Poetry Unit

Poems to be read in my Poetry Unit:

“The Present Crisis ”
 by James Russell Lowell

“Youth”
 by Randolph Bourne

“Road Not Taken”
 by Robert Frost
“Mending Wall”
 by Robert Frost

“In Thai-Binh Province”
 by Denise Levertov

“Anecdote of the Bell Jar”
 by Wallace Stevens

“The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”
 by Randall Jarrell

“My Papa’s Waltz”
 by Theodore Roethke

“Filling Station”
 by Elizabeth Bishop
“The Fish”
 by Elizabeth Bishop

“Mirror”
 by Sylvia Plath

“The Jewish Cemetery at Newport”
 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”
 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Writing Assignments:

1. Choose a short poem from the list that you
particularly enjoyed and write a defense of its excellence.
In making your case, first establish the criteria by which
you judge a poem, in other words, does the poem do a terrific
job of evoking a beautiful emotion?  Is the imagery beautiful? 
Does the poem contain specific phrases that inspire or remind
you of an important experience or does the phrase express
thoughts that you’ve always believed?  Or, in order for a poem to
be excellent, does it have to rhyme and be fun to read?  So, first
establish your criteria for what makes a good poem.  Then show how
your favorite poem succeeds in achieving excellence according to
your standards.

2. Keep journal.  A great advantage in keeping a journal is that you can express your thoughts and feelings immediately, before they grow cold.  Set to paper all of your thoughts, associations to, artificial or profound feelings conjured by the poem, your judgments, i.e., did it suck or kind of suck or make you laugh or teach you something?  Record as many of your feelings as possible, whether you intend to use your insights in an essay or not.  Jot down anything that you wish to remember.  Does a theme of a poem or in a particular line strike you forcefully?  If it does, make note of it.  Does anything not make sense?  Record your bewilderment. 

3. What to focus on in an explication of a poem?  You might discuss
allusions in the poem, the denotative and connotative meanings that reveal or support the poem’s theme.  You may want to explain the meanings of the symbols, or the effect of certain sounds and rhythms, elaborate on an irony in the poem.  The intention of explanation is not to lay bare everything so that the poem’s meaning is explained, captured, and tamed, but to explain how the different parts contribute to the theme or message of the poem.  That is your task as a writer explaining the meaning of a poem.  To that end, you’ll need to know what the instruments of poetry are, what they are called, how they are used, to what effect, and so forth.

4. Here are the poetic devices that you’ll need to know.
 1. Alliteration           8. Cacophony          15. Concrete Poetry
 2. Allusion                 9. Caesura                 16. confessional poetry
 3. Assonance          10. Carpe Diem         17. Connotation
 4. Acrostic               11. Clerihew               18. Consonance
 5. Allegory               12. Close Reading    19. Couplet
 6. Anticlimax          13. Comparison       20. diction
 7. Analysis               14. Conceit                 21. elegy

 22. End rhyme        29. hyperbole           36. lyric
 23. English sonnet 30. image                   37. Metaphor
 24. Euphony             31. imagery               38. Metonymy
 25. Explication        32. Internal & Initial 
 26. Figure of Speech     Alliteration        39. Monologue
 27. Found poetry   33. Irony                    40. Motif
 28. Haiku                    34. Italian Sonnet   41. myth
                                         35. Limerick             42. narrative poem

 43. Octave                  50. Parody                57. Prose poem
 44. Onomatopeia     51. Pentameter       58. Prosody
 45. Overstatement  52. Persona              59. Psalms
 46. Parable                 53. Personification60. Pun
 47. Paradox               54. Petrarchan Sonnet
 48. Parallelism          55. Poetic Diction  61. Quatrain
 49. Paraphrase          56. Portmanteau words
                                                                                62. Rap
                                                                                63. Refrain
 
 64. Rhyme
 65. 
 

5.  Memorize these poems:

6. Know the poetic devices above.  You’ll be tested on each.
 1. Know what each is.
 2.  Be able to recognize them in a poem.

7. Be able to identify the following in each poem:
 a. Title of poem
 b. Author of poem
 c. What the poem is about.
 d. Recall memorable lines from poem.

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