumes of
poetry as well (“Dorothy Porothy”).
Poetic Devices
BOLD items are sound elements
Italicized are structural
Alliteration - Initial consonant sound repeating in proximity
Allusion - Indirect reference to a well known person, place, thing, or character
Ambiguity – more than 1 meaning
Analogy - Relationship comparison
Assonance - Repetition of vowel sounds
Audience - Those for whom a work is intended: different audiences = different approaches
Author’s Purpose - Inform, entertain, persuade, express—may not be same as reader’s understanding
Blank Verse - Unrhymed iambic pentameter (5 feet/ di-dah)
Cliché - An overused saying
Cacophony – short, sharp sounds in sequence
Connotation - Meaning of a word beyond exact definition—shades of meaning or idiom
Consonance - Repetition of consonant sound not first letter of word
Contrast - Difference between items
Denotation - Exact meaning of a word
Dialect - Dialogue or monologue with an accent
Echoing - Repetition of words or phrases
Euphony – Poetic sound element, opposite of cacophony – pleasing sound due to soft consonants in a line
Extended metaphor - A metaphor that continues through/overall a work with numerous references to it
Figurative language - Meaning beyond the literal-appeals to senses-metaphor, etc.
Free verse - No set rhyme or structure
Hyperbole - Exaggeration
Imagery - Appeals to the senses
Impressionism - To captures sense impressions in writing or art
Irony - Unexpected idea
Light verse - Humorous, or simple idea expressed in poetry
Line – Second smallest unit of a poem after “words”. A line is words of a poem that occupy one straight line of text
Litote - a form of understatement. Antithesis of hyperbole
Metaphor - Milk-white snow- a direct comparison
Meter - regular rhythm in a poem, measured in “feet”; ex. Iambic Pentameter (Shakespeare)
Mood - Emotional atmosphere
Moral - A stated lesson
Narrator - Voice that relates the events, sometimes removed from action
Onomatopoeia – “Bang!” attempt to duplicate a sound with a word or expression
Oxymoron - Two related, seemingly opposite words
Parable - A simple lesson story where every aspect corresponds to part of a bigger issue
Parallelism - Repeated grammatical form for related ideas
Personification - Human traits to non-human objects/animals
Point of View - Narrative perspective-who tells: 1st ="I"; 2nd = "you", 3rd =he, she, they
Realism - Accurate account, unsentimental
Refrain - A repeated portion of a poem, usually at the end of a stanza
Repetition - Repeating sounds or words
Rhyme - Similarity or match of sound- two majors types: end & internal
Rhyme scheme - Analysis of end rhyme using ABABCDCD, etc.
End Rhyme - Rhyme at the end of a line
Internal Rhyme - Rhyme within a line
Rhythm - The metric structure of a line of poetry-beats and feet
Setting - Time, place, mood
Simile - Comparison using like/as
Speaker - Voice that talks to the reader
Stanza - Group of lines in a poem
Structure - Arrangement of parts-verses, stanzas, lines, meter, order, etc.
Surrealism - The imagination described as in dreams
Symbol - It represents something else
Syntax - Word order
Theme - Meaning behind story
Tone - Attitude of the writer conveyed through writing
Voice - Unique human personality conveyed by writing-comes from diction, syntax, figurative language
Using TPCASTT for Analysis of Poetry
What do the words of the title suggest to you? What denotations are presented in the
title? What connotations or associations do the words posses?
Translate the poem in your own words. What is the poem about?
What meaning does the poem have beyond the literal meaning? Fill in the chart below.
Point of View
Figurative Language
Other Devices
(antithesis, apostrophe, sound
devices, irony, oxymoron,
paradox, pun, sarcasm,
What is the speaker’s attitude? How does the speaker feel about himself, about others,
nd about the subject? What is the author’s attitude? How does the author feel about
the speaker, about other characters, about the subject, and the reader?
Where do the shifts in tone, setting, voice, etc. occur? Look for time and place,
keywords, punctuation, stanza divisions, changes in length or rhyme, and sentence
structure. What is the purpose of each shift? How do they contribute to effect and
Reanalyze the title on an interpretive level. What part does the title play in the overall
interpretation of the poem?
List the subjects and the abstract ideas in the poem. Then determine the overall theme.
The theme must be written in a complete sentence.
Quick reference:
>Alliteration - Initial consonant sound repeating in proximity (Lettuce Leaf) >Allusion - Reference to a known person,
place, thing, or character (Thor’s hammer) > Anaphora - Repetition of words or phrases >Assonance - Repetition of vowel
sounds (Juicy moose) >Cacophony – short, sudden sounds (my pop cap tapped…) >Consonance - Repetition of consonant
sound not first letter (Daddy’s Fiddle) > Imagery - Appeals to the senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell) >Metaphor - a
direct comparison that adds meaning (your brother is a little devil) Onomatopoeia - duplicates a sound with a word or
expression (SLAM!) >Personification - Human traits to non-human objects/animals (the toaster waited hungrily) Refrain - A
repeated portion of a poem, usually at the ends of stanzas >Rhyme - Similarity or match of end sound (ghost, most) >Rhyme
scheme - Analysis of end rhyme using ABABCDCD, etc. >Simile - Comparison using like/as (She had a face like a stony wall)
>Stanza – groupings of lines
This is an example of one approach to the criticism portion of your portfolio. Your criticisms
must include: 1. Basic meaning
2. Questions and answers about possible deeper meanings
3. Literary elements (with brief definitions for clarity) throughout the poem and
how they impact the poem.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost
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 was some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
of easy wind and downy flake.
These 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.
A Snowy Sleigh Ride with Mr. Frost by Robert Keim
Each time I read this I experience that silent moment on the sleigh - In the woods with
Mr. Frost. In fact, last night it was snowing lightly and I paused for a second- and outside of
tinnitus, there was absolute silence. I thought of this poem, particularly the first stanza. The
consonance (repetition of an internal consonant sound) demonstrated by the frequent “s” sounds
allows me to hear the flakes as they brush against my cheeks, and assonance (repetition of a
vowel sound) of the long “o” in “know,” “though,” and “snow” seem soft and inquisitive.
Its rhyme scheme (a, a, b, a, b, b, c, b, etc.) is relatively simple yet unique and its tetrameter
(four feet per line) rhythm feels natural, flowing like a light hearted folk song. Frost shows his
mastery of craft by having deep meanings implied within this light sounding format. Each line is
packed with several possible interpretations, some of which are as follows:
Whose woods these are I think I know
He thinks he knows? Why not tell the reader whose he thinks it is? Well, if the guy’s
name were Mr. Smith or Johnson, it could severely injure the rhythm of the poem. Deeper than
that, though, the very act of naming the woods could steal the natural feel of them, as well as
some of the mystery in the poem. While this message is being conveyed, the narrator also
“thinks” he knows whose woods these are.
His hesitancy to name the wood’s owner also sneaks in the feeling of fear, that perhaps
the person whose property it is may be a rather mean, ornery fellow who might shoot you for
looking at his place. Or maybe it means the opposite—perhaps God’s woods? That idea might be
supported by the next line-, which could be referring to a church:
His house is in the village, though;
The use of the word “though” is interesting beyond the simple rhythm and rhyme. It
implies that whomever it is that owns these woods is nowhere nearby, which conveys that there
is little risk of being caught- or that the owner is simply is not there to enjoy snow wafting about
his property. This adds to the tone of solitude in the poem. The next two lines support these
He will not see me stopping here
to watch his woods fill up with snow.
These lines seem to (on the surface) quash the idea that he may have been referring to
God owning the woods - unless he feels that God is not with him, which could support the sense
of deep fear. Perhaps he senses an evil presence (or temptation) in the woods. Another
interpretation may be that as he travels along this road of life, he will reach God at the end of it,
which happens to be where the village is on this microcosmic sleigh-ride. This may also imply
that the overall theme of the poem is addressing death, and the contemplation of it.
The lines (on the surface) more simply imply that the narrator feels that he is getting
away with something, and it is as simple as that. The repeating “w” in “will”, “watch”, and
“woods” gives me a sense of whispering, implying secrecy.
My little horse must think it queer
The narrator being pulled by a “little” horse adds to his humble (perhaps vulnerable?)
nature, rather than riding a stallion or a specific breed of horse. The idea of him thinking of what
his horse must think acknowledges that he believes his horse to be a sovereign being with free
thoughts, exemplifying his deep respect for nature by placing himself on a similar cognitive level
with the horse.
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
This gives us a sense of place, that not only are there some woods here, but there seem to
be woods, a pond and possibly farmland stretched out around the narrator, with an emphasis on
the absence of people. This adds to the nature-focus as well as the fear aspect (being absolutely
alone) once again.
The fact that he is between woods and a lake may symbolize choices that he has in life.
On one side, the boring, cold flatness of a frozen lake lacks variety and intrigue. The woods, on
the other hand, are “lovely dark and deep” as he states later in the poem.
The darkest evening of the year.
This tells me “mid-winter” as well as the fact that the possibility of becoming lost is very
real. “Dark” is a powerful, ominous word. I also have to wonder how far he can see with no
lights around on such a dark evening.
The long “e” rhymes in “queer”, “near”, “year” seem to tend me to keep on rhyming “fear”
although it’s not in the poem itself. In this line assonant “e” sound (long and short) heightens this
eerie feeling.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there was some mistake.
This further personifies the horse, suggesting that perhaps the little horse himself may be
afraid, impatient, or confused. This line also implies that he feels that the horse knows him the
same way that he knows it.
The frequency of consonant “s” sounds here sets us up with nice whispery thoughts for
the next two lines in the stanza:
The only other sound’s the sweep
of easy wind and downy flake.
This brings the narrator (and the reader) back to the quietude and reality of the setting of
the poem. With even the underlying sense of fear and desolation, the narrator still appreciates the
pure, beautiful, snowy landscape before him. It also gives a sense of a dream-like state “easy
wind and downy flake”- ahhh... like pillows on a cozy bed—or beautiful snow that is prettier
than it is cold. This romanticizes the winter and fails to acknowledge the dangers of being alone
way from warmth. These lines further enhance the concept that these woods are tempting him to
wander from his path in life between lat frozen lake and the dark woods. This is further mirrored
in the next line:
These woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
This line declares the dichotomy (two-sidedness) of theme within this poem- the woods
are lovely while being dangerous and unknown. There is a sense of pacification in staring off
into the dark, snowy woods. The narrator may be being enchanted by the darkness in the woods.
He is mesmerized, being seduced into possibly wandering off into the woods in his dream-like
But I have promises to keep
He breaks free of the spellbinding effects of the woods and chooses to join mankind once
again, and continue forward on the road. By recalling his worldly obligations, he regains his
focus and decides to leave the scene. In the next two lines the feeling is conveyed that he doesn’t
necessarily enjoy having to fulfill his humanly obligations (it sound as though he’s dragging his
feet, Like a kid who has to stop a football game with his friends because it is supper time).
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
The repetition and the distant sounding destination lead the reader to think that he is
moving on only because he has to survive, sounding tired and old. Perhaps “sleep” is referring to
the “Big Sleep”—death, which is better found at the end of the road than in the dark and deep
woods to his side.
If interpreted that way, this may stretch the tone to be one of hope. Rather than get stuck
in these woods and die, he’d rather be a part of humanity and have longevity. By escaping the
frightening endless woods, he has overcome the evil or temptation within them.
Riding on a sleigh in the middle of nowhere in a dark snowstorm is not the pleasant, serene
image that I had when I first started this paper, but the words themselves have opened up that
idea to me. Something else struck me after reviewing it several times. Robert Frost never
mentions the cold.
Surely he had to be chilly out in the snow, but perhaps that is the point. Coldness is
associated with death, and the absence of it suggests inner warmth and life. The poem had to be a
triumph poem in order for him to be able to maintain his warmth while surrounded by miles of
dark, frozen countryside.
Overall, the poem seems to address the concept of temptation. Temptation to leave the
path of normal life and face whatever the darkness holds in store for us. Frost had us pause with
him on that dark and snowy night to show us that we need to recognize what is off to the sides of
the paths of our lives, but that the world ahead is worth heading towards.
Sample Original Poems
1. Diamante:
A diamond-shaped poem of contrast, where the two ends of the poem are opposites
and the transition from one end to the other is smooth. No two apposite/conflicting
words are next to each other.
Start by coming up with words for lines 1 and 7 first.
Line 1 - noun or subject
Line 2 - two adjectives about line 1
Line 3 - three -ing words (verbs) about line 1
Line 4 - four words, two about line 1, two about line 7
Line 5 - three -ing words (verbs) about line 7
Line 6 - antonym (opposite) of line 1
Class examples:
Block 2:
Lawn Mower
Loud, Green
Cutting, rumbling, smoking,
clipping grass, leaves, weeds
growing, spreading, swaying
yellow, fluffy
Block 3:
Proper, Obedient
Waiting, cleaning, driving
Diligent, working, driven, ambitious
demanding, commanding, owning,
wise, wealthy
2. Etheree
A poem of 10 lines with increasing Syllables, starting with one syllable on line one,
and ten on line 10. This is similar to a NONET, but Etherees have 10 lines (Nonets
have 9). The can be in ascending (1-10) or descending (10-1) order.
Block 2:
softens around
my nachos with ease.
Jalapeño peppers
incinerate my taste buds,
burning my throat as I swallow-melting my eyes, making them water
and drip like the cheese that soothes my belly.
Block 3:
and white
flightless bird
swims gracefully,
zooming after fish.
Motherly instinct drives
her deep into icy dark-gorging herself. the newfound girth
makes her hastily belly slide to her young chick,
hungry and patient on the frozen plain.
OOietry Fusion Porject
NAME_____________________________________________Date handed in__________
* Student Score is how many points you think you deserve for each.
Poetry Portfolio Rubric
Title (Fill in)
Possible Points
Cover Page
Table of Contents
“Thoughts on
Student Score*
Published Poem 1
Published Poem 2
Published Poem 3
Published Poem 4
Biography 1
Biography 2
Biography 3
Biography 4
Form 1
Form 2
Form 3
Form 4
Form 5
Sound Elements
Poetry Fusion
Works Cited
Teacher Score
Teacher Comments
Overall Quality
Total Score
Source Folder Deduction
(If missing or incomplete)
Total Score :
Comment Key
Deductions (late):
1S – One source
-10 -20 -30 -40 -50
Final Score:
CI – Citations Incorrect
EX – Explanation
FM – Formatting
GR – Grammar
INC - Incomplete
NA – No Author
NC – No Citations (zero grade)
NI – Not included (zero)
PIC – Graphic
T – Typos
Top – off topic