ENC1102 Poetry

 Originally a poem sung to the music of a lyre
 As written today it is “ …a short poem expressing the
thoughts and feelings of a single speaker”.
 Example: “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William
Butler Yeats ( p. 633)
Narrative Poetry
 The main purpose is to tell a story. However, the very
telling of the story in poetic form explores a larger
 Some narrative poetry is set to music as folk lyrics such
as “ Bonnie Barbara Allan” or “ Birmingham Sunday”.
 The narrative poem may comment on the relevance of
the event which it depicts.
Dramatic Poetry-Dramatic
 Presents the voice of an imaginary character ( or
characters) speaking directly without additional
narration by the author.
 A dramatic monologue is a poem written as a speech
made by a character ( other than the author) at some
decisive moment. Examples “ The Ruined Maid” (685)
and “ My Last Duchess” ( 639).
Dramatic Monologue
Didactic Poetry:
 A poem written to state a message or teach a body of
 Example : Ovid’s Art of Love
Satiric Poetry
 Poetry which conveys a message
 This poetry often has a tone of “…detached
amusement, withering contempt, or implied
 The poet “…ridicules some person or persons or
perhaps some kind of human behavior), examining
the victim by the light of certain principles and
implying that the reader, too, ought to feel contempt
for the victim.”
 In a poem the speaker is, at times, a fictitious person,
not the author of the poem.
 Example: “The Chimney Sweeper” by William Blake (
page 665)
 Often apparent in the distance between the poet and
the fictitious character as the poet has adopted an
ironic point of view.
 Example: “ My Last Duchess” and Swift’s “ A Modest
 An indirect reference to any person, place or thing-
fictitious, historical, or actual.
Diction- word choice or vocabulary
 Concrete- specifically names or describes things or
 Abstract words that express general ideas or concepts
 Poetic- strictly speaking any language deemed
suitable for verse –generally refers to elevated language
rather than language for common use.
Levels of diction:
 Vulgate – lowest level – language of the common
Colloquial English – casual or informal but correct
language of ordinary speakers- conversational
General English – the ordinary speech of educated
native speakers
Formal English- heightened, impersonal language of
educated persons usually only written.
Dialect- A particular variety of language spoken by an
identifiable regional group or social class
Levels of Diction:
 Denotation- The literal, dictionary meaning of a word
 Connotation- An association or additional meaning that a
word, image, or phrase may carry, apart from its literal
denotation or dictionary definition. A word may pick up
connotations from the uses to which it has been put in the
 In poetry an image suggests a word or sequence of
words that refers to any sensory experience
Visual- seen
Auditory- sound
Tactile – touch
Also an odor, taste or a sensation such as pain, thirst or
prickling of gooseflesh or contact with heat or cold.
Figures of Speech:
 Metaphor- A comparison of two things which states
that one is the other but implying that the two things
share similar qualities. “ Love is a rose.”
 A comparison using like or as. Usually a simile
compares one quality which two things share whereas
a metaphor may address a host of similarities.
 “Oh, my love is like a red, red rose”
Personification :
 A figure of speech in which a thing , an animal, or an
abstract term ( truth, nature) is made human.
 Example; “The Wind” (739)
 A way of addressing someone or something invisible or
not ordinarily spoken to.
 “Death Be Not Proud” (1037) John Donne
 “ Death be not proud, though some have called thee
 Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;…”
Overstatement/ hyperbole :
 A statement of deliberate exaggeration designed to
emphasize a point.
 A purposeful minimizing of a situation for humor or
 “ One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.”
 The substitution for the name of a thing with
something closely associated with it.
Example: The cradle to grave reference refers to the
passage from life to death..
 A part of a thing stands for the whole of it or vice versa.
 Example: Lending a hand.
 A statement that at first strikes us as self-
contradictory, but that on reflection makes some sense
 A play on words
Ballads: a narrative song /poem
 Folk Ballads- loosely defined as anonymous story-
songs transmitted orally before they were ever written
Literary Ballads:
 Ballads not meant for singing –
 Often imitate certain features of folk ballads telling of
dramatic conflicts or of mortals who encounter the
supernatural .
 Example: “ La Belle Dame sans Merci” (872)
Free Verse
 A kind of verse liberated from the shackles of rime and
 “Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net
down.” Robert Frost
 “ A symbol is like a rock dropped into a pool: it sends
off ripples in all directions, and the ripples are in
motion.” – John Ciardi
 A description, usually narrative, in which persons,
places, and things are employed in a continuous and
consistent system of equivalents.
Kennedy, X. J. and Dana Gioia. Poetry. New York:
Longman, 2010.print.

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