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Study Guide Chapter 1: What is Poetry? • Poetry has been regarded as something central to existence, something that we are better off having. • Poetry might be defined as a kind of language that says more and says it more intensely than does ordinary language. • Three uses of language: 1. Practical: communicate information, helps with the ordinary business of living. Concerned with experience. 2. Literary: can be used as a gear for stepping up the intensity and increasing the range of our experience and as a glass for clarifying it. 3. Argumentative: an instrument of persuasion. • Its function is to tell us about experience, but to allow us imaginatively to participate in it: 1. by broadening our experience. 2. by deepening our experience. • Avoid looking for a lesson or a bit of moral instruction, or expect to find it beautiful. • Poetry is the most condensed and concentrated form of literature. It is language whose individual lines, either because of their own brilliance or because they focus so powerfully on what has gone before, they have a higher voltage than most language. • When a person reads a poem and no experience is received: either the poem is not a good poem, or the reader is not properly tuned. • Poetry must appeal to the whole person: 1. Intellectual Dimension 2. Sensuous Dimension 3. Emotional Dimension 4. Imaginative Dimension Chapter 2: Reading The Poem • Develop your understanding and appreciation of poetry: 1. Read the poem more than once 2. Keep a dictionary by you and use it. 3. Read so as to hear the sounds of the words in your mind. Poetry is written to be heard: its meanings are conveyed though sound as well as through print. 4. Always pay careful attention to what the poem is saying. 5. Practice reading poems aloud. - read it affectionately - read slowly enough so that each word is clear and distinct - read the poem so that the rhythmical pattern is felt
Understanding poetry includes the need to paraphrase; restate the poem in plain prose to understand the theme, main idea. • Ask four questions about each poem: 1. Who is the speaker? 2. What is the occasion? 3. What is the central purpose of the poem? - tell a story - reveal human character - impart a vivid impression of a scene - express a mood or emotion - convey attitude or idea 4. By what means is that purpose achieved? • Poetry is not a passive sport. Its purpose is to arouse and awake us, to shock us into life, to make us more alive. Chapter 3: Denotation and Connotation • The average word has three component parts: sound, denotation, and connotation. • Denotation: the dictionary definition if the word. • Connotation: what it suggests beyond what it expresses: its overtones in meaning. • Poets will often take advantage of the fact that a word has more than one meaning, and will use it to mean more than one thing at a time. • Scientific language is the purist form of practical language because everything has one meaning. Chapter 4: Imagery • Imagery: the representation through language of sense experience. 1. visual imagery 2. auditory imagery: sound 3. olfactory imagery: smell 4. gustatory imagery: taste 5. tactile imagery: touch, hot, cold 6. organic imagery: internal sensation (hunger, thirst) 7. kinesthetic imagery: movement • The sharpness and vividness of any image will ordinarily depend on how specific it is, and on the poet’s use of effective detail. • Must convey emotion, suggest and idea, as well as to cause a mental reproduction of sensation. Chapter 5: Figurative Language 1 • Figurative of Speech: a way of saying one thing and meaning another. • Figurative Language: is language that cannot be taken literally. • Simile/Metaphor: comparing things that are essentially unalike.
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Metaphor: 1. both the literal and figurative terms are named 2. the literal term is names, the figurative term is implied. 3. the literal term is implied and the figurative term is named. 4. both the literal and figurative terms are implied. Personification: giving humanlike characteristics to an object/animal or concept. Apostrophe: addressing someone absent or dead, or something nonhuman as if that person or thing were alive and could reply to what is being said. Synecdoche: the use of the part for the whole. Metonymy: the use of something closely related for the thing actually meant. Why is figurative language a more effective way in saying what we mean? 1. it affords is more imaginative pleasure 2. it’s a way of bringing additional imagery into verse, of making the abstract concrete, of making poetry more sensuous. 3. it adds emotions intensity to otherwise merely informative statements, and of conveying attitudes along with 4. it’s an effective mean on concentration, a way of saying much in brief compass. What us is being made of this figure? How does it contribute to the experience of this poem?
Chapter 6: Figurative Language 2 • Symbol: something that means more than what it is. 1. means what is it, and something more. 2. most richest and most difficult of poetic figures. 3. vary in degree of identification and definition given by author. • Allegory: an narrative or description that has a second meaning beneath the surface. • It is unlike extended metaphor in that it involves a system of related comparisons rather than one comparison drawn out. • It differs from symbolism in that it puts less emphasis on the images for their own sake and more on the ulterior meanings. • In allegory, there is usually a one-to-one correspondence between details and a single set of ulterior meanings. Chapter 7: Figurative Language 3 • Define and explain paradox: An apparent contradiction that is somehow true • The value of paradox is its shock value. • Define and give other name to overstatement plus a caution:
1. Exaggeration in the service of truth 2. Hyperbole 3. Overstatement may seem strained and ridiculous • Understatement: saying less than one means, understatement may exist in what is said or how one says it • Explain the types of irony: 1. Verbal: saying the opposite of what one means • Sarcasm: bitter or cutting speech • Satire: Ridicule with the purpose of bringing about reform of keeping people from folly or vice - Implies the opposite of what is said (or implies what is said as well in more complex forms). - Runs the risk of being misunderstood. - No matter how obvious, some people will always misunderstand it 2. Dramatic: Discrepancy between what the speaker says and what the poem means - Conveys the attitudes and illuminates character(s). (The author comments on values/ideas and also the nature of the person who utters them) 3. Irony of situation: Discrepancy between actual circumstances and those that would seem appropriate; or between what one anticipates and what actually comes to pass - Enables the poets to suggest means without stating them (communicates more than what is said) • How do irony and paradox help safeguard against sentimentality: They demand an exercise of critical intelligence. Chapter 8 – Allusion • Allusion: A reference to something in history or previous literature. A means of reinforcing the emotion or ideas or one’s own work with emotion or ideas of another work or occasion. Allusions vary in the number or readers to whom they will be familiar. • What is the danger of using allusions: 1. Beginning readers may miss allusions altogether. 2. The author may be misunderstood. Chapter 9: Meaning and Idea • Total meaning: the experience the poem communicates • Prose meaning: the ingredient that can be separated out in the form of a prose paraphrase. The literal meaning. • How is a poem more than an idea? 1. The idea of the poem is only part of the total experience that it communicates
2. The value and worth of the poem is determined by the value of the total experience, no by the truth/nobility of the idea itself 3. The primary value of the poem depends more on the power with which the idea is communicated and its conjunction with the total experience. Chapter 10: Tone • Tone: the writer’s or speaker’s attitude toward the subject, the reader, or him/herself. • It is the emotional coloring, or the emotional meaning, of the work and is an extremely important part of the full meaning. • In spoken language it is indicated by the inflections of the speaker’s voice. • We can identify tone by: connotation, imagery, metaphor, irony and understatement; rhythm, sentence construction, and formal pattern. • Importance: interpreting language Chapter 11: Musical Devices • The poet chooses words for sounds as well as for meaning, and uses the sound as a means of reinforcing meaning. • The poet achieves musical quality in two broad ways: 1. by the choice and arrangement of sounds 2. by the arrangement of accents • An essential element in all music is repetition and variation. We like the familiar, and we like variation. • Repetition comes in many forms: individual vowel sounds, consonant sounds, whole syllables, words, phrases, lines, groups of lines. • Alliteration: repetition of internal consonant sounds • Assonance: repetition of vowel sounds • Consonance: repetition of final consonant • Rhyme: the repetition of the accented vowel sound and any succeeding consonant sounds. 1. Masculine: rhyme sounds involve one syllable 2. Feminine: rhyme sounds involve two or more syllables 3. Internal Rhyme: when 1 or more rhyming words are w/in line 4. End Rhyme: when rhyming words are at ends of line 5. Approximate Rhyme (slant rhyme): include words with any kind of sound similarity from close to fairly remote. • Refrain: repetition of whole words, phrases, lines, or groups of lines. - common is songlike poetry • Cautions: 1. repetition is entirely a matter of sound, spelling is irrelevant 2. alliteration, assonance, consonance, and masculine rhyme are matters that ordinarily involve only stressed or accented syllables; for only such syllables ordinarily make
enough sound patters of the
impression on the ear to be significant in the poem. 3. words involved in these repetitions must be close enough together that the ear retains the sound, consciously or subconsciously, from its first occurrence to its
Chapter 12: Rhyme and Meter • Rhyme: any wavelike recurrence of motion or sound. In speech it is the natural rise and fall of language. 1. based on accents and stresses 2. based on pauses • Accented or Stressed: given more prominence in pronunciation than the rest. - Accent: the relative prominence given a syllable in relation to its neighbors, is then said to result from on or more of four causes: stress, or force of utterance, producing loudness, duration, pitch, and juncture, the manner of transition between successive sounds. • Rhetorical Stresses: used to make our intentions clear • End Stopped Line: the end of the line corresponds with a natural speech pause. • Run-on-line: the sense of the line moves on without pause into the next line. • Caesuras: pauses that occur within lines • Basic type of poetry today: Free Verse where the poetic line is the basic rhythmic unit. • Often people think of the two broad branches, free verse and metrical verse, which are distinguished mainly by the absence or presence of mete. • Meter: identifying characteristic of rhythmic language that we can tap our feet to. • Rhyme designates the flow of actual pronounced sound. • Meter refers to patterns that sounds follow when a poet has arranged them into metrical verse.
• Types of Metrical Feet The basic types of metrical feet determined by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables are:
a. iambic foot – a two syllable foot with the stress on the second syllable, the iambic foot is the most common foot in English b. trochaic foot – the trochaic foot consists of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable c. anapestic foot – three syllables with the stress on the last syllable d. dactylic foot – three syllables with the stress on the first syllable e. spondaic foot – two stressed syllables f. pyrrhic foot – two unstressed syllables, very rare, usually interspersed among other metrical feet
Kinds of Metrical Lines: o monometer – one foot line o dimeter – two foot line o trimeter – three foot line o tetrameter – four foot line o pentameter – five foot line o hexameter – six foot line o heptameter – seven foot line o octameter – eight foot line • Stanza: group of lines whose metrical pattern is repeated throughout the poem. • Metrical Variation: depart from what is regular 1. Substitution: replacing the regular foot with another one. 2. Extrametrical Syllables: added at the beginning or end of a line 3. Truncation: the omission of an unaccented syllable at either end of a line. • Scansion: the process of defining the metrical form of a poem. 1. identify the prevailing foot 2. name the number of feet in a line 3. describe the stanzaic pattern • Generalizations o Read the poem so that the metrical pattern is apparent o Scansion only begins to reveal the rhythmic quality o Divisions between feet have no meaning except to help us identify the meter. o Perfect regularity of meter is no criterion of merit. • Rhythm and Meter are effective in that musical repetitions can be pleasing, rhythm works as an emotional stimulus, can create a powerful reinforcement of meaning.
Chapter 13: Sound and Meaning • Rhythm and sound cooperate to produce what we call the music of poetry. • Onomatopoeia: use of words that sound like what they mean. • First, the poet can choose words whose sound in some degree suggests their meaning. • Second, choose sounds and group them so that the effect is smooth and pleasant sounding (euphonious) or rough and harsh sounding (cacophonous). • Third, controlling the speed and movement of the lines by the choice and use of meter, consonant sounds, and by the disposition of pauses. • Fourth, control both sound and meter in such a way as to emphasize words that are important in meaning. • Phonic Intensives: a words whose sound in some way connects to its meaning. o initial fl sound: moving light o initial gl sounds: light
o o o o o o o
initial sl sound: smoothly wet initial st sounds: strength short I sound: smallness long o or oo: sorrow final are: big light or noise medial att: particled movement final er, le: repetition
Chapter 14: Pattern • Poetry is arranged in 2 ways: 1. Structure: the arrangement of ideas, images, thoughts 2. Form: internal order of materials o Continuous Form: the lines follow eachother without formal grouping, the only breaks being dictated by units of meaning. o Stanzaic Form: the poet writes in a series of stanzas; that is repeated units having the same number of lines, the same metrical pattern, and often an identical rhyme scheme. o terza rima, ballad meter, rhyme royal, Spenserian stanza 1. The rhyme scheme 2. the position of the refrain 3. the prevailing metrical foot 4. number of feet in each line o Fixed Form: traditional pattern that applies to a whole poem. Sonnet: 14 lines in length and is almost always in iambic pentameter. 1. Italian or Petrarchan sonnet: divided between 8 lines called the octave, using 2 rhymes arranged abbaabba, and six lines called the sestet using any arrangement of either two or three rhymes, cdcdcd and cdecde. 2. English or Shakespearean sonnet: consists of 3 quatrains and a concluding couplet, rhyming abab cdcd efef gg 3. Villanella: requires only two rhyme sounds and its 19 lines are divided into 5-3line stanzas (tercets) and a 4 line concluding quatrain. a. difficult to compose
b. can achieve haunting and unforgettable effects Chapter 15: Evaluating Poetry • What is its central purpose? • How fully has this purpose been accomplished? • How important is this purpose? 1. A wholly successful poem contains no excess words 2. Each word is the best word for expressing the total meaning. 3. The word order is the best order. 4. The sound of the poem does not clash with its sense. 5. The organization of the poem is the best possible • • • • Sentimentality: indulgence in emotion for its own sake, or expression of more emotion than an occasion warrants. Rhetorical: poetry uses language more glittering and high flown than its substance warrants. It offers a spurious vehemence of language, language without a corresponding reality of emotion or thought underneath. Didactic: poetry has a primary purpose to teach or to preach Cautions: be neither hasty nor timorous in making your judgments. Do not try to find out others opinions before forming your own. Do not allow your opinion to harden into a narrow-minded bias.