Exploring Poetry

Dream Deferred
by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
What is Poetry?
 Type of rhythmic, compressed language that uses
figures of speech and imagery to appeal to the
readers’s emotions and imagination
Elements of Poetry
 Poetry is literature in verse form, a controlled
arrangement of lines and stanzas
 Poems use concise, musical, and emotionally charged
language to express multiple layers of meaning
 Poets use figurative language to help readers recognize
relationships and similarities among different things
Figurative Language
 Language that is used imaginatively , rather than literally to express
ideas or feelings in new ways
Figures of speech
similes- comparisons between unlike things using the words, like, as
or than
Ex. She runs like the wind
metaphors- comparisons that speaks of one thing in terms of another
Ex. It is the east, and Juliet is the sun
Personification- human traits given to nonhuman things
Ex. The ocean snarled and pounded against the shore
Imagery- descriptive language that makes vivid impressions
Images developed through sensory language that relate to sight,
sound, taste, touch, smell and movement
Poetic Sound Devices
 Poets use sound devices to achieve a musical quality
 Rhythm- the pattern created by stressed and unstressed syllables of words in
 Meter- a pattern of rhythm
 Rhyme- the repetition of identical sounds in the last syllables of words
 Rhyme scheme- a pattern of rhyme at the ends of the lines
Most common type is end rhyme
Internal rhyme occurs within lines- ex. The warm sun is failing, the bleak
wind is wailing
 Alliteration- the repetition of the initial consonant sounds of nearby words
Ex. light and lemon
 Assonance- the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words
Ex. date and fade
 Consonance- the repetition of consonants within nearby words in which the
preceding vowels differ
Ex. milk and walk
 Onomatopeia- use of a word whose sound imitates or suggests its
meaning; it reinforces meaning and create musical sound
Ex. Buzz, Splash, Bark
Graphic Elements
 Poets use graphic elements to help readers understand the poem and
strengthen the sound or visual appeal of the poem
Stanza- group of consecutive lines that form a single unit in a poem;
Similar to a paragraph and often expresses a unit of thought
Punctuation- marks such as commas to show the reader where to slow
down or pause
Line length- help determine whether a poem has a flowing sound or a
short, choppy sound
Word position- show relationships between words and ideas
Foot- a single rhythmical unit of verse
Blank poetry- poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter
Iambic pentameter- each line consists of five iambs
Iamb- type of metrical foot that consists of an unstressed syllable
followed by a stressed syllable
Types of Poetry
 Blank verse- poem written in unrhymed iambic pentameter line; verse form
widely used by William Shakespeare
 Free verse- poetry not written in a regular pattern of meter or rhyme
ex. Cornelius Eady’s “The Poetic Intepretation of the Twist”
 Narrative- tells a story with a plot, characters, and setting
Ex. The Bridegroom
 Epic- long narrative poem about the feats of gods or heroes such as Beowulf
 Ballad- a songlike narrative with stanzas and a refrain
 Dramatic- tells a story using a character’s own thoughts or spoken statements
Ex. The Bridegroom
 Lyric- poems written in highly musical language that expresses the thoughts,
observation and feelings of a single speaker
 Lyrics are the most common type of poem in modern literature
 Sonnet- a fourteen-line lyric poem with formal patterns of rhyme, rhythm, and
line structure; Shakespearean sonnet consists of three quatrains (four- line
stanzas) and a couplet (two lines at the end); usually rhyming abab cdcd efef
Poetry Vocabulary
 Allusion- reference to a well-known person, place, event literary work or work of art
 Apostrophe-breaking off from normal speech and speaking to an imaginary person or
even to an abstract quality or idea; typically a question, an explanation or an expression
of frustration
 Denotation- word in its dictionary meaning, independent of other associations that the
word may have
ex. Lake- an inland body of water
 Connotation- word is the set of ideas associated with it in addition to its explicit
ex. Vacation spot or place where the fishing is good
• Diction- author’s choice of words, especially with regard to vocabulary (formal or slang)
• Metonymy- figure of speech where a name of one thing is replaced with the name of
something that is closely associated with it
ex. He write with a fine hand
 Mood- the feeling created in the reader by a literary work or passage; suggested by
descriptive details and can be described in a single word
ex. Frightening feeling
Poetry Vocabulary
 Oxymoron- combination of words that contradict each other;
device used to reveal the deeper truth
ex. Bittersweet; wise fool
Paradox- statement that seems contradictory but that actually
may express a deeper truth; it catches the readers attention
Speaker- an imaginary voice assumed by the writer of a poem;
speaker is not identified by name and the speaker can be a
person, animal, thing or an abstraction
Tone- the writer’s attitude toward his/her audience and subject;
described by a single adjective
ex. Bitter tone
Theme- central message or insight into life revealed through a
literary work
Famous World Poets
William Shakespeare
Langston Hughes
Emily Dickinson
William Blake
E.E. Cummings
Lord Byron
Maya Angelou
Edmund Spenser
Shel Silverstein
Gwendolyn Brooks
Walt Whitman