- Slides: 16
Introduction to Poetry (Figurative Language and Poetic Devices)
Figurative and Literal Language • Literal: words used exactly as their word definitions mean • Figurative: words used in an imaginative way, with a meaning that is different from the basic, literal meaning. Intended to help create a picture in the reader’s mind and/or make creative comparisons (A reader must figure out what the words mean) Example: It rained cats and dogs. Literal Meaning There were cats and dogs falling from the sky. Figurative meaning It rained very hard.
Similes: X Is Like Y In a simile, two unlike things are compared using a word such as like, as, than, or resembles. Example: The dew on the leaves glistened like diamonds. Using the word like, dew is compared to diamonds.
Important! • Using “like” or “as” doesn’t make a simile. • A comparison between two (or more) things must be made. Not a Simile: I like pizza. Simile: The moon is like a pizza.
Metaphors: X Is Y A metaphor is a comparison of two unlike things in which one thing is or becomes the other. Metaphors do not contain a word such as like or as. Example: As the flood waters rose, the river became a monster consuming everything in its sight. Of course, the river didn’t really become a monster, but the metaphor creates a clear picture of the river’s power.
Personification Person ification In personification, human qualities are given to something that is not human. Example: Spring caresses the earth with her warm, delicate hands. Given human hands and the ability to caress, the season of spring is personified.
Imagery is one of a poet’s most powerful tools. Imagery is a description that appeals to one or more of our five senses: sight touch smell hearing taste
Imagery Through imagery, poets use sensory details that help you imagine how something looks, sounds, smells, feels, or tastes. What sensory details does the following excerpt contain? Out on the land White Moon shines. Shines and glimmers against gnarled shadows, All silver to slow twisted shadows Falling across the long road that runs from the house. from “Baby Face” by Carl Sandburg
Repetition is repeating a word or words for effect. Example: Nobody No, nobody Can make it out here alone. Alone, all alone Nobody, but nobody Can make it out here alone.
Alliteration is repeating the same consonant sound in several words. Example: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Listen to the alliteration in the following excerpt. A bird sang sweet and strong In the top of the highest tree. He said, “I pour out my heart in song For the summer that soon shall be. ” from “Spring Song” by George William Curtis
Mood • Mood is the feeling the words evokes in the reader; the emotional atmosphere of the story. • Sample words used to discuss mood: mysterious, frightening, peaceful, eerie, joyful, gloomy. • • Examples: What type mood do these examples evoke? • --A cozy cottage where the flower-filled garden is kissed by sunlight. --A wild forest at night; wolves howling in the distance. • --The night sky was a soft blanket of blue. • --The night sky was an icy lake—clear, flat, and cold.
Tone • Tone is the writer’s attitude towards the character or topic. • Sample words used to discuss tone: bitter, critical, sarcastic, admiring, nostalgic, humorous, serious, forgiving, and affectionate. Example: from Charles Dickens’ novel, David Copperfield. Example I observed that he had not such a thing as a smile about him, and that he could only widen his mouth and make two hard creases down his cheeks, one on each side to stand for one. • Do you hear the critical and bitter tone that the writer uses to describe this character?
Stanza • Stanzas are essentially the paragraphs of poetry • When describing a poem, we discuss the separate sections as stanzas instead of paragraphs. Dreams by Langston Hughes Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow. Stanza one Stanza two
Types of Poetry: Elegy An elegy is a poem that mourns the death or loss of a person, time period, or idea Example: The following poem is an elegy written after the death of Abraham Lincoln: “O CAPTAIN! My Captain! our fearful trip is done; The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: But O heart! Heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. ” - O Captain, my Captain! By Walt Whitman
Types of Poetry: Ode An ode is a lyrical poem that praises or addresses a particular subject Example: Ode to My Hairspray
Types of Poetry: Free verse is poetry that does not follow any specific rhyming pattern Example: Dreams by Langston Hughes Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.