The Poetic Structure How to Craft Your Modern Epic The Odyssey English 10H What is a Stanza? • Definition: –Two or more lines of poetry that together form one of the divisions of a poem. The stanzas of a poem are usually of the same length and follow the same pattern of meter and rhyme. Lines • Poems are made up of linessometimes as few as one or two or as many as several hundred. • Lines do NOT equal sentences. Most often, they do not end in punctuation Lines Continued • While reading poetry out loud, you will notice that lines in many poems are more or less equal to a breath • There is a time and a place for different line lengths. They do not need to always be very short and choppy or conversely extremely long and shaped like a story. Long Lines- When to use them • If you have a LOT of material to include and you want a GRAND and SWEEPING effect, you may want long lines. These tend to flow very nicely but are not as dramatic. Example- Long Lines • Walt Whitman’s “Mannahatta” Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane, unruly, musical, self-sufficient; I see that the word of my city is that word up there, Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays, superb, with tall and wonderful spires, Rich, hemm’d thick all around with sailships and steamships—an island sixteen miles long, solid-founded The lines barely fit because they are so lengthy. He needs all of this space to describe all of the details- sights and sounds he experienced in New York. Shorter Lines- When to Use Them • Using shorter lines draws more close attention to individual things, ideas, words, and phrases. Everything stands out clearly and there is less clutter. • There is more “breathing room” and pausing throughout the poem Short Lines- Example • Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Song of Nature” Mine are the night and the morning, The pits of air, the gulf of space, The sportive sun, the gibbous moon, The innumerable days. Short, restrained, clear and vivid images Non-Example • The same poem with long lines: Mine are the night and the morning, The pits of air, the gulf of space, The sportive sun, the gibbous moon, The innumerable days. Break your lines carefully! • A line break is exactly what it sounds like: It is where you end the line of poetry. • The big question: Where should you break a line of poetry: - Read the line out loud and end it where the breath ends naturally (not the sentence) Remember, epics were meant to be performed OUT LOUD. Consider this as you write. Line Breaks Continued • There is no DEFINITIE rule about breaking lines but it is important to think about the tone and mood of your poem- This will influence how you break you lines. Enjambment: • Occurs when there is no punctuation at the end of the line. It has nothing to do with when the sentence actually ends. If there is no punctuation you read lines with flow: William Blake: Abstinence sows sand all over The ruddy limbs & flaming hair But desire gratified Plants fruits of life and beauty there End-Stopped Lines. • Unlike enjambment, end-stopped lines have punctuation at the end of a line. You pause when you read this. Here is an example of both enjambment and end stopped lines: • The surroundings of home, centers neighborhoods which I see for years. Do not pause at the end of the first line. Why does it matter? • The way you break up your poem has a strong impact on the flow, rhythm, pace and integrity of your poem. Dialogue • In order to demonstrate new speakers, you may choose to start a new stanza each time a new speaker begins his speech. You do not need quotation marks to denote these shifts in speaker. Meter and Rhyme • Remember, this is not a traditional sonnet or tightly “metered” poetic form. Use rhyme sparingly to emphasize elements or add to the rhythm of the narrative. You have some freedom in your use of syllables.