How to Analyze Poetry

Narrative Poems
similar to prose fiction and drama in their handling of characterization. point of view, plot, and setting.

Lyric Poems
their subjective, musical, highly emotional, and imaginative qualities. They are songlike utterances by one person, the “I”. “I” speaks of something that concerns him or her deeply and personally.

Dover
Dover is an English port city.

Tone of “Dover Beach”
The tone is contented and joyous.

Allusion
A reference to historical events and people, to mythological and biblical figures, and to works of literature. It is a compact way of adding meaning to the work.

An allusion in “Dover Beach” by Arnold
Arnold’s reference to sophocles in “Dover Beach”.

Diction
Refers to the poet’s choice of words

Denotation
The object or idea – the referent – that a word represents dictionary meaning.

Connotation
The subjective, emotional association that a word has for one person or a group of people.

What does William Wordsworth’s “A Slumber Did my Spirt Seal” relies on?
Relies on partly the connotation effect of the last line.

Diurnal
Means daily.

Imagery #1
Represents the descriptive passages of a poem.

5 senses
thermal sense, sense of touch, visual sense, sense of motion, sense of sound

Imagery #2
figurative language, especially metaphor.

Figurative Language
A conscious departure from normal or conventional ways of saying things

Tropes
Meaning of words beyond their literal meaning, and the most common form of trope is metaphor.

Metaphor
A particular kind of analogy and is contrasted with the simile.

Analogy
A partial similarity between 2 things upon which a comparison my be based.

Simile
A comparison of 2 things that are essentially different, and it is signaled by the use of like or as.

Metaphors in “Love is a Sickness” by Samuel Daniel
“Love is a Sickness”

Similes in “Fair Is My Love” by Shakespeare
“Mild as a dove”, “glass is brittle”

Extended Metaphor
When a poet develops just one analogy throughout the whole poem, the analogy is called Extended Metaphor.

Meters
Poetry regularizes that rhythm in recognizable patterns call meters

Iambic pentameter
A very common line in English poetry is iambi pentameter

Accentual – syllabic
When line of portray is measured by both access and syllables.

Caesura
A strong pause somewhere in the line. Caesura is middle of lines, can emphasize strong contrasts or close relationships between ideas.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129 –
The “weaker” sides of the lines contain the pleasure part of the equation and emphasize the brevity and insubstantial quality of pleasure; the “strong” sides emphasize either naive expectation or guilt.

What do “metric” provide?
Metrics provides a method of ordering material. it creates a hypnotic effect that rivets attention on the poem. it establishes a pattern for which the poet can depart.

What effect does rhyme?
it has the effect of linking words together.

onomatopoeia
the use of words that sound like what they mean.

alliteration
the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of accented syllables (“the woeful woman went wading Wednesday”)

assonance
the repetition of vowel sounds follow by different consonant sounds (“O, the groans that opened to his ears”)

consonance
the repetition of final consonant sounds that are preceded by different vowel sounds (the beast climbed fast to the crest)

rhyme
the repetition of accented vowels and the sounds that follow. There are subcategories of rhyme.

what are the subcategories of rhyme?
masculine rhyme, feminine rhyme, internal rhyme, end rhyme, approximate rhyme.

masculine rhyme
the rhymed sounds have only one syllable, ex: man-ran

feminine rhyme
the rhyme sounds have two or more syllables, ex: subtle-rebuttal.

internal rhyme
the rhymed sounds are within the line

end rhyme
the words appear at the ends of lines

approximate rhyme
the words are close are closed to rhyming: “Book-buck”, “watch-match”, “man-in”.

cacophony
When the sounds of a poem are harsh and grating, the effect s called cacophony.

euphony
When sounds of a poem are pleasing and harmonious, the effect is called euphony.

2 ways poets give structures to their poem.
1) by organizing ideas according to a logical plan
2) by creating a pattern of sounds

how did Arnold, “Dover Beach” give structure to this story?
divide into four units, each of which has an end rhyme, and he arranges the whole poem rhetorical – that is, by ideas

Rhyme Scheme
Any pattern of end rhyme is called a rhyme scheme. it helps to establish another structural device, the stanza

stanza
physically separated from other stanzas by extra spaces and usually represents one idea.

stanzas structure
same number of lines, length of lines, metrical patterns, and rhyme schemes.

fixed forms
Poets of course, can create any rhyme scheme or stanza form they chose, but they often work instead within the confines of already established poetic structures. These are call fixed forms.

nonce forms
Stanza that conform to o traditional limits, such as those in “Dover Beach” are all nonce forms

Sonnet
The most famous fixed form in English is the sonnet. Like other fixed forms, the sonnet provides ready-made structural divisions by which a poet can organize ideas. The result is a tension between material and form that is pleasing both to poet and reader. All sonnets have fourteen lines in English is the sonnet.

Shakespearean sonnet
rhymes aba/cdcd/efe/gg and has a structural division of three quatrains (each containing four lines) and a couplet.

Petrachan sonnet
rhymes addaadda in the octave (the first eight lines) and cdecde int he setet (the last six lines).

turn
a point in the poem at which the poet shifts from one meaning or mood to another.

free verse
One sometimes puzzling form of poetry is free verse. First to write was Walt Whitman (in the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass) – the Bible – was very well-known antecedent to whitman’s free verse.

free verse cont
free verse is “free” in certain ways. it avoids strict adherence to metrical patterns and to fixed line lengths. 1) it often uses the sounds qualities of words to create associations within words-assonance, alliteration, internal rhyme, and so forth 2) it creates rhythm by repeating phrases that have the same syntactical structure. 3) free verse can establish rhythms within lines by creating phrases of about equal lengths. 4) free verse can vary lines meaningfully

what does poets frequently use?
they use symbolism because, among other reasons, symbols are highly suggestive yet can be established in just a few words. A symbol is an object – usually a physical object – that represents an abstract idea or ideas.