Top-Rated Free Essay

Explication Study Guide of How to Critique and Analyze Poetry College Literature

Good Essays
Topics: Poetry, Rhyme
1

Literary Terms 1. Allegory: a literary work that has a second meaning beneath the surface, often relating to a fixed, corresponding idea or moral principle. as in metaphor, one thing (usually nonrational, abstract, religious) is implicitly spoken of in terms of something concrete, but in an allegory the comparison is extended to include an entire work or large portion of a work. 2. Alliteration: repetition of initial consonant sounds. It serves to please the ear and bind verses together, to make lines more memorable, and for humorous effect. the repetition of initial consonant sounds through a sequence of words— for example, "While I nodded, nearly napping" in Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Raven." ♡ ♡ Already American vessels had been searched, seized, and sunk. John F.Kennedy I should like to hear him fly with the high fields/ And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land. -Dylan Thomas, “Fern Hill”

3. Allusion: A casual reference in literature to a person, place, event, or another passage of literature, often without explicit identification. Allusions can originate in mythology, biblical references, historical events, legends, geography, or earlier literary works. ♡ Authors often use allusion to establish a tone, create an implied association, contrast two objects or people, make an unusual juxtaposition of references, or bring the reader into a world of experience outside the limitations of the story itself. Authors assume that the readers will recognize the original sources and relate their meaning to the new context.



-a reference—whether explicit or implicit, to history, the Bible, myth, literature, painting, music, and so on—that suggests the meaning or generalized implication of details in the story, poem, or play. ♡ Brightness falls from the air/ Queens have died young and fair/Dust hath closed Helen’s eye. from Thomas Nashe’s “Litany in Time of Plague;” refers to Helen of Troy.

4. Alter Ego: A literary character or narrator who is a thinly disguised representation of the author, poet, or playwright creating a work. 5. Ambiguity the use of a word or expression to mean more than one thing

2 6. Analogy a comparison based on certain resemblances between things that are otherwise unlike. 7. Anaphora: repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginnings of successive clauses. ♡ The Lord sits above the water floods. The Lord remains a King forever. The Lord shall give strength to his people. The lord shall give his people the blessings of peace. -Ps. 29 “Let us march to the realization of the American dream. Let us march on segregated housing. Let us march on segregated schools. Let us march on poverty. Let us march on ballot boxes.... --Martin Luther King, Jr. Mad world ! Mad king! Mad composition !





8. Antagonist: the character or force opposing the protagonist in a narrative; a rival of the hero 9. Apostrophe: addressing an absent or dead person or a personified abstraction ♡ “Eloquent, just, and mighty Death ! whom none could advise....” WORLD, I cannot hold thee close enough!

10. Approximate rhyme: also known as imperfect rhyme, near rhyme, slant rhyme, or oblique rhyme. A term used for words in a rhyming pattern that have some kind of sound correspondence but are not perfect rhymes. ♡ Often words at the end of lines at first LOOK like they will rhyme but are not pronounced in perfect rhyme. Emily Dickinson’s poems are famous for her use of approximate rhyme.

11. Assonance: the repetition of vowel sounds. the repetition of vowel sounds in a sequence of words with different endings ♡ for example, "The death of the poet was kept from his poems" in W. H. Auden’s "In Memory of W. B. Yeats." ♡ The child of mine was lying on her side. [i] ♡ "Over the mountains / Of the moon, / Down the valley of the shadow, / Ride, boldly ride,/The shade replied,-- / "If you seek for Eldorado!" [o sound] 12. Asyndeton: deliberate omission of conjunctions between series of related clauses. ♡ I came, I saw, I conquered. -- Julius Caesar

3 ♡ The infantry plodded forward, the tanks rattled into position, the big guns swung their snouts toward the rim of the hills, the planes raked the underbrush with gunfire. ..and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Abraham Lincoln

13. Aubade: a poem about dawn; a morning love-song; or a poem about the parting of lovers at dawn

4 Ballad: a song, transmitted orally, which tells a story. Usually narrator begins with a climactic or traumatic episode, tells the story tersely by means of action and dialogue and tells it without selfreference or the expression of personal attitudes or feelings. Many ballads employ (1) stock repetitive phrases such as “blood-red wine” and “milk white steed,” (2) a refrain in each stanza, and (3) incremental repetition, in which a line or stanza is repeated, but with an additional verse that advances the story, (4) dialogue between at least 2 characters, (5) quatrains or ballad stanzas that rhyme of on lines 2 and 4. A literary ballad was a favorite form of the Romantic period. Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner” is a good example, and “The Ballad of Birmingham” is an American example. 14. a narrative poem that is, or originally was, meant to be sung. Characterized by repetition and often by a repeated refrain (recurrent phrase or series of phrases), ballads were originally a folk creation, transmitted orally from person to person and age to age. “It is an ancient Mariner, And he stoppeth one of three. 'By thy long gray beard and glittering eye, Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?'" 15. Blank verse: poetry written in meter but containing no ending rhyme. Lines of verse contain forms closest to that of natural speaking, yet are flexible and adaptive.

the verse form most like everyday human speech; blank verse consists of unrhymed lines in iambic pentameter. Many of Shakespeare’s plays are in blank verse. 16. Caesura a short pause within a line of poetry; often but not always signaled by punctuation. Note the two caesuras in this line from Poe’s "The Raven": "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary." 17. Characterization principles: characters should be 1) consistent in their behaviors, 2)their words and actions should spring from motivations the reader can understand, and 3) plausible and lifelike. 18. Characterization: the author's expression of a character's personality through the use of action, dialogue, thought, or commentary by the narrator or another character. 19. Cinquain: a five line stanza

5 20. Conceit: in literature, fanciful or unusual image in which apparently dissimilar things are shown to have a relationship. The device was often used by the metaphysical poets, who fashioned conceits that were witty, complex, intellectual, and often startling, e.g., John Donne's comparison of two souls with two bullets in “The Dissolution.” ---an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs an entire poem or poetic passage 21. Concrete poetry--- poetry shaped to look like an object. Robert Herrick’s "Pillar of Fame," for example, is arranged to look like a pillar. Also called shaped verse.

22. Confessional poem --a relatively recent (or recently defined) kind in which the speakescribes a state of mind, which becomes a metaphor for the larger world. 23. Conflict: a struggle between two opposing forces in a short story, novel, play, or narrative poem. the struggle within the story. Character divided against self, character against character, character against society, character against nature, character against God. Without it, there is no story. 24. ·Connotation: all the emotions and associations that a word or phrase may arouse; what a word suggests beyond its basic definitions; a word’s overtones of meaning. what is suggested by a word, apart from what it explicitly describes. 25. Consonance: repetition of consonant sounds in the middle or at the end of wordsConsonance use of the repetition of non-initial consonants or consonant patterns as rhyming device Continuous form: the form of a poem in which the lines follow each other without formal grouping, the only breaks being dictated by units of meaning. 26. Couplet: two successive lines of poetry in which the ending words rhyme 27. Denotation: the literal or "dictionary" meaning of a word or phrase. a direct and specific meaning 28. Dialogue: vocal exchange between two or more characters. One of the ways in which plot, character, action, etc. are developed. 29. Diction an author’s choice of words. 30. Doppelganger: in German, this word means “double-goer,” the ghostly shadow that haunts and follows its earthly counterpart; the negative or evil manifestation of what is actually on the “inside” of the haunted character. The Creature is Victor Frankenstein’s doppelganger.

6 31. Dramatic monologue: a kind of lyric poem which has the following elements: ♡ 1)a single person, a speaker (patently not the poet) utters the entire poem in a specific situation at a critical moment; and ♡ 2) this person addresses and interacts with one or more other people, but we know of the auditor’s presence and what they say and do only from clues in the discourse of the single speaker. ♡ Examples include Tennyson’s “Ulysses” and Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess.”

32. Dramatic poem: a narrative poem in which one or more characters speak. The dramatic poem consists of the thoughts or spoken statements (or both) of one or more characters other than the poet himself in a particular life situation. ♡ It is dramatic rather than narrative since the character is not "written about" by the poet; rather, the poem consists of the character's own thoughts or spoken statements. ♡ ♡ He may be thinking (or talking) to himself; a poem recording his thoughts or speech to himself is called a soliloquy. Or a character may be speaking to one or more other characters in a given situation; a poem recording his speech is called a dramatic monologue. 33. Elegy: a poem of mourning, usually over the death of an individual, usually ending in a consolation. Originally it included mournful love poems, such as John Donne’s elegies. in classical times, any poem on any subject written in "elegiac" meter; since the Renaissance, usually a formal lament on the death of a particular person. 34. Ellipsis: deliberate omission of a word or of words which are readily implied by the context. ♡ And he to England shall along with you. from Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 3 ♡ Red light means stop; a green light, go. 35. Enjambment running over from one line of poetry to the next without stop, as in the following lines by Wordsworth: "My heart leaps up when I behold / A rainbow in the sky." lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. 28. end rhyme: rhymes that occur at the ends of lines 29. end-stopped line: a line that ends with a natural speech pause, usually marked by punctuation. 36. Epic poem that celebrates, in a continuous narrative, the achievements of mighty heroes and heroines, usually in founding a nation or developing a culture, and uses elevated language and a grand, high style.

7 37. Epigram originally any poem carved in stone (on tombstones, buildings, gates, and so forth), but in modern usage a very short, usually witty verse with a quick turn at the end. 38. Fixed form: a poem in which the length and pattern are prescribed by previous usage or tradition, such as sonnet, limerick, and villanelle. 39. Flashback: a scene in a short story, novel, play, or narrative poem that interrupts the chronological action and provides information about the past. Often a character’s recollections of the past 40. Foil: a foil is a character who provides a contrast to another character. In Frankenstein, Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein are foils. 41. Foot: basic unit used in measurement of a line of verse. A foot usually contains one accented syllable and one or two unaccented syllables. 42. Foreshadowing: clues in a literary work that suggest events that have yet to occur. 43. Form: external pattern or shape of a poem, describable without reference to its content, such as: continuous form, fixed form, and free verse. 44. Frame narrative: The result of inserting one or more small stories within the body of a larger story that encompasses the smaller ones. ♡ ♡ ♡ Often this term is used interchangeably with both the literary technique and the larger story itself that contains the smaller ones, which are called "framed narratives" or "embedded narratives." The most famous example is Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, in which the overarching frame narrative is the story of a band of pilgrims traveling to the shrine of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. The band passes the time in a storytelling contest. The framed narratives are the individual stories told by the pilgrims who participate. Frankenstein is a frame narrative.

45. Framing Method: Using same features, wording, setting, situation, or topic at both the beginning and end of a literary work so as to "frame" it or "enclose it." ♡ This technique often provides a sense of cyclical completeness or closure. This is also called an envelope structure or circular structure.

8 46. Free Verse: poetry not written in a regular rhythmical pattern; non-metrical poetry in which the basic rhythmic unit is the line and in which pauses, line breaks, and formal patterns develop organically from the requirements of the individual poem rather than from established poetic forms. poetry characterized by varying line lengths, lack of traditional meter, and nonrhyming lines. 47. ·Haiku an unrhymed poetic form, Japanese in origin, that contains seventeen syllables arranged in three heroic couplet rhymed pairs of lines in iambic pentameter 48. Heptastich: a seven line stanza 49. Hyperbole: a deliberate exaggeration or overstatement is used in the service of truth. ♡ His eloquence could split rocks. ♡ My left leg weighs three tons 50. Iambic: a metrical foot consisting of one unaccented syllable followed by one accented syllable (example: re - HEARSE)  a metrical foot consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one. 51. Iambic Pentameter: a metrical form in which the basic foot is an iamb and most lines consist of five iambs; ♡ ♡ iambic pentameter is the most common poetic meter in English: "One com | mon note | on ei | ther lyre | did strike" (Dryden, "To the Memory of Mr. Oldham")

52. Imagery: the collection of images within a literary work. Used to evoke atmosphere, mood, tension.  broadly defined, any sensory detail or evocation in a work; more narrowly, the useof figurative language to evoke a feeling, to call to mind an idea, or to describe an object. ♡ For example, images of crowded, steaming sidewalks flanking streets choked with lines of shimmering, smoking cars suggests oppressive heat and all the psychological tensions that go with it. 53. Internal Rhyme: a rhyme in which one or both of the rhyme words occurs WITHIN THE LINE.

9 54. Internal Structure- The pattern of organization used to frame subject matter, effect, or other intention. ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ Narrative structure is the gradual unfolding of the story. Dramatic structure consists of a series of scenes, each of which is presented vividly & in detail, as if on stage. Discursive structure is organized like an argument or treatise (“First… and second… and third…”). Descriptive structure organizes descriptions about someone or something. -Imitative structure organizes words to mirror the structure of something that already exists as an object and can be seen. Reflective/Meditative structure ponder a theme, subject, event, etc. by letting the mind wander through thoughts and objects. 55. Irony: a contrast between what is stated and what is really meant ♡ Eg. By Spring, if God was good, all of the proud privileges of trench lice, mustard gas, spattered brains, punctured lungs, ripped guts, mud, and gangrene, might be his. - Thomas Wolfe

56. Litotes: a deliberate understatement, not to deceive someone but to enhance the impressiveness of what we have to say. ♡ Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her appearance for the worse. -Jonathan Swift It isn’t very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain. -J.D. Salinger



57. Lyric originally, a poem meant to be sung to the accompaniment of a lyre; now, any short poem in which the speaker expresses intense personal emotion rather than describing a narrative or dramatic situation. 58. 59. Lyric poem: a poem, usually a short one, that expresses a speaker's thoughts or describes an object or emotion. 60. Metaphor: a direct comparison of two unlike things. The two things being compared may be named or unnamed.

10 ♡ Examples: On the final examination, several students went down in flames. ♡ Birmingham lighted a runaway fuse, and as fast as the headlines could record them, demonstrations exploded all over the country.

61. Metaphysical poetry: The bet metaphysical poetry is honest, unconventional, and reveals the poet's sense of the complexities and contradictions of life. ♡ ♡ ♡ It is intellectual, analytical, psychological, and bold; frequently it is absorbed in thoughts of death, physical love, and religious devotion. Metaphysical poets such as John Donne wanted to write poems that were not in the style of sentimental Elizabethan love poetry. These poems are known for their use of conceits - unusual analogies such as linking love and a compass.

62. tendency to psychological analysis of emotion of love and religion 63. form is frequently an argument 64. images were “unpoetical” - drawn from commonplace life or intellectual study

65. Meter: rhythmical pattern of a poem the more or less regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry. This is determined by the kind of "foot" (iambic and dactylic, for example) and by the number of feet per line (five feet = pentameter, six feet = hexameter, for example). 66. Metonymy: figure of speech that substitutes something closely related for the thing ♡ Eg. crown for royalty; brass for military officers; pen for writer; White House for the US President; rebels for VHHS students. 67. Motif: a recurring feature (such as a name, an image, or a phrase) in a work of fiction . ♡ A conspicuous recurring element, such as a type of incident, a device, a reference, or verbal formula, which appears frequently in works of literature. ♡ ♡ For instance, the ugly girl who turns out to be a beautiful princess is a common motif in folklore, and the man fatally bewitched by a fairy lady is a common folkloric motif. The mockingbird imagery in To Kill a Mockingbird acts as a motif.

11 ♡ The Carpe Diem (seize the day) motif often appears in contemporary literature.

68. Narrative poem: tells a story in verse. Ballads and epics are two forms of narrative poetry. An example is Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” 69. Octave: an eight line stanza 70. Ode a lyric poem characterized by a serious topic and formal tone but no prescribed formal pattern. See Keats’s odes and Shelley’s "Ode to the West Wind." 71. Onomatopoeia: use of a word whose sound in some degree imitates or suggests its meaning. ♡ Examples: Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn yard. Alfred Noyes ♡ The birds chirped away. Fweet, Fweet, Bootchee-Fweet. - Saul Bellow

72. Oxymoron: the yoking of two terms that are ordinarily contradictory ♡ Example: sweet pain; cheerful pessimist; conspicuous by her absence; thunderous silence; make haste slowly; jumbo shrimp; rational hysteria 73. Paradox: a statement that reveals the truth but at first seems contradictory ♡ Examples: He is guilty of being innocent. - about Joseph K. in Kafka’s The Trial ♡ The past is the prologue. -Paul Newman 74. Paraphrase: a restatement of the content of a poem designed to make its prose meaning as clear as possible. 75. Parallelism: the use of phrases, clauses, or sentences that are similar or complementary in structure or in meaning. 76. Pentameter: a metrical line containing five feet. Shakespeare most often wrote in iambic pentameter ( 5 feet per poetry line with each foot consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.) a line of poetry with five feet: "Nuns fret | not at | their con | vent’s nar | row room" (Wordsworth) 77. Persona/Speaker the voice or figure of the author who tells and structures the story and who may or may not share the values of the actual author.

78. Personification: a figure of speech in which human attributes are given to an animal, an object, or a concept.

12 Personification treating an abstraction as if it were a person, endowing it with human qualities 79. Petrarchan sonnet also called Italian sonnet; a sonnet form that divides the poem into one section of eight lines (octave) and a second section of six lines (sestet), usually following the abbaabba cdecde rhyme scheme or, more loosely, an abbacddc pattern. 80. Realism the practice in literature of attempting to describe nature and life without idealization and with attention to detail. ♡ Examples: The ground thirsts for rain; the harvester sits carelessly on the granary floor; the wind cried as it raced through the trees. ♡ A tree whose hungry mouth is prest/ Against the earth’s sweetflowing breast. 81. Point of View: vantage point from which a narrative is told. These include the personal, private thoughts to the reader. the vantage point from which the author presents action of the story. ♡ Who is telling the story? ♡ The voice and thoughts of one character? ♡ An all-knowing author? ♡ Does the author change point of view in the story? Why? ♡ A voice limited to the views of one character? ♡ Point of view is often considered the technical aspect of fiction which leads the critic most readily into the problems and meanings of the story. 82. Protagonist: the central character of a drama, novel, short story, or narrative poem. The character that the readers USUALLY sympathizes the most with. Protagonists often have rivals or opposing characters called antagonists 83. Pun: a play on words. Involves using a word or a phrase that has two different meanings at the same time. ♡ Example: If we don’t hang together, we’ll hang separately. -Ben Franklin ♡ 84. Quatrain: a four line stanza 85. Refrain: a repeated word, phrase, line, or group of lines, normally at some fixed position in a poem written in stanzaic form. 86. Rhetorical question: when a question is asked that requires no one to answer it Your word is sound, nothing but sound. -Ben Franklin

13 ♡ Example: A good student body is perhaps the most important factor in a great school. How can you possibly make good wine from poor grapes?

87. Rhyme: repetition of the accented vowel sound and all the succeeding sounds in important or importantly positioned words ( examples: old-cold, vane-reign, court-report). ♡ This definition applies to a perfect rhyme. 88. Rhyme scheme: regular pattern of rhyming words in a poem or stanza. 89. Rhythm: any wave-like recurrence of motion or sound. the pattern of end rhymes in a poem, often noted by small letters, ♡ e.g., abab or abba, etc 90. --the modulation of weak and strong (or stressed and unstressed) elements in the flow of speech. In most poetry written before the twentieth century, rhythm was often expressed in regular, metrical forms; in prose and in free verse, rhythm is present but in a much less predictable and regular manner. 91. Satire: writing that ridicules or holds up to contempt the faults of individuals or groups. 92. Sentimental poetry: poetry that attempts to manipulate the reader’s emotions in order to achieve a greater emotional response than the poem itself warrants. (a sentimental novel or film is often called a “tear-jerker.”) 93. Sestet: a six line stanza 94. Setting: the time and place in which a story or poem occurs 95. Simile: the comparison of two unlike things using the words "like" or "as". ♡ Examples: He had a posture like a question mark. ♡ Silence settled down over the audience like a block of granite. ♡ Like an arrow, the prosecutor went directly to the point. 96. Soliloquy: long speech made by one character who is alone and thus reveals his/her 97. Sonnet: a fourteen-line poem with a single theme. Two traditional patterns exist. a fixed verse form consisting of fourteen lines usually in iambic pentameter. 98. Petrarchan or Italian sonnet is divided into two parts-- an eight-line octave and a six line sestet. ♡ ♡ The octave rhymes abba abba, while the sestet generally rhymes cde, cde. The two parts of the sonnet work together. The octave raises the question, states a problem, or presents a brief narrative.

14 ♡ The sestet answers the question, solves the problem, or comments on the narrative.

also called Italian sonnet; a sonnet form that divides the poem into one section of eight lines (octave) and a second section of six lines (sestet), usually following the abbaabba cdecde rhyme scheme or, more loosely, an abbacddc pattern. ♡ Shakespearean or English sonnet consists of 3 quatrains and a concluding couplet, with a rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg.Each of the 3 quatrains usually explores a different variation of the main theme. ♡ The couplet presents a summarizing or concluding statement

also called an English sonnet; a sonnet form that divides the poem into three units of four lines each and a final unit of two lines (4+4+4+2 structure). Its classic rhyme scheme is abab cdcd efef gg, but there are variations.. 99. Spondee a metrical foot consisting of a pair of stressed syllables ("Dead set"). 100. Stanza: a clustered group of lines in a poem. Many poems are divided into stanzas that have metrical patterns repeated throughout a poem. 101. a section of a poem demarcated by extra line spacing. Some distinguish between a stanza, a division marked by a single pattern of meter or rhyme, and a verse paragraph, a division governed by thought rather than sound pattern.

102. Symbol: related to imagery. It is something which is itself yet stands for or means something else. It tends to be more singular, a bit more fixed than imagery. ♡ For example, in Lessing's "A Woman on a Roof," the brief red sun suit seems to symbolize the woman's freedom and independence from externally imposed standards of behavior. a person, place, thing, event, or pattern in a literary work that designates itself and at the same time figuratively represents or "stands for" something else. – Often the thing or idea represented is more abstract, general, non-or superrational; the symbol, more concrete and particular. 103. Symbolic poem a poem in which the use of symbols is so pervasive and internally consistent that the larger referential world is distanced, if not forgotten. 104. Synecdoche: (sin- NECK- ta-KEY) a figure of speech in which a part is used to stand for the whole. ♡ For example: bread for food; cutthroat for assassin; hands for helpers; roofs for houses; silver for money;

15 ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ In Europe, we gave the cold shoulder to DeGaulle, and now he gives a warm hand to the Chinese. -Richard Nixon Give us this day our daily bread. The face that launched a thousand ships They braved the waves to protect the fatherland. Are there no roofs in this town that will harbor an honorable man?

105. Tercet: a three line stanza 106. Theme: the general idea or insight about life that a writer wishes to express in a literary work. ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ A central idea or statement that unifies and controls an entire literary work. The theme can take the form of a brief and meaningful insight or a comprehensive vision of life; it may be a single idea such as "progress" (in many Victorian works), "order and duty" (in many early Roman works), "seize-the-day" (in many late Roman works), or "jealousy" (in Shakespeare's Othello). -----the statement a poem makes about its subject 107. Tone: the attitude a writer takes toward his or her subject, characters, or audience. ♡ The means of creating a relationship or conveying an attitude or mood. ♡ By looking carefully at the choices an author makes (in characters, incidents, setting; in the work's stylistic choices and diction, etc.), ♡ can isolate the tone of a work and sometimes infer from it the underlying attitudes that control and color the story or poem as a whole. ♡ The tone might be formal or informal, playful, ironic, optimistic, pessimistic, or sensual. Suggests an attitude toward the subject which is communicated by the words the author chooses. the attitude a literary work takes toward its subject and theme Part of the range of tone includes playful, somber, serious, casual, formal, ironic. Important because it designates the mood and effect of a work. 108. Trochaic a metrical form in which the basic foot is a trochee. 109. Trochee a metrical foot consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one ("Homer"). 110. Word order the positioning of words in relation to one another

Plot

16
Plot is what happens in a story, but action itself doesn’t constitute plot. Plot is created by the manner in which the writer arranges and organizes particular actions in a meaningful way. It’s useful to think of plot as a chain reaction, where a sequence of events causes other events to happen. When reading a work of fiction, keep in mind that the author has selected one line of action from the countless possibilities of action available to her. Trying to understand why the author chose a particular line of action over another leads to a better understanding of how plot is working in a story This does not mean that events happen in chronological order; the author may present a line of action that happens after the story’s conclusion, or she may present the reader with a line of action that is still to be determined. Authors can’t present all the details related to an action, so certain details are brought to the forefront, while others are omitted. The author imbues the story with meaning by a selection of detail. The cause-and-effect connection between one event and another should be logical and believable, because the reader will lose interest if the relation between events don’t seem significant. As Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren wrote in Understanding Fiction, fiction is interpretive: “Every story must indicate some basis for the relation among its parts, for the story itself is a particular writer’s way of saying how you can make sense of human experience.” If a sequence of events is merely reflexive, then plot hasn’t come into play. Plot occurs when the writer examines human reactions to situations that are always changing. How does love, longing, regret and ambition play out in a story? It depends on the character the writer has created. Because plot depends on character, plot is what the character does. Plot also fluctuates, so that something is settled or thrown off balance in the end, or both. Traditionally, a story begins with some kind of description that then leads to a complication. The complication leads up to a crisis point where something must change. This is the penultimate part of the story, before the climax, or the most heightened moment of a story. In some stories, the climax is followed by a denouement, or resolution of the climax. Making events significant in plot begins with establishing a strong logic that connects the events. Insofar as plot reveals some kind of human value or some idea about the meaning of experience, plot is related to theme. Character Character can’t be separated from action, since we come to understand a character by what she does. In stories, characters drive the plot. The plot depends on the characters' situations and how they respond to it. The actions that occur in the plot are only believable if the character is believable. For most traditional fiction, characters are divided into the following categories:
  

Protagonist: the main or central character or hero (Harry Potter) Antagonist: opponent or enemy of the protagonist (Dark Lord Voldemort) Foil Character: a character(s) who helps readers better understand another character, usually the protagonist. For example in the Harry Potter series, Hermione and Ron are Harry's friends, but they also help readers better understand the protagonist, Harry. Ron and Hermione represent personalities that in many ways are opposites - Ron is a bit lazy and insecure; Hermione is driven and

17 confident. Harry exists in the middle, thus illustrating his inner conflict and immaturity at the beginning of the book series. Because character is so important to plot and fiction, it’s important for the writer to understand her characters as much as possible. Though the writer should know everything there is to know about her character, she should present her knowledge of the characters indirectly, through dialogue and action. Still, sometimes a summary of a character’s traits needs to be given. For example, for characters who play the supporting cast in a story, direct description of the character’s traits keeps the story from slowing down. Beginning and intermediate level writers frequently settle for creating types, rather than highly individualized, credible characters. Be wary of creating a character who is a Loser With A Good Heart, The Working Class Man Who Is Trapped By Tough Guy Attitudes, The Lonely Old Lady With A Dog, etc. At the same time, keep in mind that all good characters are, in a sense, types. Often, in creative writing workshops from beginning to advanced levels, the instructor asks, “Whose story is this?” This is because character is the most important aspect of fiction. In an intermediate level workshop, it would be more useful to introduce a story in which it is more difficult to pick out the main character from the line-up. It provides an opportunity for intermediate level fiction writers to really explore character and the factors that determine what is at stake, and for whom. Conflict depends on character, because readers are interested in the outcomes of people’s lives, but may be less interested in what’s at stake for a corporation, a bank, or an organization. Characters in conflict with one another make up fiction. Hypothetically, a character can come into conflict with an external force, like poverty, or a fire. But there is simply more opportunity to explore the depth and profundity in relationships between people, because people are so complex that conflict between characters often gets blurred with a character’s conflict with herself The short story, as in all literary forms, including poetry and creative nonfiction, depends on the parts of the poem or story or essay making some kind of sense as a whole. The best example in fiction is character. The various aspects of a character should add up to some kind of meaningful, larger understanding of the character. If the various aspects of a character don’t add up, the character isn’t believable. This doesn’t mean that your characters have to be sensible. Your characters may have no common sense at all, but we have to understand the character and why she is that way. The character’s motives and actions have to add up, however conflicted, marginalized or irrational they may be. Contributors:Kenny Tanemura. Summary: This resource discusses some terms and techniques that are useful to the beginning and intermediate fiction writer, and to instructors who are teaching fiction at these levels. The distinction between beginning and intermediate writing is provided for both students and instructors, and numerous sources are listed for more information about fiction tools and how to use them. A sample assignment sheet is also provided for instructors. This resource covers the basics of plot, character, theme, conflict, and point-of-view. Fiction Writing Basics 2 Theme

18
If character is the most important aspect of fiction, then theme is the “meaning” of a story. The “meaning” of a story shouldn’t be mistaken with topic, however. What the writer makes of the topic constitutes theme Some literary critics have claimed that theme is a lost art in contemporary American fiction because we are not likely to ask of a story, “What does it add up to?” We are more likely to make sure the cause-and-effect points are rational and make sense. We appreciate meaningful moments of insight in a story, but sometimes balk at asking big questions. Such questions are considered old-fashioned, and the out-dated qualities of closure and epiphany have diminished the importance of theme. Yet readers usually search for answers and meaning in literature, and perhaps this is one reason why readers have lost interest in contemporary American short fiction. Unless this quandary is dealt with, classroom prompted stories may fail to be memorable. Theme makes a story memorable. Part of the reason that theme is not discussed very much in writing workshops is that the primary problem with many stories is lack of coherence. For example, it's difficult for the story to succeed if the character or the plot is not credible, so the workshop is devoted to fixing the problem. While these problems do need to be fixed, fixing the problems doesn’t make for a memorable reading experience. Theme often depends on a vision of life that the writer starts out with before she begins the story. Therefore, theme may be beyond the realm of the creative writing workshop, since workshops are usually centered around beginning or intermediate level poets and writers who have not yet discovered their vision of life. Still, great fiction depends on theme, and theme is sometimes a lost art. Jerome Stern’s suggestion, in Making Shapely Fiction, is an important reminder to all beginning and intermediate writers: “You can’t avoid meaning even if you want to.” Conflict, Crisis, Resolution Conflict and crisis are important to fiction because most readers find trouble interesting. If characters are best friends who always get along or have no age and personality difference, readers might not find them compelling. If characters do not have internal or external conflict to meet, deal with, and overcome (or fail to overcome), then readers may find the story uninteresting. In addition, conflict can be an effective device for driving plot. In traditional patterns of fiction, readers are introduced to characters and then something occurs that challenges the main character(s) (protagonist). This complication is usually some sort of conflict or crisis the characters must face, deal with, and/or overcome. The conflict can be internal: a character's battle with her depression. Or the problem can be external: the protagonist dealing with her enemy, the antagonist. Or the conflict can encompass both internal and external elements: the protagonist must first deal with her depression in order to overcome the conflict with the antagonist. In order to overcome the crisis, the protagonist must make some sort of important decision or take some kind of action; this is called the penultimate part of the plot. The protagonist's decision to deal with the crisis then leads to the climax of the story, which shows the reader the results of the protagonist's choice. Following the climax, the crisis is usually resolved (this part of the plot is called the denouement), and then the story concludes. During the conclusion, readers learn how the protagonist has changed (grown, learned, remained the same, become more evil, etc.) as a result of the crisis.

19
Point of View Point of view refers to the perspective the author uses to tell the story. Though authors may switch and combine points of view, in traditional fiction there exists three points of view: Third Person: In third person, the author tells the story. But the author decides if the events will be objectively given, or if she can go into the mind of every character; to what degree she can interpret that character; to what degree she can know the past and the future; and how many authorial judgments will be allowed. For example, Chekhov uses Third person limited omniscient in his story, “Vanka.” Chekhov tells us when Vanka is thinking, but he doesn’t go into detail about what Vanka is thinking about. Chekhov lets the action show what Vanka is thinking about. If Chekhov had written the story in third person omniscient, then we would know everything that was on Vanka’s mind, and we would be given a great deal of interpretation about why Vanka acts the way he acts. If Chekhov had chosen to write “Vanka” in Third person objective, we would only get those details that could be outwardly observed. Vanka would not pause to think twice about how he should begin his letter to his grandfather. We might see him lift his pen, and then start writing again, but nothing more. Second Person: Second person is unusual in fiction and is more common in poetry. In second person, the character is not referred to as he or she, or by name, but rather as “you.” If Chekhov had written “Vanka” in second person, it would begin like this: “You, a boy of nine, who had been for three months apprenticed to Alyahin the shoemaker, were sitting up on Christmas Eve.” First Person: Authors use first person when a narrator who is also a character in the story speaks. Baldwin’s story, “Sonny’s Blues,” is written in first person, and begins: “I read about it in the paper, in the subway, on my way to work.” The narrator who speaks is Sonny’s older brother, and he is also the main character in the story. Suggested Reading
      

Charles Baxter. Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction. Graywolf Press, 1997. Janet Burroway. Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. HarperCollins, 1994. Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren. Understanding Fiction. Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1959. Rust Hills. Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular. Mariner Books, 2000. Heather Sellers. The Practice of Creative Writing: A Guide for Students. Bedford/St. Martins, 2008. David Starkey. Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief. Bedford/St. Martins, 2009. Jerome Stern. Making Shapely Fiction. W.W. Norton & Company, 1991.

Contributors:Kenny Tanemura. Summary: This resource discusses some terms and techniques that are useful to the beginning and intermediate fiction writer, and to instructors who are teaching fiction at these levels. The distinction between beginning and intermediate writing is provided for both students and instructors, and numerous sources are listed for more information about fiction tools and how to use them. A sample

20 assignment sheet is also provided for instructors. This resource covers the basics of plot, character, theme, conflict, and point-of-view. Fiction Writing Basics 3 - Sample Assignments Sample Assignments These five exercises are adapted from Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction. 1. Take a simple but specific political, religious, scientific, or moral idea. It may be one already available to us in a formula of words, or it may be one of your own, but it should be possible to state it in less than ten words. Write a short story that illustrates the idea. Do not state the idea at all. Your goals are two: that the idea should be perfectly clear to us so that it could be extracted as a moral or message, and that we should feel we have experienced it. 2. Take as your title a common proverb or maxim, such as power corrupts, honesty is the best policy, walk softly and carry a big stick, haste makes waste. Let the story make the title ironic, that is, explore a situation in which the advice or statement does not apply. 3. Taking as a staring point some incident or situation from your own life, write a story with one of the following themes: nakedness, blindness, thirst, noise, borders, chains, clean wounds, washing, the color green, dawn. The events themselves may be minor (a story about a slipping bicycle chain may ultimately be more effective than one about a chain gang). Once you have decided on the structure of the story, explore everything you think, know, or believe about your chosen theme and try to incorporate that theme in imagery, dialogue, event, character, and so forth. 4. Identity the belief you hold most passionately and profoundly. Write a short story that explores an instance in which this belief is untrue. 5. Write a short story that you have wanted to write all term and have not written because you knew it was too big for you and you would fail. You may fail. Write it anyway. These eight exercises are adapted from Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction. 1. The playwright Bertolt Brecht had over his desk a sign that read, “The Truth is Concrete.” You will notice, however, that this sentence is an abstraction (he didn’t mean that the truth is cement). In your journal, cluster the word “concrete.” Write a passage about it. When you’re finished, check whether you have used any abstractions or generalizations that could be effectively replaced by concrete details. 2. Paint a self-portrait in words. Prop a mirror in front of you and describe, in the most focused sight details you can manage, twenty or thirty things that you see. Then try to distance yourself from your portrait and choose the two or three details that most vividly and concisely convey the image you want to present. What attitude do you want the reader to have? Should we find you funny, intense, pitiable, vain, dedicated? Add a detail of sound, touch, smell, or taste that will help convey the image. 3. Write a passage using significant details and active verbs about a character who conveys one of the following:

21
     

belongs to another country complete harmony brains are fried out of control kittenish or puppy-like the absolute boss.

4. Write a description of a rural landscape, a city street, a room, or the desk in front of you. Use only active verbs to describe the inanimate as well as animate things. Avoid the pathetic fallacy. 5. Write about a boring situation. Convince us that the situation is boring and that your characters are bored or boring or both. Fascinate us. Or make us laugh. Use no generalizations, no judgments, and no verbs in the passive voice. 6. Write about one of the following and suggest the rhythm of the subject in your prose: a machine, a vehicle, a piece of music, sex, something that goes in a circle, an avalanche. 7. Write about a character who begins at a standstill, works up to great speed, and comes to a halt again. The rush may be purely emotional, or it may represent the speed of the vehicle, of pursuit, of sport, or whatever you choose. The halt may be abrupt or gradual. In any case, let the prose rhythm reflect the changes. Poetry in Writing Courses One of the most important keys to understanding poetry language is music, and often the role of music in poetry is not shown to students in an introductory course, because emphasis tends to be placed on workshop and reading, with the idea that one learns how to write by reading and receiving critiques. However, without an understanding of music in poetry (rhythm, lineation, meter), students are inclined to not absorb the most important qualities of poetry while reading, and to critique and receive critiques without a basic understanding of the language with which they are working. For this reason, we’ll begin with a brief description of one aspect of music in poetry, lineation, before going into the meaning of metaphor, simile, personification, apostrophe and imagery. Of course there are more tools involved and accessible to the poet, but scholars/poets generally believe these are the most important to get things started. We'll close with a short note on the problem of “ambiguity” in poetry by beginners. Lineation Lineation dictates when a line of poetry stops and a new lines begins. Often, beginning poets write down impressions, randomly break them into lines, and turn them in as poems. Asking even beginning students to write several drafts of a poem that are lineated in different ways will help them understand how rhythm is created through lineation For example, the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai uses a fairly iambic beat (an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable). He consistently breaks the lines where the pause naturally occurs,

22 in order to mimic the pattern of ordinary speech because he wants to capture the heightened meaning within the ordinary: A man in his life has no time. When he loses he seeks When he finds he forgets When he forgets he loves When he loves he begins forgetting. Amichai also uses repetition to convey a sense of truth and the inevitability of loss and forgetting. Amichai is creating a kind of poetry logic by beginning each line with “When...” to show the connection between seeking and forgetting and loving. If the poem were lineated in a different way, it would lose its force: A man in his life has no time. When he loses, he seeks, when he finds he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves he begins forgetting. In this version, the connections are broken, and the cohesive, accruing force of the rhythm is lost. Also, because the last line is longer than the rest, it is given more importance, and the emphasis is placed on forgetting. This is fine, except that Amichai is trying to get rid of the hierarchies to show how everything is connected and equally important. Metaphor, Simile, Personification, Apostrophe A metaphor is a direct comparison between one thing or person to another, as in Pablo Neruda’s line from Twenty Love Poems: “You were a gray beret and the whole being at peace.” Because Neruda is saying that the “You” in the poem is a gray beret, the comparison in metaphor is more immediate than it is in simile. Simile is a comparison using the word “like” to connect one thing to another, as in Derek Walcott’s “Crusoe’s Island” – “The chapel’s cowbell / Like God’s anvil.” The chapel’s cowbell is compared to God’s anvil. Good metaphors and similes bring in larger parts of the world into the miniature of the poem. Neruda hints at something more than human and the condition of “peace,” to make the poem expand beyond a simple address to a beloved. Walcott begins with the simple image of a cowbell and, through comparison, brings in the idea of God’s will shaping and creating things. Walcott doesn’t say “The chapel’s cowbell is a heavy force that shapes the world.” He wants to charge his comparison with the widest possible range of meaning and resonance. Personification is when an object or thing is given human attributes, as in Odysseus Elytis’ poem “Aegean Melancholy” — “And the sea playing on its concertina.” The sea in this line is personified as

23 a musician, playing an accordion-like instrument. The sea playing on its piano would be far less interesting, because the piano, and the sea are already very familiar images to the reader. The contrast between the already familiar image of the sea, with the idiosyncratic image of the concertina, is more surprising. Also, a concertina is played by squeezing it from both sides, and pulling it outward, letting it expand, much like the motion of waves. There are similarities and striking differences all within this one comparison. Apostrophe is a direct address to a person or thing, as in Gu Cheng’s poem, Forever Parted: Graveyard, which is written to the dead Red Guards who are buried near the Cemetery of the Revolutionary Martyrs in China: “Your hands were / soft, your nails clean, / the hands of those who’d opened schoolbooks / and storybooks, books about heroes.” Apostrophe allows Gu Cheng to write about the dead with immediacy by addressing them directly, and imagining what their lives were like. Imagery. Ordinarily, imagery is stressed more than anything in beginning creative writing workshops. Concrete language anchors the poem, engages the five senses, and keeps the poem from becoming too vague. While simply plugging in imagery to fulfill an image quota does not make music or poetry language happen, it is important for the beginning writer to learn to incorporate as many concrete images as possible. Here are a few lines from Shu Ting’s “The Singing Flower” that make the abstract experience of exile a concrete, palpable experience for the reader: I walk to the square through the zig-zag streets, back To the pumpkin shack I guarded, the work in the barley fields, deep in the desert (of exile). Shu Ting doesn’t say “When I was in high-school during the Cultural Revolution I was taken away to the countryside because my father was considered a political nonconformist.” Rather, she makes that experience in the countryside come alive with specific images like the pumpkin shack and the barley fields, the zig-zag streets. Also, images provide larger possibilities for making rhythm, and establishing stronger metaphors and similes. For more on imagery, please visit the Image in Poetry OWL resource. This source explains where images come from, how they are made, and what their function is in poetry. The problem of Ambiguity in the beginner’s writing: beginners often mistake vagueness or lack of meaning or music in poetry as “ambiguity,” or “open-endedness” that allows the reader to imagine the rest, to fill in the blanks. In most cases, the poem is simply unclear, uncertain, or poorly written. Of course, ambiguity is important to poetry, since poetry excludes almost everything to say what it says. But at this stage, the beginning writer should focus on music, metaphor, simile, imagery, etc. and wait until she has reached a Mid-to-Advanced course in creative writing to explore how ambiguity works in poetry. Understanding how to read and write ambiguity is one of the most difficult, and necessary, features of poetry.

Introduction

24
As students move into mid and advanced level writing courses, they will be expected to read and write more complex poetry. This resource should help students as they transition into these more complex ideas. Ambiguity Without an understanding of the uses of ambiguity, the beginning writer will find it difficult to move on to an intermediate or advanced level, because ambiguity is essential to the wordplay and music that make up a poem. The critic, William Empson, wrote a study called “The 7 Types of Ambiguity.” This is a scholarly work and not easily applicable to writing. But the point he makes about ambiguity is important for mid to advanced level poets. Empson says that ambiguity could happen in many ways. For example, when two or more meanings are resolved into one. Also, if two things are compared or set against each other as opposites, but still yield multiple kinds of comparisons and oppositions, the poem is ambiguous. Another kind of ambiguity Empson talks about is when two seemingly unconnected meanings are given simultaneously. Contradictions within a single poem also lead to ambiguity. Adam Zagajewski’s poem, “Betrayal,” is ambiguous throughout: The greatest delight, I sense, is hidden sublimely in the act of betrayal which can be equal only to fidelity. To betray a woman, friends, an idea, to see new light in the eyes of distant shadows. But choices are limited: other women, other ideas, the enemies of our long-standing friends. If only we could encounter some quite different otherness, settle in a country which has no name, touch a woman before she is born, lose our memories, meet a God other than our own. A contradiction is apparent in the first 3 lines, because “betrayal” and “fidelity,” two opposites, are put on the same plane. There are two unconnected meanings: 1) that betrayal is equal to fidelity;

25 and 2) that betrayal can yield illumination or help us “see new light in the eyes / of distant shadows.” This is the kind of ambiguity we find in Shakespeare’s soliloquies. A mind wrestling with itself, unknown to itself, trying to resolve something, is enacted effectively in “Betrayal.” While two disparate ideas are being compared here, betrayal and fidelity, a multitude of other comparisons are teased out in the process. By putting the betrayal of “a woman, friends, an idea” on the same plane, Zagajewski forces us to question whether or not a woman, friends and ideas have the same value for the speaker, and in life. And what about nationality, love, memory, God—do these warrant the same attention? In a way, the multiple meanings are resolved into one in this poem, because the last few lines seem to be about the human longing for limitless possibility, which becomes the one meaning that the poem is seeking to become. Zagajewski is a master of ambiguity, so it is highly unlikely that the comparisons and contradictions and resolutions in his poem happened by accident. It is clear that he wasn’t merely trying to sketch something vague for the reader to fill in. On the whole, it is more fun to read a poem that directs us with craft and intention, wit and skill, and that guides us to particular kinds of ambiguities that strike the poet as exciting, interesting and necessary. Even professional poets with MFAs struggle with using ambiguity effectively. The best way for a mid to advanced level poet to begin to understand ambiguity is simply to acknowledge how important it is to poetry, and how difficult it is to learn. Reading as much as possible with an eye on how ambiguity is working in good poetry is also helpful. Meter While writing in meter is beyond the scope of an introductory course on creative writing, it becomes essential in mid to advanced level courses. Meter goes back to the idea of music. If poetry is music made to create a separate language, then meter is the key principle in making music. Because of space limitations, I won’t go into a lengthy description of meter and metrical patterns, as they are widely available elsewhere. Mary Oliver’s “Rules for the Dance” is a handy and easy-to-use resource. Meter consists of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry and how they are arranged or organized. The most common metrical form is iambic pentameter, which has five stressed syllables, and five unstressed syllables, per line. Each line begins with an unstressed syllable, followed by a stressed syllable. This pattern repeats five times in a single line. The common line in iambic pentameter, therefore, consists of ten syllables. The placement of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem determines the tone, feeling and effect of the poem, because the poem is first and foremost rhythmic. Iambic pentameter, for example, establishes a calm, regular tone that resembles speech, as in these lines from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 23: As an unperfect actor on the stage, Who with his fear is put besides his part, Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage, Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart;

26
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say The perfect ceremony of love’s rite, And in mine own love’s strength seem to decay The trochee, on the other hand, reverses the iambic beat---a stressed syllable is followed by an unstressed syllable. The trochaic line has the opposite effect of the natural, iambic beat. It sounds disruptive, artificial and energetic, as in these lines from Macbeth: Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble... Many poets have mixed the iambic with the trochaic in the same line. Experiment with the various effects of different patterns, until you have a sense of what each sounds and feels like. The OWL's summary of sound and meter is a good resource. This source is a detailed explanation of how to scan meter, and write in meter. Form It is essential for mid to advanced level poets to experiment with form. This doesn’t mean you have to write a sonnet in iambic pentameter. There are countless forms from around the world you can experiment with. Ron Padgett’s “Handbook of Poetic Forms” is an excellent guide. Write sound poetry, acrostic poetry, sestinas, villanelles, canzones. Form is a good way to touch base with the history of poetry, and forces you to pay closer attention to language. Revision Many beginning poets don’t revise, or don’t have enough of what Kenneth Koch calls a “poetry base” to understand revision. But for mid to advanced level poets, revision is essential. Generally, a good poem is not a result of writing, but of revision. It is difficult to hear the music in the process of writing. Go back and experiment with different ways to break the lines, using fresher metaphors, similes, or images. Read the poem aloud to hear if the rhythm sounds right. If you were trying to be ambiguous, were you precise enough to make the ambiguity clear? Perhaps you’ll find that chunks of your poem don’t belong there, or that more writing is required. Maybe the poem calls for couplets, and you currently have it in quatrains. Whatever the case may be, the true test of learning the poetry language is the ability to revise and write several drafts of each poem, so that you learn by trial and error what works and doesn’t work. Sample Assignment Sheet Some teachers have found it helpful to introduce poets and poems for beginning and mid to advanced level students to imitate. This gives them the opportunity to read and discuss a poem, while at the same time generating their own poems. Wislawa Szymborska’s poem “Unexpected Meeting” is a good example:

27
We are very polite to each other, insist it’s nice meeting after all these years. Our tigers drink milk. Our hawks walk on the ground. Our sharks drown in water. Our wolves yawn in front of the open cage. Our serpents have shaken off lightning, monkeys---inspiration, peacocks---feathers. The bats---long ago now---have flown out of our hair. We fall silent in mid-phrase, smiling beyond salvation. Our people have nothing to say. Szymborska is famous for writing about particular objects and creatures that are neglected. Her work also tries to incorporate neglected feelings, and she is skeptical and ironic. J.D. McClatchy characterized the tone of her poetry as “detached sympathy.” Try to write a poem based on a very particular event, such as Szymborska’s poem about a reunion with friends. There is little that is particular about such a reunion, but the comical moment of “smiling beyond salvation,” and the idea that creatures are more articulate than humans, is very particular. It is likely that Szymborska does not go around having these idiosyncratic thoughts all day, but in her poetry, she pays special attention to those thoughts that are nearly forgotten, or dismissed as trivial. Consider some thought or idea that you would ordinarily dismiss as random or trivial, and write a poem around it. Try to use the random or trivial thought to make a statement about life, human relations, or some other big topic. *** The Brazilian poet Joao Cabral de Melo Neto is known for assimilating the style of pop song lyrics into his poems. He writes his own lyrics in a very abstract language. A good example is his poem “End of the World”: At the end of the melancholy world men read the newspapers.

28
Indifferent men eating oranges that flame like the sun. They gave me an apple to remind me of death. I know that cities telegraph asking for kerosene. The veil I saw flying fell in the desert. No one will write the final poem about this private twelve o’clock world. Instead of the last judgment, what worries me is the final dream. Joao Cabral de Melo Neto, unlike Wislawa Szymborska, doesn’t try to say anything about life or the world. He tries to bring poetry closer to what he considers its original form as song, and he thinks of his words as the material of song. Often in pop songs, the words are elliptical and don’t make much sense, but they resonate in a mysterious way. Write a poem that doesn’t make any logical sense or doesn’t add up to a final meaning; think about the way lyrics in pop songs suggest meaning without directly stating it or trying to explain it. Additional Resources for Poetry in Writing Courses Online Resources
  

Bernadette Mayer’s Writing Experiments: A list of writing exercises and prompts that are useful in getting started Charles Bernstein’s Experiments: An excellent avant-garde list of writing exercises and prompts for poets of all levels poets.org: An online, comprehensive resource from the Academy of American Poets

Suggested Reading
   

Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux, Editors. The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1997. Kenneth Koch. Making Your Own Days: The Pleasures of Reading and Writing Poetry. Touchstone, 1998. Mary Oliver. A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry. Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994. Mary Oliver. Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.

29


Ron Padgett, Editor. Handbook of Poetic Forms. Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 20act00.

Definition
.......In verse and poetry, meter is a recurring pattern of stressed (accented, or long) and unstressed (unaccented, or short) syllables in lines of a set length. For example, suppose a line contains ten syllables (set length) in which the first syllable is unstressed, the second is stressed, the third is unstressed, the fourth is stressed, and so on until the line reaches the tenth syllable. The line would look like the following one (the opening line of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18) containing a pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables. The unstressed syllables are in blue and the stressed syllables in red. Shall I com PARE thee TO a SUM mer’s DAY? Each pair of unstressed and stressed syllables makes up a unit called a foot. The line contains five feet in all, as shown next: ....1.............. 2.................3..............4................ 5 Shall.I..|..com.PARE..|..thee.TO..|..a.SUM..|..mer’s DAY?

Types of Feet and Meter
.......A foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (as above) is called an iamb. Because there are five feet in the line, all iambic, the meter of the line is iambic pentameter. The prefix pent- in pentameter means five (Greek: penta, five). Pent is joined to words or word roots to form new words indicating five. For example, the Pentagon in Washington has five sides, the Pentateuch of the Bible consists of five books, and a pentathlon in a sports event has five events. Thus, poetry lines with five feet are in pentameter. .......Some feet in verse and poetry have different stress patterns. For example, one type of foot consists of two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one. Another type consists of a stressed one followed by an unstressed one. In all, there are six types of feet:
.

Iamb (Iambic) Trochee (Trochaic) Spondee (Spondaic) Anapest (Anapestic) Dactyl (Dactylic) Pyrrhic (Noun and Adjective) Amphibrach (Amphibrachic)
.

Unstressed + Stressed Stressed + Unstressed Stressed + Stressed Unstressed + Unstressed + Stressed Stressed + Unstressed + Unstressed Unstressed + Unstressed Unstressed + Stressed + Unstressed

Two Syllables Two Syllables Two Syllables Three Syllables Three Syllables Two Syllables Three Syllables

The length of lines—and thus the meter—can also vary. Following are the types of meter and the line length:
.

Monometer Dimeter Trimeter Tetrameter Pentameter Hexameter Heptameter Octameter

One Foot Two Feet Three Feet Four Feet Five Feet Six Feet Seven Feet Eight Feet

30

.

.......Meter is determined by the type of foot and the number of feet in a line. Thus, a line with three iambic feet is known as iambic trimeter. A line with six dactylic feet is known as dactylic hexameter. .   

Examples of Metric Formats

.......Following are additional examples feet and meter combinations. Iambic Pentameter
From "On His Blindness," by John Milton

1.............2............. 3...............4..............5 When I..|..con SID..|..er HOW..|..my LIFE..|..is SPENT 1.................2.............. 3..................4...................4 Ere HALF..|..my DAYS..|..in THIS..|..dark WORLD..|..and WIDE Mixed Meter With Iambic Feet
From "Intimations of Immortality," by William Wordsworth

 

.........1...............2.................3.....................4......................5 There WAS..|..a TIME..|..when MEAD..|..ow, GROVE,..|..and STREAM, .........1................2...............3................4. The EARTH,..|..and EV..|..ry COM..|..mon SIGHT, .....1..............2 To ME..|..did SEEM ......1..............2.............3...............4 Ap PAR..|..elled IN..|..cel EST..|..ial LIGHT, ........1..............2.................3................4.................5 The GLOR..|..y AND..|..the FRESH..|..ness OF..|..a DREAM. ..1.............2.............3.............4..................5 It IS..|..not NOW..|..as IT..|..hath BEEN..|..of YORE; ........1....................2.............3 Turn WHERE..|..so E'ER..|..I MAY, .......1..............2 By NIGHT..|..or DAY, ..........1...............2.................3................4................5..............6 The THINGS..|..which I..|..have SEEN..|..I NOW..|..can SEE..|..no MORE.

Iambic Pentameter

Iambic Tetrameter

Iambic Dimeter

Iambic Tetrameter

Iambic Pentameter

Iambic Pentameter

Iambic Trimeter

Iambic Dimeter

Iambic Hexameter

 

Anapestic Tetrameter
From "The Destruction of Sennacherib," by George Gordon Lord Byron

........1.......................2..........................3......................4 The As SYR..|..ian came DOWN..|..like the WOLF..|..on the FOLD,

31
...... ........1.......................2..........................3....................4 And his CO..|..horts were GLEAM..|..ing in PUR..|..ple and GOLD;   Trochaic Tetrameter
From "The Tyger," by William Blake

.........1.........................2.............................3.......................4 And the SHEEN..|..of their SPEARS..|..was like STARS..|..on the SEA



....1.............2...............3.................4 TY ger..|..TY ger..|..BURN ning..|..BRIGHT ....1...............2...............3............4 IN the..|..FOR..ests..|..OF the..|..NIGHT
See Catalexis below for an explanation of why the fourth foot in each line has only one syllable.

   

Catalexis and Acatalexis
.......The lines from "The Tyger" contain trochaic feet—consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable. Notice, however, that the final foot of each line is incomplete, containing only a stressed syllable. An incomplete foot at the end of a line is called catalexis. Thus, bright and night are called catalectic feet. The meter of these lines is trochaic tetrameter— tetrameter because they each contain three complete feet and one incomplete foot, for a total of four feet. A complete foot at the end of a line is called acatalexis. The final feet in the stanza under Mixed Meter With Iambic Feet are all acatalectic.

  

Common Meter
.......Common meter is a metric format consisting of a four-line stanza with four iambic feet in the first and third lines and three iambic feet in the second and fourth lines. Emily Dickinson used common meter in many of her poems. Following is an example: Two swimmers wrestled on the spar Until the morning sun, When one turned smiling to the land. O God, the other one! The stray ships passing spied a face Upon the waters borne, With eyes in death still begging raised, And hands beseeching thrown. Here is graphic illustration of the verse format of the poem. First Stanza ......1.....................2...................3...............4 Two SWIM..|..mers WREST..|..led ON..|..the SPAR.........................(iambic tetrameter) ....1..................2...............3 Un TIL..|..the MORN..|..ing SUN,....................................................(iambic trimeter) .......1...................2.................3.............4 When ONE..|..turned SMI..|..ling TO..|..the LAND.............................(iambic tetrameter) .....1................2..............3 O GOD,..|..the OTH..|..er ONE!........................................................(iambic trimeter) Second Stanza .........1..................2...................3.................4 The STRAY..|..ships PAS..|..sing SPIED..|..a FACE...........................(iambic tetrameter)



       

32
    ....1...............2..................3 U PON..|..the WAT..|..ers BORNE,....................................................(iambic trimeter) ........1..................2................3.........../.......4 With EYES..|..in DEATH..|..still BEG..|..ging RAISED,.........................(iambic tetrameter) ........1.....................2...................3 And HANDS..|..be SEECH..|..ing THROWN........................................(iambic trimeter)

Terms to Know
 Ballad: Poem that tells a story, sometimes in common meter. Blank Verse: Lines in iambic pentameter that do not rhyme. Caesura: Pause or break in a line of poetry, often occurring in the middle of the line. Free Verse: Poetry written without a metrical or stanzaic format or a regular rhyme scheme. Metrics: Art of writing in meter. Prose: The language of everyday conversation and of novels, essays, and other forms of writing that differ from poetry and verse. Prosody: The study of meter, stanza forms, and the structure of poems. Refrain: In a poem or hymn, a line or several lines repeated at intervals. Stanza: Group of lines that make up one of the divisions of a poem. Stave: Stanza. Verse: (1) One line of a poem with meter. (2) Lines of a play written in a metric format. Poetry is often called verse; however, not all verse is poetry.

Pattern and Variation in Poetry Pattern and Variation, Generally Considered There are two factors battling for poets' attention when they sit down to write a poem: chaos and control. Classically, these factors are attributed to Dionysus (the Dionysian or chaotic aspects) and Apollo (the Apollonian or formal aspect of poetry.) Just as the two Greek gods of poetry were Apollo and Dionysus, any great poem has elements of both chaos and control. A poem uses the formal (sound and visual) aspects of language to control the chaotic (meaningful and expressive) aspects of language. Like the lead bars used to control a nuclear reaction on the verge of exploding, form is used to control and curb language to make it digestible, more powerful and contained for the reader. Since, as everyday language users, we are probably more familiar with the Dionysian frustrations of language (who has not uttered the phrase, "I don't know; it's hard to put into words"?) our focus will be on the Apollonian or formal aspects of a poem. This doesn't mean that we should not let some chaos into the poem, of course (both Apollo and Dionysus have to have their say, after all), but since a poem is a structured thing and we can't "control" the chaotic aspect, per se by any means than by imposing structure on it, then it makes sense that we should talk largely about the structural, formal aspects, as those are the parts that we can control. And although we are talking about form and structure, it should be said that too much control (Apollo having too much say) risks forcing the poem into shape, and the poem created in such circumstances will very often be stilted and the structure will weigh the poem down. It's a risk we have to take, but being aware that a heavy-handed structure can ruin a poem just as fast as a lack of structure will hopefully keep our writing balanced and in that delicate middle ground where the best poetry happens.

33
In the making of a poem, pattern is one of the most important ways of building form and structure, and one of the most difficult to master. In classical verse, pattern was established by using a traditional form and meter, where lines had set numbers of beats and rhymes and alliteration came at predictable places within the line (typically at the end in the case of rhyme, within the line in the case of alliteration in Anglo-Saxon and Norse poetry). Nowadays, as most readers and writers of poetry know, most poetry written in English is free verse, rather than in traditional forms, and this presents a unique set of problems. The Unique Problem of Free Verse Since free verse poets cannot rely on the authority of an accepted "classical" form, they must develop an authority through consistency and pattern and variance. The word "authority" may prick the ears of many poets, as it seems too definitive and demanding. All it means here is that the poem is a made thing, a built thing, if you will, and its "authority" is its commanding presence or ability to accurately relay itself to the reader. A standard reader feels authority in a good poem more than thinks about it, and a writer builds a poem to the needs of itself—its authority comes through when the poet has found the poem's form. If we "read like writers" then we must think a lot about how a poem derives its authority, as we set out to do something similar in our own work. What this all means is that a solid study of pattern and variation in a poem is necessary if a poet intends to make a poem that is sturdy in its structure without relying on an overtly consistent (read: strictly metered and rhymed) form. Especially for free verse poets, who can't rely on conventions to derive their authority. The poet should always be asking "what is the best vehicle to relay this poem?" When talking about pattern, there is a lot of crossover to a discussion of classical form and meter. Pattern and variation are general categories that include the more traditional subjects of scansion, sound and prosody that deal with the sound of the poem (what we'll call aural pattern) but also the matters of how the poem looks on the page (what we'll call visual pattern). So two kinds of pattern will be evaluated, and both give the poet and opportunity to assert Apollo's hand onto a poem at an opportune time. But before getting into specifics, we must define what we mean by pattern, generally, and how variation effects a poem once a pattern is established. Contributors:Sean M. Conrey, Dana Lynn Driscoll. Summary: A brief rundown on the basic concepts of pattern and variation and how they can be used when writing poems. Pattern, Generally Let's take a few definitions of the word pattern to see what it typically thought of it: 1. The fifth definition from the World Book Dictionary gives us "the arrangement and use of content in particular forms, styles, etc., in a work of literature, music, etc." 2. Dictionary.com, "5a: Form and style in an artistic work or body of artistic works." 3. Perhaps the most interesting one for us is found in an unexpected place, the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, "a recognizably consistent series of related acts."

34
Each definition adds something valuable to our discussion. The first tells us that pattern is an arrangement of forms, and the use of the word "form" should not be overlooked since we are talking about the "formal," the structural (Apollonian,) aspects of poetry here, after all. The second reiterates the importance of form, but adds that, in this instance, it is the application of form in an "artistic work." The addition of "art" means that pattern is not accidental, but is performed by the artist (the poet, who, through practice, learns to contend with particular formal issues and applies them thereafter when the time is right). The third definition adds something related to the second, which is that pattern is a series (especially the aural aspects, which are delivered in time, like music), and as a series there is a either a predictable repetition, addition, or subtraction of a particular aspect. A pattern then may not be a simple repetition, but can also be a predictable change within a series. As in math, where the series 2,4,6,8,10 is predictable but not simply repetitive, a pattern in poetry may take a similar form. We also get in this definition that a pattern is a series of related "acts," and those acts (as artistic acts performed by the poet) are again not accidental, but deliberative poetic actions that help convey the poem to the audience. A sidenote would have to admit that with practice, the poet begins to perform these actions without the explicit thoughts that the beginner needs. This is comparable to a dancer who practices a step thousands of times so that when the time comes at the recital, her deliberate thoughts are no longer a burden and she can perform gracefully. The application of pattern at the right time in the writing process is something derived over years of practice and will continue to frustrate and intrigue any poet as long as he or she writes. Because these three definitions are not speaking of poetic pattern specifically, we must also remember to add to our definition that poetic pattern is made of the aural and visual aspects of a poem. These are the two readily available material aspects of the poem (poets rarely seem concerned by, say, how a word physically smells, or, except in cases of Braille poetry, how it feels on the page). So can we then offer our own definition of poetic pattern? Let's say that it is: The artistic arrangement and use of the material (aural and visual) aspects of words into particular repetitive and/or serial forms as a means to structure a poem. It is not such a stretch to say that the discussion of pattern and variation makes up a large chunk of the study and practice of poetics. To create a poem, some pattern and variation must be applied to the words. Something may be poetic without being a poem (a metaphor in a novel, for example,) but this is another matter. Things like metaphors come from a branch of poetics that deals with what are called tropes, and they are another matter from the discussion here. Here we're talking about poems specifically, not something "poetic," and what makes a poem a poem (and here we take a risk by defining such a thing...there will inevitably be discontents, but it must be done), is the presence of the material (aural and visual) aspects of words shaped into particular forms. Said another way, poem-making involves the rendering of the material aspects (aural, visual) of words into structures that are relevant to the meaning of those words. The establishment of pattern is the consistent application of particular material aspects across a given poem. But that is only half of the matter. We must also deal with variation.

35
Contributors:Sean M. Conrey, Dana Lynn Driscoll. Summary: A brief rundown on the basic concepts of pattern and variation and how they can be used when writing poems. Variation, Generally If pattern in a poem is "The artistic arrangement and use of the material (aural and visual) aspects of words into particular repetitive and/or serial forms as a means to structure a poem," then variation, pattern's partner in crime, is The artistic breaking of a pattern within a poem to create degrees of emphasis. Once a pattern has been established, it may be varied. The effect is always the same: it produces emphasis. The degree of emphasis is directly related to the degree of variation. An extreme variation from the pattern will produce extreme emphasis, minor variation will produce minor emphasis, and any degree within the extremes is there to be played with. If a given word or phrase is of import in the poem, Then variation can be used to set it apart. Whether a phrase should get such emphasis is an important poetic question, and one that we should never tire of asking. So pattern and variation are two primary tools in Apollo's toolbox. In a poem the material aspects of the words(both aural and visual) are being controlled. Taking a largely chaotic, Dionysian line or sentence, we begin to give it shape, and that shape is largely defined by the patterns and variations that we set into those words. Important Terms for Pattern and Variation Authority: A poem's commanding presence or its ability to accurately relay itself to the reader. Poetic authority is derived from the seamless marriage of the structural and chaotic aspects in a poem. Form: In our discussion here, form means the Apollonian aspects of poetry, or those aspects that show control. Form includes both the visual and sound elements in a poem. Free Verse: The form of most contemporary poetry. Free verse makes a structure that is unique to a particular poem, thus making it "free" from the traditional verse forms and "versed" in that there is still an attention to formal detail. Pattern: The artistic arrangement and use of the material (aural and visual) aspects of words into particular repetitive and/or serial forms as a means to structure a poem. Structure: The resultant sum of all sound and visual form in a poem (note: the sum of the whole should be greater than the parts). Variation: The artistic breaking of a pattern within a poem to create degrees of emphasis.

36
Image in Poetry Introduction What is an image? This is a question that philosophers and poets have asked themselves for thousands of years and have yet to definitively answer. The most widely used definition of an image these days is:"...an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time." (Ezra Pound) But this definition from Pound has a history to it. Before Pound outlined his definition, the image was seen very differently by most people. Therefore, the question "what is an image?" immediately breaks down into three fundamental parts: 1) Where do images come from? 2) Once an image is created, what is it? 3) How can an image function in a poem? Before we answer these questions, we'll want to discuss some terms related to image so that we can use them in our answers. Related Terms Imagery The category of which all images, as varied and lively as they are, fall into. "Imagery is best defined as the total sensory suggestion of poetry" (John Ciardi, World Book Dictionary def. of "Imagery.") Imagination 1) The mental laboratory used for the creation of images and new ideas. 2) "n. A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership." (Ambrose Bierce, 60) 3) "Imagination is not, as its etymology would suggest, the faculty of forming images of reality; it is rather the faculty of forming images which go beyond reality, which sing reality." (Gaston Bachelard ,"On Poetic Imagination and Revery," 15) Imagism A school of poetry and poetics made popular by Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell and H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) in the early 20th century that focused on "direct treatment of the thing, whether subjective or objective." H.D.'s "Sea Garden" is often seen as a good example of this style. Concrete detail A detail in a poem that has a basis in something "real" or tangible, not abstract or intellectual, based more in things than in thought.

37
Sensory detail A detail that draws on any of the five senses. This is very often also a concrete detail. Where do images come from? The first question is one best left to psychologists and philosophers of language. Perhaps one of the most complete philosophical inquiries (and the one that seemed to create a dramatic break from classical philosophy), was that of Gaston Bachelard. Bachelard believed that the image originated straight out of human consciousness, from the very heart of being. Whereas before the image was seen merely as a representation of an object in the world, Bachelard believed that the image was its own object and that it could be experienced by a reader who allowed him or herself the opportunity to "dream" the image (the "revery" of reading poetry). The image then could not be intellectualized so much as experienced. He even went so far as to claim that "Intellectual criticism of poetry will never lead to the center of where poetic images are formed." ("Poetic Imagination" 7) He believed that the image erupts from the mind of the poet, that the poet is not entirely in control of the image and therefore is not seen as "causing" the image to come into being. Since the image has no "cause," the image has no past, and, subsequently, is an object in and of itself, separate from its maker and separate from the object it describes. He claims "[The image] becomes a new being in our language, expressing us by making us what it expresses; in other words, it is at once a becoming of expression, and a becoming of our being." Bachelard is, of course, just one person's opinion on the matter, but his philosphy does hold true to the somewhat enigmatic and difficult-to-pin-down nature of the image. Where the image comes from is an issue that will probably never be solved, but suffice to say that if you approach its making as a mystery (and allow it to simply happen without too much intellectualizing) you will at least keep in line with one major aspect of its origin, that of the unknown. Contributors:Purdue OWL. Summary: This section covers images as they appear in poetry and covers related terminology, definitions and origins of images, uses of images, and several exercises. Images and Their Uses What is an image? The image is often seen, after it has been written, as being one of two things. It is either something that represents a thing in the "real" world, or it is seen as its own thing, divorced from the burden of representing anything other than itself. Again, it is the latter definition that has come into more common use. As many philosophers have recently shown, written language is more than simply representational. This means that the image, rather than being something that stands in for something else, is seen as something in and of itself; tied to the things of the world, but not burdened by "representing them directly".

38
Instead of staying in the abstract, let's look at an example of the formation of an image. We'll start with the following phrase: The yellow lemon If image were merely a stand-in for something, then the phrase "The yellow lemon" would be an image. While we can perhaps see a lemon (albeit a redundant "yellow" one,) there is little evidence of a mind at work in this phrase. This particular lemon lacks certain characteristics that would convey that it is being truly experienced by a person, characteristics that more recent poets have defined more accurately. Ezra Pound made perhaps the most widely used definition of image in the 20th century: "An 'Image' is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time." (Pound 143) In Pound's definition, the image is not just a stand in for something else; it is a putting-into-words of the emotional, intellectual and concrete stuff that we experience in any given moment. It is also important to note that an image in poetry, contrary to popular belief, is not simply visual. It can engage any of the senses. And, in fact, for it to be an image, it must engage at least one of the senses by using sensory detail. Take, for example, the following image (we'll build on our previous example): The sunlight in a lemon makes me wince. The words don't simply stand in for an absent object. There is suddenly a full experience in the words. It feels more human. There is something intellectual (one must convert the sunlight into vitamin C in order to know how the sunlight is involved), there is something sensual (taste, sour), and a bit of emotion (probably based on whether the reader, unlike the speaker in the poem, likes lemons). The instant of time is that of the speaker eating the lemon. The moment is frozen, so to speak, and given to the reader every time they read the image. Poet Larry Levis felt this "freezing an instant of time" is what makes the image poignant. He said: The image draws on, comes out of, the "world of the senses" and, therefore, originates in a world that passes, that is passing, every moment. Could it be, then, that every image, as image, has this quality of poignancy and vulnerability since it occurs, and occurs so wholeheartedly, in time? (117) It is the potential of losing the image that gives it its power. The job of the poet is to freeze the image as well as possible in a way that feels very real and human (concrete, intellectual and emotional). Taste a lemon and the sensation last for only a few seconds; write an image that conveys what it is like to eat a lemon and the sensation lives longer. What are the uses of an image? Once an image is created, there is often a need to place it in the context of a larger poem. While many aspects of an image may be endlessly debatable, this one rarely is: images are the concrete, gut-level part of a poem. And their function within a poem reflects that.

39
The poet Tony Hoagland often speaks about poems having many levels, or chakras, as he calls them. The heady and purely intellectual stuff of a poem he calls the "rhetorical". This is where questions are asked, statements are made and hypotheses are hypothesized. The second level is diction. This is where the voice of the poet comes through and doesn't concern our discussion too much here. The gut level is the image. The image, says Hoagland, comes in to fill the spaces made in the rhetorical moves of the poem. Say the poet states: We find sunlight in the strangest places. Now there is nothing resembling an image here. This statement is purely intellectual, or, in Hoagland's language, "rhetorical". This statement serves to open space in the poem, allowing something more grounded and earthy to come in. Our image from earlier may work after this somehow, or many other images could follow. The amount of space opened by a rhetorical statement or question reflects how much room there is to fill in a poem. A small question or statement may merit a simple, small image. A more grandiose rhetorical movement may call for long lists of images. Walt Whitman's lists are a good example; he posits something and then lists sometimes hundreds of variations on the theme. This way of looking at the placement of an image into a poem is somewhat limiting and by no means exhaustive. The key to using images well in a poem is to remember that images tend to produce gut-level responses in our readers. They feel the most real. They do, ultimately, convey (in very short order) a complete human experience in words. And that is why a study of poetry almost always begins with the image. It is the backbone, the grounding rod, of the poem. Few other aspects of our language can boast such a strength. Works Cited Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Trans. Maria Jolas. Boston: Beacon Press, 1964. — On Poetic Imagination and Reverie. Trans. Colette Gaudin. Dallas: Spring Publications, 1987. Bierce, Ambrose. The Devil's Dictionary. Dover: New York, 1958. Levis, Larry. The Gazer Within. Ann Arbor: U. of Michigan Press, 2001. Pound, Ezra. "A Few Don'ts by an Imagiste," Poetry (Chicago) 1 [1913], pp. 198-206. Contributors:Purdue OWL. Summary: This section covers images as they appear in poetry and covers related terminology, definitions and origins of images, uses of images, and several exercises. Exercises Exercises

40
Breadbasket of Images 1. Go outside and find 5 objects and describe them briefly in your notebook. 2. Take one of the five objects and add something that makes it "intellectual," something that shows that it is being observed by a thinking person. Do not just describe the thing; that is not image. Think of it as augmenting the object with your thoughts. 3. Take the same object and find a way to get something emotional into it. Again, raw description is not the key here; make it something that evokes an emotional response in you about the object. 4. Repeat with all five objects. The Poet as Robber Baron 1. Find three images from three different poems that you really admire. 2. Replace the key element of each of the images with a new word. ie: if the key element of the image is "sun," try making it "whiffleball". 3. Now take the emotional and intellectual elements of the image and change them slightly to fit the word. 4. Using all three images, write a short poem where all three images come into play with each other. What is a metaphor? The term metaphor meant in Greek "carry something across" or "transfer," which suggests many of the more elaborate definitions below: Metaphor Table

Definition
A comparison between two things, based on resemblance or similarity, without using "like" or "as" The act of giving a thing a name that belongs to something else The transferring of things and words from their proper signification to an improper similitude for the sake of beauty, necessity, polish, or emphasis A device for seeing something in terms of something else Understanding and experiencing one thing in terms of another A simile contracted to its smallest dimensions

Origin most dictionaries and textbooks Aristotle Diomedes Kenneth Burke John Searle Joseph Priestly

Related terms

41
Related Terms Table extended or telescoping metaphor: A sustained metaphor. implied metaphor: A less direct metaphor. mixed metaphor: The awkward, often silly use of more than one metaphor at a time. To be avoided! dead metaphor: A commonly used metaphor that has become over time part of ordinary language. simile: A comparison using "like" or "as" metonym: The substitution of one term for another with which it is commonly associated or closely related. The teacher descended upon the exams, sank his talons into their pages, ripped the answers to shreds, and then, perching in his chair, began to digest. John swelled and ruffled his plumage. (versus John was a peacock) The movie struck a spark that massaged the audience's conscience.

tying up loose ends, a submarine sandwich, a branch of government, and most clichés Her face was pale as the moon. the pen is mightier than the sword, the crown (referring to a Queen or King), hands (referring to workers who use their hands)

synecdoche: The substitution of a part for the whole or vice versa (a kind of give us this day our daily bread metonym).

Why use metaphors?


They enliven ordinary language. People get so accustomed to using the same words and phrases over and over, and always in the same ways, that they no longer know what they mean. Creative writers have the power to make the ordinary strange and the strange ordinary, making life interesting again.



They are generous to readers and listeners; they encourage interpretation. When readers or listeners encounter a phrase or word that cannot be interpreted literally, they have to think—or rather, they are given the pleasure of interpretation. If you write "I am frustrated" or "The air was cold" you give your readers nothing to do—they say "so what?" On the other hand, if you say, "My ambition was Hiroshima, after the bombing," your readers can think about and choose from many possible meanings.



They are more efficient and economical than ordinary language; they give maximum meaning with a minimum of words.

42
By writing "my dorm is a prison," you suggest to your readers that you feel as though you were placed in solitary, you are fed lousy food, you are deprived of all of life's great pleasures, your room is poorly lit and cramped—and a hundred other things, that, if you tried to say them all, would probably take several pages.


They create new meanings; they allow you to write about feelings, thoughts, things, experiences, etc., for which there are no easy words; they are necessary. There are many gaps in language. When a child looks at the sky and sees a star but does not know the word "star," she is forced to say, "Mommy, look at the lamp in the sky!" Similarly, when computer software developers created boxes on the screen as a user interface, they needed a new language; the result was windows. In your poems, you will often be trying to write about subjects, feelings, etc., so complex that you have no choice but to use metaphors.



They are a sign of genius. Or so says Aristotle in Poetics: "[T]he greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor." It is "a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars."

Creative ways to use metaphors Most books give rather boring examples of metaphors such as my father is a bear or the librarian was a beast. However, in your poetry (and fiction for that matter) you can do much more than say X is Y, like an algebraic formula. Definitely play with extended metaphors (see above) and experiment with some of the following, using metaphors... Uses of Metaphors as verbs The news that ignited his face snuffed out her smile.

as adjectives and adverbs Her carnivorous pencil carved up Susan's devotion. as prepositional phrases The doctor inspected the rash with a vulture's eye.

as appositives or modifiers On the sidewalk was yesterday's paper, an ink-stained sponge.

Examples Metaphor Table Scratching at the window with claws of pine, the wind wants in. Imogene Bolls, "Coyote Wind"

43
What a thrill—my thumb instead of an onion. The top quite gone except for a sort of hinge of skin....A celebration this is. Out of a gap a million soldiers run, redcoats every one.

Sylvia Plath, "Cut"

The clouds were low and hairy in the skies, like locks blown forward in Robert Frost, "Once by the the gleam of eyes. Pacific" James Wright, "The Little boys lie still, awake wondering, wondering delicate little boxes of Undermining of the Defense dust. Economy"

Ear A brief rundown on the basic concepts of pattern and variation and how they can be used when writing poems. Pattern and Variation in Poetry Pattern and Variation, Generally Considered There are two factors battling for poets' attention when they sit down to write a poem: chaos and control. Classically, these factors are attributed to Dionysus (the Dionysian or chaotic aspects) and Apollo (the Apollonian or formal aspect of poetry.) Just as the two Greek gods of poetry were Apollo and Dionysus, any great poem has elements of both chaos and control. A poem uses the formal (sound and visual) aspects of language to control the chaotic (meaningful and expressive) aspects of language. Like the lead bars used to control a nuclear reaction on the verge of exploding, form is used to control and curb language to make it digestible, more powerful and contained for the reader. Since, as everyday language users, we are probably more familiar with the Dionysian frustrations of language (who has not uttered the phrase, "I don't know; it's hard to put into words"?) our focus will be on the Apollonian or formal aspects of a poem. This doesn't mean that we should not let some chaos into the poem, of course (both Apollo and Dionysus have to have their say, after all), but since a poem is a structured thing and we can't "control" the chaotic aspect, per se by any means than by imposing structure on it, then it makes sense that we should talk largely about the structural, formal aspects, as those are the parts that we can control. And although we are talking about form and structure, it should be said that too much control (Apollo having too much say) risks forcing the poem into shape, and the poem created in such circumstances will very often be stilted and the structure will weigh the poem down. It's a risk we have to take, but being aware that a heavy-handed structure can ruin a poem just as fast as a lack of structure will hopefully keep our writing balanced and in that delicate middle ground where the best poetry happens. In the making of a poem, pattern is one of the most important ways of building form and structure, and one of the most difficult to master. In classical verse, pattern was established by using a traditional form and meter, where lines had set numbers of beats and rhymes and alliteration came at predictable places within the line (typically at the end in the case of rhyme, within the line in the case of alliteration in Anglo-Saxon and Norse poetry). Nowadays, as most readers and writers of

44 poetry know, most poetry written in English is free verse, rather than in traditional forms, and this presents a unique set of problems. The Unique Problem of Free Verse Since free verse poets cannot rely on the authority of an accepted "classical" form, they must develop an authority through consistency and pattern and variance. The word "authority" may prick the ears of many poets, as it seems too definitive and demanding. All it means here is that the poem is a made thing, a built thing, if you will, and its "authority" is its commanding presence or ability to accurately relay itself to the reader. A standard reader feels authority in a good poem more than thinks about it, and a writer builds a poem to the needs of itself—its authority comes through when the poet has found the poem's form. If we "read like writers" then we must think a lot about how a poem derives its authority, as we set out to do something similar in our own work. What this all means is that a solid study of pattern and variation in a poem is necessary if a poet intends to make a poem that is sturdy in its structure without relying on an overtly consistent (read: strictly metered and rhymed) form. Especially for free verse poets, who can't rely on conventions to derive their authority. The poet should always be asking "what is the best vehicle to relay this poem?" When talking about pattern, there is a lot of crossover to a discussion of classical form and meter. Pattern and variation are general categories that include the more traditional subjects of scansion, sound and prosody that deal with the sound of the poem (what we'll call aural pattern) but also the matters of how the poem looks on the page (what we'll call visual pattern). So two kinds of pattern will be evaluated, and both give the poet and opportunity to assert Apollo's hand onto a poem at an opportune time. But before getting into specifics, we must define what we mean by pattern, generally, and how variation effects a poem once a pattern is established. Contributors:Sean M. Conrey, Dana Lynn Driscoll. Summary: A brief rundown on the basic concepts of pattern and variation and how they can be used when writing poems. Pattern, Generally Let's take a few definitions of the word pattern to see what it typically thought of it: 1. The fifth definition from the World Book Dictionary gives us "the arrangement and use of content in particular forms, styles, etc., in a work of literature, music, etc." 2. Dictionary.com, "5a: Form and style in an artistic work or body of artistic works." 3. Perhaps the most interesting one for us is found in an unexpected place, the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, "a recognizably consistent series of related acts." Each definition adds something valuable to our discussion. The first tells us that pattern is an arrangement of forms, and the use of the word "form" should not be overlooked since we are talking about the "formal," the structural (Apollonian,) aspects of poetry here, after all.

45
The second reiterates the importance of form, but adds that, in this instance, it is the application of form in an "artistic work." The addition of "art" means that pattern is not accidental, but is performed by the artist (the poet, who, through practice, learns to contend with particular formal issues and applies them thereafter when the time is right). The third definition adds something related to the second, which is that pattern is a series (especially the aural aspects, which are delivered in time, like music), and as a series there is a either a predictable repetition, addition, or subtraction of a particular aspect. A pattern then may not be a simple repetition, but can also be a predictable change within a series. As in math, where the series 2,4,6,8,10 is predictable but not simply repetitive, a pattern in poetry may take a similar form. We also get in this definition that a pattern is a series of related "acts," and those acts (as artistic acts performed by the poet) are again not accidental, but deliberative poetic actions that help convey the poem to the audience. A sidenote would have to admit that with practice, the poet begins to perform these actions without the explicit thoughts that the beginner needs. This is comparable to a dancer who practices a step thousands of times so that when the time comes at the recital, her deliberate thoughts are no longer a burden and she can perform gracefully. The application of pattern at the right time in the writing process is something derived over years of practice and will continue to frustrate and intrigue any poet as long as he or she writes. Because these three definitions are not speaking of poetic pattern specifically, we must also remember to add to our definition that poetic pattern is made of the aural and visual aspects of a poem. These are the two readily available material aspects of the poem (poets rarely seem concerned by, say, how a word physically smells, or, except in cases of Braille poetry, how it feels on the page). So can we then offer our own definition of poetic pattern? Let's say that it is: The artistic arrangement and use of the material (aural and visual) aspects of words into particular repetitive and/or serial forms as a means to structure a poem. It is not such a stretch to say that the discussion of pattern and variation makes up a large chunk of the study and practice of poetics. To create a poem, some pattern and variation must be applied to the words. Something may be poetic without being a poem (a metaphor in a novel, for example,) but this is another matter. Things like metaphors come from a branch of poetics that deals with what are called tropes, and they are another matter from the discussion here. Here we're talking about poems specifically, not something "poetic," and what makes a poem a poem (and here we take a risk by defining such a thing...there will inevitably be discontents, but it must be done), is the presence of the material (aural and visual) aspects of words shaped into particular forms. Said another way, poem-making involves the rendering of the material aspects (aural, visual) of words into structures that are relevant to the meaning of those words. The establishment of pattern is the consistent application of particular material aspects across a given poem. But that is only half of the matter. We must also deal with variation. Contributors:Sean M. Conrey, Dana Lynn Driscoll. Summary:

46
A brief rundown on the basic concepts of pattern and variation and how they can be used when writing poems. Variation, Generally If pattern in a poem is "The artistic arrangement and use of the material (aural and visual) aspects of words into particular repetitive and/or serial forms as a means to structure a poem," then variation, pattern's partner in crime, is The artistic breaking of a pattern within a poem to create degrees of emphasis. Once a pattern has been established, it may be varied. The effect is always the same: it produces emphasis. The degree of emphasis is directly related to the degree of variation. An extreme variation from the pattern will produce extreme emphasis, minor variation will produce minor emphasis, and any degree within the extremes is there to be played with. If a given word or phrase is of import in the poem, Then variation can be used to set it apart. Whether a phrase should get such emphasis is an important poetic question, and one that we should never tire of asking. So pattern and variation are two primary tools in Apollo's toolbox. In a poem the material aspects of the words(both aural and visual) are being controlled. Taking a largely chaotic, Dionysian line or sentence, we begin to give it shape, and that shape is largely defined by the patterns and variations that we set into those words. Important Terms for Pattern and Variation Authority: A poem's commanding presence or its ability to accurately relay itself to the reader. Poetic authority is derived from the seamless marriage of the structural and chaotic aspects in a poem. Form: In our discussion here, form means the Apollonian aspects of poetry, or those aspects that show control. Form includes both the visual and sound elements in a poem. Free Verse: The form of most contemporary poetry. Free verse makes a structure that is unique to a particular poem, thus making it "free" from the traditional verse forms and "versed" in that there is still an attention to formal detail. Pattern: The artistic arrangement and use of the material (aural and visual) aspects of words into particular repetitive and/or serial forms as a means to structure a poem. Structure: The resultant sum of all sound and visual form in a poem (note: the sum of the whole should be greater than the parts). Variation: The artistic breaking of a pattern within a poem to create degrees of emphasis. Training: Sound and Meter Introduction to Sound and Meter

47
Having defined pattern in poetry as "The artistic arrangement and use of the material (aural and visual) aspects of words into particular repetitive and/or serial forms as a means to structure a poem," and having discussed visual pattern elsewhere, we turn to those aspects of poetics that are probably most familiar to us, sound and meter. Whereas the visual aspects of poetry are "read at a glance," so to speak, the aural aspects are read in time, like music. As said before, when most people think of poetry, the first things they think of are sound and meter. For thousands of years, poetic form has been defined by its cadence, its sing-song rhythms, and its sound effects. That is still true today, except now we include the visual aspects of the poem and we often do not subscribe to a set meter and rhyme pattern when we write. Poetry that does not use a set meter is called free verse poetry, but the phrase can be deceptive. While it is true that free verse poetry does not subscribe to the set meters and forms that defined earlier forms of verse, it must still deal with these elements. While on the surface it may seem that free verse has pulled the poet away from the sound elements in a poem, in reality it has made the poet's task more complex. Since poets are now free to irregularly change the rhythms and sounds throughout a poem, they have many more choices to make with every word put on the page. T. S. Eliot said in his essay "The Music of Poetry" in 1942 that "no verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job", and, although written 60 years ago, it still holds true. The early 20th century changed forever the way we look at poetic form, but the traditions of sound and meter still hold a firm place in the poetic arts. The words sound and meter are difficult to define and have many different aspects. Because of these difficulties, perhaps it is useful to think of these terms in the language of metaphor. If you think of the aural elements of a poem in terms of musical notation, you could think of meter as the rhythm created by the words (the horizontal movement of a piece of music, cutting up time into bigger or smaller increments) and sound as the notes of the piece of music (or the vertical movement, repeating sounds and syllables to create a "melody.") Each of these two elements are complex and require an in-depth definition. First, let's start with meter. Contributors:Sean M. Conrey. Summary: A brief exploration of the various aspects of sound that can be utilized when making a poem. The crafting of the aural aspects of a poem is what we may call "ear training." Thus, the crafting of the visual aspects is what we'd call "eye training." Meter and Scansion Meter The bible of most poets today regarding meter and sound is a book by Paul Fussell called Poetic Meter and Poetic Form. Although some of Fussell's ideas are a bit outdated (namely, he doesn't deal with the visual elements of a poem), his approach is complete, concise and useful. Fussell defines meter as "what results when the natural rhythmical movements of colloquial speech are heightened, organized, and regulated so that [repetition] emerges from the relative phonetic haphazard of ordinary utterance." (4-5) To "meter" something, then, is to "measure" it (the word meter itself is derived from the Greek for measure), and there are four common ways to view meter.


Syllabic: A general counting of syllables per line.

48
  

Accentual: A counting of accents only per line. Syllables may vary between accents. Accentual-syllabic: A counting of syllables and accents. Quantitative: Measures the duration of words.

Of the ways of looking at meter, the most common in English are those that are accentual. English, being of Germanic origin, is a predominantly accentual language. This means that its natural rhythms are not found naturally from syllable to syllable, but rather from one accent to the next. There may be one, two, or three syllables between accents (or more, but this is a matter of debate). For this reason most English language poets opt to look at their own meter as accentual or accentual-syllabic. The former is the more common; adherence to the latter often leads an English language poet toward self-conscious verse, as their predictable rhythms are counter to natural English speech (not that it is impossible to create great verse with this technique, but there is a tendency for it to end up so). To get a bearing on what these rhythms look and sound like, let's start with a method for writing out the rhythms of a poem. This technique is called scansion, and it is important because it puts visual markers onto an otherwise entirely heard phenomenon. Scansion There are three kinds of scansion: the graphic, the musical and the acoustic. Since the most commonly and most easily used is graphic, we will use it in our discussion. For a discussion of the others, I refer you to Fussell, page 18. To begin to look at graphic scansion, we first must look at a couple of symbols that are used to scan a poem.

Image Caption: Scanison Symbols

Syllables can either be accented, meaning they are naturally given more emphasis when spoken, or unaccented, meaning they receive less emphasis when spoken. A poetic foot is a unit of accented and unaccented syllables that is repeated or used in sequence with others to form the meter. A caesura is a long pause in the middle of a line of poetry. To show an example of these symbols, let's look at a poem written with the less common, the accentual-syllabic meter, in mind. Here are three scanned lines from Dante Gabriel Rossetti's "Autumn Idleness":

49

Image Caption: You can then see, when comparing the reading of the poem to the scansion marks, how they compare. These lines are taken from a sonnet and thus somewhat predictably written in iambic pentameter. They thus have five accents per line and their syllable counts are 10/10/10. The term iambic pentameter often comes up in discussions of Shakespeare or any sonneteer, but the meaning of the term is often mistaken or simply overlooked. Defining iambic pentameter helps us break down two important parts of meter: poetic feet and line length. Contributors:Sean M. Conrey. Summary: A brief exploration of the various aspects of sound that can be utilized when making a poem. The crafting of the aural aspects of a poem is what we may call "ear training." Thus, the crafting of the visual aspects is what we'd call "eye training." Poetic Feet and Line Length

Poetic Feet There are two parts to the term iambic pentameter. The first part refers to the type of poetic foot being used predominantly in the line. A poetic foot is a basic repeated sequence of meter comprised of two or more accented or unaccented syllables. In the case of an iambic foot, the sequence is "unaccented, accented". There are other types of poetic feet commonly found in English language poetry. The primary feet are referred to using these terms (an example word from Fussell's examples is given next to them):
   

Iambic: destroy (unaccented/accented) Anapestic: intervene (unaccented/unaccented/accented) Trochaic: topsy (accented/unaccented) Dactylic: merrily (accented/unaccented/unaccented)

The substitutive feet (feet not used as primary, instead used to supplement and vary a primary foot) are referred to using these terms:
 

Spondaic: hum drum (accented/accented) Pyrrhic: the sea/ son of/ mists (the "son of" in the middle being unaccented/unaccented)

50
The second part of defining iambic pentameter has to do with line length. Line Length The poetic foot then shows the placement of accented and unaccented syllables. But the second part of the term, pentameter, shows the number of feet per line. In the case of pentameter, there are basically five feet per line. The types of line lengths are as follows:
       

One foot: Monometer Two feet: Dimeter Three feet: Trimeter Four feet: Tetrameter Five feet: Pentameter Six feet: Hexameter Seven feet: Heptameter Eight feet: Octameter

Rarely is a line of a poem longer than eight feet seen in English language poetry (the poet C.K. Williams is an exception). Line length and poetic feet are most easily seen in more formal verse. The example above from D.G. Rossetti is pretty obviously iambic pentameter. And Rossetti uses an accentual-syllabic meter to flesh out his poem with quite a bit of success. What most free verse poets find more useful than this strict form is accentual meter, where the accents only are counted in the line (although when scanned, the syllables are still marked off...it is just that their number is not of as much import.) Take this free-verse example from James Merrill:

51

Image Caption: Free-verse James Merrill Poem Things to note about this poem: There is no any "set" meter in this poem, but the meter clearly plays a key role in its effectiveness. In particular it is worth noting the line that stands alone (line 7). Notice that Merrill moves toward iambic pentameter in line 6 and then sustains it through line 7. Here there is an inversion from the typical set-meter/variation sequence that is found in a lot of more formal poetry. Here the variation comes in the move into set meter, rather than varying from a set meter. Just like establishing a visual pattern in a poem, establishing a meter creates expectations in your reader. Consequently, as with pattern, to vary that meter is to create emphasis. Some will say that your ear should be the first judge on these matters rather than your eye (looking at the scanned poem). There is probably some truth to this. Many poets will tell you that you should always read a poem out loud several times every time you get a draft done. If it doesn't sound good every time, there might be something that isn't working. This is where scanning the poem might come in handy; dissecting the lines and sculpting them until they sound better. Contributors:Sean M. Conrey. Summary: A brief exploration of the various aspects of sound that can be utilized when making a poem. The crafting of the aural aspects of a poem is what we may call "ear training." Thus, the crafting of the visual aspects is what we'd call "eye training." Sound and Rhyme

52
Sound When getting away from the straight rhythms of a poem, we get into the sounds. As mentioned above, if the meter is the poetic equivalent of the horizontal movement in a piece of music, then sound is the vertical movement. If meter serves to cut up the poem into time, then sound serves to configure the poem into a melody or sorts. This means that repeated sounds cohere the poem in much the same way that repeated rhythms do. There are nearly as many aspects to sound as there is to rhythm. The first is perhaps the one with which people are typically most familiar. Rhyme A major aspect of sound in more formal verse is rhyme. Poetry with a set rhyme scheme is less common now than it once was, but it is still used, and can still be powerful. Used effectively, it is one of the many important tools in the poet's toolbox. The presence of rhyme in a free verse poem serves to offset those lines that rhyme. Think of the non-rhyming lines in free verse as establishing a pattern of not rhyming, then the use of rhyme breaks the aural and visual pattern and creates emphasis by variation from that pattern. Take, as an example, this rather whimsical poem from Robert Creeley," The Conspiracy": You send me your poems, I'll send you mine. Things tend to awaken even through random communication. Let us suddenly proclaim spring. And jeer at the others, all the others. I will send a picture too if you will send me one two. (Creeley 39) The last stanza varies from the rest of the poem in that it is a perfect rhyme (the third and fourth lines have a "slant rhyme," and of course the word "others" repeated in lines seven and eight are also perfect rhymes, in a way, being the same word...more on kinds of rhymes in a minute). This serves to set the last stanza apart and to draw the poem to a close. Merrill's poem above also uses a similar device, although in separate stanzas. But because of the abnormal pattern of rhyme in the poem, it can hardly be said to have a rhyme scheme. The term rhyme scheme simply refers to the repetition of a rhyme throughout a poem. A rhyme scheme is typically shown with letters representing the patterns that the rhymes make throughout the poem. Take, for example, this poem from Gerard Manley Hopkins:

The Candle Indoors

53
SOME candle clear burns somewhere I come by. I muse at how its being puts blissful back With yellowy moisture mild night's blear-all black, Or to-fro tender trambeams truckle at the eye. By that window what task what fingers ply, I plod wondering, a-wanting, just for lack Of answer the eagerer a-wanting Jessy or Jack There God to aggrándise, God to glorify.— Come you indoors, come home; your fading fire Mend first and vital candle in close heart's vault: You there are master, do your own desire; What hinders? Are you beam-blind, yet to a fault In a neighbour deft-handed? Are you that liar And, cast by conscience out, spendsavour salt? (From Bartleby.com) Here the rhyme schemes would be labeled ABBAABBA for the first stanza and CDCDCD for the second. Take the rhyming words and put them next to the letters and you will see the reasoning: A by B back B black A eye A ply B lack B Jack A glorify C fire D vault C desire D fault C liar D salt Hopkins here is using a traditional Petrarchan sonnet form (evidenced first in the fact that, like all sonnets, it has 14 lines.) And the rhyme scheme is now obvious. The patterns put forth in the rhyme scheme create a notable pattern. Hopkins uses what most readers are familiar with— what is called perfect rhyme, where the two (or three or four) words are in complete aural correspondence. These are rhymes like "certain" and "curtain" or any of the rhymes in the Hopkins example above. But we have not yet discussed the other varieties of rhyme. One issue that the poet must contend with is that in order to use rhyme well, it can't be forced. All of us have read ineffective poems where the rhymes sounded like "the cat sat on the mat" and we felt like we were being forced into a box that felt both unnatural and unnerving. This type of rhyme is actually called forced rhyme, because it does exactly that; forces the rhyme where it should not otherwise be. This method of rhyme can be used at times, but the poet should know that its effect

54 is typically comic. Since one of the poet's end goals is inevitably to make the structure work for the poem, then the effective use of the different kinds of rhyme can serve these ends. Types of Rhyme
     

Perfect Rhyme: The words are in complete aural correspondence. An example would be: Certain and Curtain. Forced Rhyme: An unnatural rhyme that forces a rhyme where it should not otherwise be. Slant Rhyme: The words are similar but lack perfect correspondence. Example: found and kind, grime and game. Masculine Rhyme: Has a single stressed syllable rhyme. Example: fight and tight, stove and trove. Feminine Rhyme: A stressed syllable rhyme followed by an unstressed syllable. Example: carrot and garret, sever and never. Visual Rhyme: A rhyme that only looks similar, but when spoken sound different. Example: slaughter and laughter. This type of rhyme can be used more to make a visual pattern than to make a aural rhyme.

Again we can see, using the examples from the Creeley and Merrill poems, one way that rhyme can be used effectively in free verse. Here, as with the Merrill poem used to demonstrate free verse meter, the effect of variance comes from the establishment of the poem having no set rhyme scheme and then putting a rhyme into the poem. Another often-seen rhyme technique is internal rhyme. With internal rhyme, the rhyme comes in the middle of the line rather than the end. A good example of this is in the first stanza of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven": Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. " 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door; Only this, and nothing more." Note that in lines 1 and 3 you get an internal rhyme with "dreary" and "weary," and "napping" and "tapping." This technique can sometimes be used to de-emphasize a rhyme that would otherwise be too obvious. Take, for example, these lines from Gary Snyder's poem "Riprap": Lay down these words Before your mind like rocks. placed solid, by hands In choice of place, set Before the body of the mind in space and time: (Snyder 32)

55
There are a lot of things going on here, but the places worth pointing out in regard to internal rhyme are "place" and "space" in lines 4 and 6, and the internal slant rhyme in line 4, "choice" and "place." Contributors:Sean M. Conrey. Summary: A brief exploration of the various aspects of sound that can be utilized when making a poem. The crafting of the aural aspects of a poem is what we may call "ear training." Thus, the crafting of the visual aspects is what we'd call "eye training." Other Matters of Sound Other Matters of Sound The other major matters of sound that have yet to be discussed but are just as important are assonance, consonance, and alliteration.






Assonance: The same or similar vowel sound repeated in the stressed syllable of a word, followed by uncommon consonant sounds. Examples would be: hate and sale, or drive and higher. Consonance: The same or similar consonant sound repeated in the stressed syllable, preceded by uncommon vowel sounds. Examples: urn and shorn, or irk and torque. Alliteration: Repetition of sounds through more than one word or syllable. For example: Take the (extreme use of) the "L" sound that repeats in the following phrase: "The lurid letters of Lucy Lewis are luscious, lucid and libidinous."

All of these aural elements are mostly found within the lines of a poem rather than at the end. Sometimes they carry from one line to the next or over several lines. These are often used when a line or two seems to lack cohesion (the repeated sounds create pattern, thus structure) or to create a repeated set of sounds that will either A) stand apart from the words around them (because they are aurally different) or B) will make a pattern with their own sounds that can then be varied for emphasis. Take the use of alliteration as an example. The (rather simple) line above can easily illustrate two possibilities. If the line came on the heels of something like: The video clips taken by Frank in Louisville are dull but the lurid letters of Lucy Lewis are luscious, lucid and libidinous. Surely we haven't seen anything like them in years. The alliteration in the second line makes it stand out from the others that surround it. Conversely, if we added a variance from the alliteration and made it: The lurid letters of Lucy Lewis are luscious, crude and libidinous. The emphasis is obviously on the word "crude," as it now stands apart from all the "L" sounds around it.

56
It is important to remember when implementing any of these techniques that the goal of structure in a poem is to contain the poem, to allow order and chaos to co-exist. If the structure becomes too apparent (to the point that it detracts from the experience of the poem, as in the "Lucy Lewis" example above,) it is doing its job poorly. Works Cited Hall, Donald. ed. Claims for Poetry. Ann Arbor: U. of Michigan Press, 2000. Williams, William Carlos. Selected Essays of William Carlos Williams. Random House: New York, 1954. Griffiths, Sarah and Kevin Kehrwald. eds. Delicious Imaginations: Conversations with Contemporary Writers. Notabell: West Lafayette, IN, 1998. Wakowski, Diane. Toward a New Poetry. U of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, 1980

A brief exploration of the various visual aspects that can be utilized when making a poem. If the crafting of the aural aspects of a poem is what we may call "ear training," the crafting of the visual aspects is what we'd call "eye training." Eye Training: Visual Patterning We've already claimed that pattern in a poem is "The artistic arrangement and use of the material (aural and visual) aspects of words into particular repetitive and/or serial forms as a means to structure a poem." The combination of sound and visual elements provides a poem's structure, the resultant sum of all sound and visual form in a poem. The craft of poetry has traditionally concerned itself only with the sounds of the words, but as a written thing, we cannot deny that there is also a certain "paginess" to a poem, and that the patterns developed in that visual field can't be overlooked if we are to concern ourselves with the full potential of the poem's structure. Whereas the aural patterns of a poem are concerned largely with the rhythm and tone of the words (the horizontal and vertical axis on the musical scale, respectively,) visual pattern and variation are more geared more toward the poem's placement on the page than in the way it sounds when read. Where the aural aspects of the words are more concerned with how the words sound when read in time, the visual aspects are more concerned with how the words look when revealed in space. Like a painter at a canvas, the poet whose concern is the visual patterning of the poem looks at how the thing sits on the white canvas of the blank page and how that visual structure creates patterns that can be used to create a richer poem. Bearing this in mind, we ask a few questions:
   

What is visual pattern? What are the visual aspects of a poem that can be varied and patterned? How do we vary a visual pattern? What are the uses of variation in a poem?

Definition:

57
Visual pattern: The artistic arrangement and use of the visual aspects of words into particular repetitive and/or serial forms as a means to create structure in a poem. Prominent places to look at visual pattern include verbal, grammatical, syntactical, linear, stanzaic and sectional elements within a poem. What is Visual Pattern? Visual pattern is, then: The artistic arrangement and use of the visual aspects of words into particular repetitive and/or serial forms as a means to create structure in a poem. Said another way, visual pattern is any recurring or consistent visual aspect of a poem. Since the whole visual field of the poem on the page is available, we must break down some of the aspects of that field into workable pieces. Since the standard elements of written language are letters, diphthongs, words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs and sections, then we must break down our visual patterns into similar elements, with a few exceptions. In working with visual pattern, the goal is to relax the eye, so to speak, so that the page can be read "at a glance," therefore allowing the visual aspect to come forward. Thinking of the words as being in a field, or whitespace, as it's commonly called, will help you see the different aspects of visual pattern. Of course, recurrence and predictability are the basis of pattern. This includes words, phrases, sentences, and other grammar-based variations. But rather than dealing with the more obvious uses of repetition on the letter and diphthong level, we start with the recurrence of words on a page, which can be easily scanned and seen. Since a poem has some qualities that are unique only to poetry, namely line and stanza, they are also possible places to seek repetition and subsequently pattern. This leads us to ask... What are the aspects of a poem that can be varied and patterned? Visual pattern can arise in the verbal, grammatical, syntactical, linear, stanzaic or sectional elements of a poem. This list is by no means exhaustive, but in order to create an art of visual pattern, we have to put the breaks on somewhere. The reader is encouraged to discover other visual elements within a poem, but for our purposes here, we stop at these six terms. Below is a description of each of these elements, in order of small to large physical presence on the page. Verbal: A verbal pattern is a pattern that derives from word choice. Verbal patterns arise in the common letter configurations and repetition of certain words. Take as an example Edgar Alan Poe's well known poem "Annabel Lee" (and I use this poem because it makes its patterns obvious— with free verse poetry the patterns are typically more subtle.): It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of ANNABEL LEE;— And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me. She was a child and I was a child, In this kingdom by the sea, But we loved with a love that was more than love—

58
I and my Annabel Lee— With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me. And this was the reason that, long ago, In this kingdom by the sea, A wind blew out of a cloud by night Chilling my Annabel Lee; So that her high-born kinsman came And bore her away from me, To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea. The angels, not half so happy in Heaven, Went envying her and me:— Yes! that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling And killing my Annabel Lee. But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we— Of many far wiser than weAnd neither the angels in Heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:— For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride, In her sepulchre there by the sea— In her tomb by the side of the sea. Comparing the first two stanzas, there is an obvious verbal pattern in the repetition of the word "many" in the first line of the first stanza and "child" in the first line of the second stanza. Also note the pattern of ending the stanzas with the word "me" (this is not continued throughout the poem, although he does end a few more lines with "me", and varies the word with "we" in the 5th stanza, thus placing emphasis on "we.") What other verbal patterns are there? Grammatical: Grammatical patterns are found in placement of punctuation or repetition of similar grammatical units (ie: two lines with similar use of independent clauses). This also includes syntactical function ("function" meaning: does the sentence ask a question, make a statement etc...(this is with grammatical patterns because of the fact that they end with a specific punctuation)). We also include conventions such as capitalization, italics, boldfacing etc. here. In the Poe poem above note his convention (developed very well by the end of the poem) of beginning lines with prepositional phrases, most often "of" phrases.

59
Syntactical: Syntactical pattern arises when two or more sentences have similar verbal and grammatical patterns (thus making them seems similar in content and construction), have similar length or repeat identically the same sentence. The line "A wind blew out of a cloud by night" in stanza three line three, and the line "That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling" in stanza four line five, are an obvious syntactical repetition— with the variation in the fourth stanza putting emphasis on the word "chilling." In some ways, building from the smallest elements to the largest, it seems obvious that a combination of verbal and grammatical pattern leads to syntactical pattern. Linear: Patterns that occur in the line are found primarily in how the line ends and visually how far the lines extends. The first aspect of linear pattern looks at whether the line is end-stopped, endpaused or enjambed. An end-stopped line ends with hard punctuation, typically a period, comma, dash or semi-colon. An end-paused line is one that breaks between phrases. Enjambed lines break the phrase and often contain internal punctuation. Thus instead of: It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of ANNABEL LEE;— which has 2 end-stopped lines, an end-paused line and then an end-stopped line, we might have: It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea, that a maiden there lived whom you may know by the name of ANNABEL LEE;— which has all enjambed lines (except the last). Visually, the ends of the end-stopped lines are obvious (by recognition of punctuation), and the visual difference between the end-paused and enjambed lines is that often, because the enjambment breaks against the phrase, a line will end with a preposition, article or conjunction, as happens in the enjambed example above. The second aspect of linear pattern involves how far the lines extend visually on the page. This may or may not relate to the aural pattern (a line with many beats might be very short visually, or vice versa). Take, for example, the fact that the third and the fifth lines in the first stanza of Poe's poem both extend to a nearly equal length toward the right margin. Stanzaic: A regular or repetitive number of lines within a poem's stanzas is the first order of stanzaic pattern. The second is the combination of verbal, grammatical, syntactical and linear elements that fall in common locations from stanza to stanza. On the first order of stanzaic pattern, we can say that a poem that has, say, regular four line stanzas throughout or that goes back and forth between a four line and a five line stanza has stanzaic visual pattern. But also keeping with the notion of serial pattern, as well, we must admit that a poem that goes from a two line stanza to a three line stanza to a four line stanza (or any such pattern, the possibilities are endless) has serial stanzaic visual patterning. Poe uses stanzaic variations throughout to show emphasis. He first establishes a six line stanza in the first two stanzas, varies it in the third stanza, returns to it in the fourth, varies it slightly in the fifth and then departs wildly from it in the sixth.

60
The second order of stanzaic pattern is the combination of verbal, grammatical, syntactical and linear elements that fall in common locations from stanza to stanza. So if we look at the first two stanzas: It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of ANNABEL LEE;— And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me. She was a child and I was a child, In this kingdom by the sea, But we loved with a love that was more than love— I and my Annabel Lee— With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me. we can point out that (and again, this is by no means exhaustive) there is grammatical pattern that carries across both stanzas (thus making it also a stanzaic rather than a simply grammatical pattern) in the repeated commas at the ends of lines one and two in both stanzas, as well as the dash in line four of both (and the variation of the dash in line three of the second stanza). The repeated phrase "In a kingdom by the sea," in the second line of each stanza is a syntactical pattern as well as a stanzaic pattern because it is repeated across stanzas (it would be simple a syntactical pattern if it occurred within the same stanza). The repetition of the name Annabell Lee in the forth line of both stanzas is a verbal pattern made across stanzas, thus leading to a stanzaic pattern (although the change from all caps to standard capitalization in the second stanza is a grammatical variation). Sectional: In a multi-sectioned poem, the patterns made by all of the above elements throughout the sections can make a consistent pattern. If we wrote a poem with sections and each section consisted of four three-lined stanzas ("tersets"), each with all lines end-stopped, every sentence being declarative, every sentence beginning with a preposition...this would show a tremendous amount of sectional pattern. Obviously "Annabel Lee" is not a sectioned poem, and therefore doesn't provide an example of this type of pattern. For some of the best examples of this type of pattern and variation, look into Joseph Brodsky's longer, sectioned poems. Contributors:Sean M. Conrey, Dana Lynn Driscoll. Summary: A brief exploration of the various visual aspects that can be utilized when making a poem. If the crafting of the aural aspects of a poem is what we may call "ear training," the crafting of the visual aspects is what we'd call "eye training." Visual Variation and Exercises Variation can occur only after a pattern has been developed. Variation can be slight or extreme and always has the effect of setting itself apart from the established pattern, thus creating emphasis. The means of variation are directly tied to the means of pattern. Any aspect of any of the major categories of pattern can be varied, thus any aspect of the poem can provide emphasis. The greater the consistency of the pattern, the more emphasis will be put on its variation. Thus if you have a

61 poem with 20 consecutive four-lined stanzas (quatrains), and a final stanza of three lines, there will be a tremendous amount of emphasis put on the variation. This rule of variation also applies in the discussion on sound and meter. What words receive the most emphasis in "Annabel Lee" and why? Visual Pattern Exercises Rework the Patterns of a Poem As an exercise, rework the Robert Frost poem, "Mowing" below (or find another) so that it shows new patterns. Try to incorporate at least three different pattern elements in the new version of the poem. Write a brief description of how each pattern change affects the poem.

Mowing
THERE was never a sound beside the wood but one, And that was my long scythe whispering to the ground. What was it it whispered? I knew not well myself; Perhaps it was something about the heat of the sun, Something, perhaps, about the lack of sound— And that was why it whispered and did not speak. It was no dream of the gift of idle hours, Or easy gold at the hand of fay or elf: Anything more than the truth would have seemed too weak To the earnest love that laid the swale in rows, Not without feeble-pointed spikes of flowers (Pale orchises), and scared a bright green snake. The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows. My long scythe whispered and left the hay to make. (Taken from Bartleby.com) Experiment in Variation Taking a cue from the William Carlos Williams poem "To a Poor Old Woman"— Write a sentence and work it into a stanza with line variations that emphasize different parts of the sentence. ie: (and your examples are encouraged to be better than this...see the Williams poem above for a good example) The sentence "try it, you might like it" becomes: Try it, you might like it. Try it you might like it. Try it you might like it. Write a stanza before and after the one above using three of the words that appear in the original sentence somewhere in each stanza. ie:

62
Try to find a new way of looking at pattern. Think about it, you might find it worthwhile. Try it, you might like it. Try it you might like it. Try it you might like it. It's easier than you think, if you try. Look a stanzaic variation! Do you like it?

Works Cited Hall, Donald. ed. Claims for Poetry. Ann Arbor: U. of Michigan Press, 2000. Hass, Robert. Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. Oppen, George. Selection made from Oppen's Daybook, collected from the Archive for New Poetry at the University of California, San Diego. Working with Creative Writing Students: Tutoring Beginning Poets & Fiction Writers This presentation is designed to introduce writing center tutors and staff to various methods of working with beginning creative writing students.

Overview As creative writing programs grow, more creative writing students will begin visiting writing centers to receive feedback on their work. Many of these students will be enrolled in introductory level writing workshops and will at some point have their writing workshopped by their peers, who will Discussing Creative Work with the Student Writer While creative writers often draw on very personal material for their poetry and/or fiction, when discussing the work with the student, remember that a poem or story written from the first person perspective may still be fictionalized. Not all creative work is "confessional" in nature. Refer to the "speaker" in a poem, or the "narrator" in a story, rather than assuming that the voice or character is the writer him/herself.

63
Example: "I can see this poem focuses on the speaker’s mother." "This narrator seems to be angry at his father." Students may be comfortable discussing their creative work as personal material or may let you know that the speaker is in fact them. However, students will benefit from looking at their work more objectively and from realizing that the material from which they are drawing can be manipulated even if it initially came from real life. Common Pitfalls for Beginning Poets Students who are writing poetry for their first workshop will face some of the following obstacles. Beginning poets tend to:
   

Use abstraction rather than images Fall back on clichés Use sentimental language Have trouble moving beyond their original subject

Abstraction vs. Image Beginning poets often rely on abstract concepts, such as despair, love, evil, heaven, or hate. These words are loaded but general and don’t tell the reader much about the writer’s perspective or experience. Remind the student that people read poetry to experience the world through another’s perspective. Good poetry is personal and specific. Here are some ways of helping the student move past abstraction:


Get the student talking about the story or emotion behind the poem. Example: What did you want the reader to take away from this poem?



Brainstorm a list of concrete images to replace the abstract concepts in the poem. Example: What objects, colors, or details remind you of love (or sadness, or heaven, etc.)



Examine one stanza or section of the poem. Have the student focus on expanding that section, adding more detail. Example: It sounds like the speaker is talking about her mother in this stanza. What details evoke her as a person? Can you think of a specific memory about her?



Have the student write what s/he can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.

64
Example: Challenge the student to work in a detail that involves one of the reader’s senses in each line of the poem. Moving Beyond Clichés Beginning poets often rely on clichés because they are comfortable, familiar, and hold truth. However, clichés are not unique or surprising. We’ve heard them before. Often, clichés are merely placeholders for something the student is still trying to articulate. Remind the student that clichés aren’t unique or specific and that their personal perspective and experience will be much more compelling. Here are some ways of helping the student revise clichés.


Encourage the student to play with the language in the cliché. Example: “The lake was a mirror” might become “The lake mirrored the mountains.” Here, the clichéd noun becomes a verb and more detail is added.





Work on figurative language. Have the student write a series of metaphors the replace the current cliché. Metaphor often opens up the possibilities of language and lets in more surprising elements. Encourage the student to get more specific and tackle the image in more depth, or have them write the image from a different perspective. Example: “The lake was a mirror” might become “The lake was a bowl of sky.” Here, the student focuses more on what the lake is reflecting rather than simply its reflective quality.

Revising Sentimental Language Beginning poets often draw on personal experience or relationships for material; however, they may have a hard time looking at such material objectively. If a student’s language and images seem overly sweet or precious, then their writing may be suffering from sentimentality. Here are some ways to help them think anew about their subject.


Remind the student that emotion is rarely black or white. It is often ambivalent, especially when we are reflecting on something in our past. Encourage them to think more objectively about the subject. Example: I can tell from this poem that the speaker really loves her grandfather. What other memories exist of him? Was the speaker ever mad at him, or did he have a habit that drove the speaker crazy?



Have the student approach the subject from a different perspective, especially if their sentimental language seems tied to cliché.

65
Example: There’s a long tradition of writing about nature. How have other poets addressed nature in their poetry? How do you think your view of nature is different? Moving Beyond the Original Subject of the Poem In The Triggering Town, Richard Hugo discusses two subjects in the poetic writing process, which he calls the triggering subject and the found subject. The triggering subject is what got the student started writing. However, poems are seldom about just one thing. The found subject is what the student writes his/her way into, where s/he leaps from the original subject into something more. Beginning students often have trouble making this leap and can become stuck in their triggering subject. Here are some ways you can encourage them to look beyond their initial subjects.




Make webs with the triggering subject in the center. Have the student free associate using the initial subject as a springboard. Then encourage the student to weave the two subjects together in his/her revision. Encourage the student to experiment with drastic revision. Have them rewrite the poem starting with the last line and see what new directions the poem takes.

Summary Almost all beginning poets will need practice overcoming abstraction, cliché, and sentimental language, as well as making the leap from triggering subject to found subject. As with any writer, encouraging the student to see the poem not as a finished product but as a work in progress will leave the poem open to greater possibility.

Common Pitfalls for Beginning Fiction Writers Many of the issues with which beginning poets struggle will also apply to beginning fiction writers. However, students writing fiction will also struggle with some craft issues specific to their genre. Beginning fiction writers tend to:
   

do more telling than showing (more summary than scene) struggle with the scope of their story fall back on stereotypical characters employ overly dramatic or “action movie” plots

Summary vs. Scene Beginning fiction writers will still be learning how to differentiate scene from summary and when to use each. Their stories may not yet have clear distinctions between one scene and the next, or their story may be one long summary. It is often helpful to reinforce the differences between summary and scene during the tutorial, especially if the student’s story has a great deal of summary.

66
Scene: takes place in real-time, like a movie, usually contains dialogue between characters, and should be used for important interactions and events. Sample Scene: She was quiet as he drove her home. He parked by the curb in front of the yellow house with its overgrown lawn. She reached into her purse and pulled out a white envelope and handed it to him. “Read it later,” she said. The car door squeaked as she got out. Summary: moves quickly, giving the reader important highlights or reminders, and is used for background information. Bits of summary often occur within scenes. Sample Summary: He remembered the letter she’d written him last summer. She’d given it to him on their last date after he’d driven her home. She’d said she never wanted to see him again. He still had the letter tucked under his shirts in a drawer. A written scene is like a scene in a movie: we watch everything that happens to the character(s) as the action unfolds. Summary is more like watching a character talking to you on the screen about something that already happened to him/her: this would get boring if it went on for too long. Telling vs. Showing Most of us have heard the old adage “show, don't tell.” In order to become involved in a piece of prose, a reader must be able to see, hear, taste, touch and smell things throughout the story. Is the setting painted clearly and vividly? Are characters described well? Showing is especially important when writing scenes. Here are some ways to help students concentrate on showing.




Point out places where you have trouble seeing action, characters, or setting. Have them describe the scene to you and encourage them to jot down details, or jot them down as the student describes them to you. Brainstorm lists of details associated with the setting in each scene. Example: What kind of décor does the character have in his/her apartment? What kind of bar is this? What’s the atmosphere of the town where the story takes place?



Encourage students to think of each written scene as a scene in a movie. Example: If this were made into a movie, what would be the most important scene? What would you see and hear as that scene took place?

Getting the Scope of the Story Under Control Many beginning fiction writers have read more novels than short stories. While novels have hundreds of pages to lay out setting, character, and action, a short story may have only twenty

67 pages (or less for an introductory workshop). If you notice that a student’s story lacks action in the first few pages or seems to be dragging, s/he may be struggling with scope. Here are ways to steer the writer in the right direction.
 



Have them describe the plot of the story to you. What do they feel is the heart of the story? What’s the central conflict? Lay a timeline for the narrative. Encourage them to start the story in the middle of the action or conflict. Certain things should be revealed on the first page of any story, for example, the main character and his/her gender, age, occupation (if applicable) and location. What would get the reader invested on the first page? Suggest that the student revise the story starting in a different point in the plot. Example: Many students end their stories with a couple finally coming together. What if the student began with the couple’s first date? How would the story change?

Fixing Stereotypical Characters A student may or may not be aware that s/he has employed a stereotypical character. If they’re not aware, point it out to them and work from there. Stereotypes may appear in issues of race, gender, sexuality, class, even a character’s occupation or interests. Remind the student that stereotypes are predictable, and readers would rather connect to a character that seems more real, flaws and all. Here are some ways to help the student flesh out a stereotyped character.


Point out the stereotyped character and discuss what makes him/her a stereotype. Next, ask the student how s/he could they revise the character to make him/her more realistic? Example: Say a character has blonde hair and is obsessed with buying expensive shoes. This seems like ‘the shallow blonde’ stereotype. Perhaps she collects something other than shoes. What hobby might be surprising and also tell us something about her character?



Ask the student to create character by drawing on real life. Suggest s/he even go to a café and people watch for an hour or so to get ideas. Example: Does this character remind you of anyone you’ve encountered in real life? Who? Can you describe that person in more detail? What were his/her flaws, strengths, fears, and desires?

Reining in Overly Dramatic Plots Most beginning fiction writers worry about plot. Will it be entertaining and hold the reader’s interest? Will it be exciting enough? However, plot often evolves from strong characters, not shocking events.

68
If a student’s story contains exploding cars or houses, car wrecks, or multiple deaths, they may have an overblown plot. Here are a few tactics to help them out.


Ask the student to consider what made memorable events in their lives, or the lives of their friends. Many students don’t believe their own lives are exciting enough to use as fodder for writing. In reality, readers are more compelled by characters and events they can relate to on some level. Example: Tell me more about the summer camp you mentioned a moment ago. What were the other kids there like? What did you take away from that experience?



Have the student examine whether his/her plot is realistic. Could this really happen given the characters and the setting, or does the plot rely more on shocking the reader, taking a sudden and unlikely twist? Example: I see that on this page, the main character’s best friend gets in a car wreck and is now in a coma. How does this fit into the progression of events? How does this action help the plot? Where might you go from here?



Have the student keep the element of surprise but tone down the shock value of the event. Example: Let’s say the student has a character who gets drunk and dies in a fatal crash. What else might happen to this character? Does he have to die? Maybe he walks somewhere and gets lost, or perhaps he drives to his ex-girlfriend’s house instead. Perhaps he wakes up in a park and doesn’t remember how he got there. The student can make a list of all the possible things that might happen to a character.

Summary Most beginning fiction writers will need to work on showing vs. telling, scope, character development, and plot progression. Encourage them to read as many short stories as they can for models, and remind them to keep it real in order to keep the reader involved. For more suggestions on working with beginning poets and fiction writers, view the accompanying PowerPoint presentation “Working with Creative Writers.” Helpful Resources for Creative Writing Students Books: -Burroway, Janet. Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Longman, 2006. -Cameron, Julia. The Right to Write. Tarcher, 1998.

69
-Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Shambhala, 2006. -Hugo, Richard. The Triggering Town. W.W. Norton, 1992. -Lamotte, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anchor, 1995. -Laux, Dorianne and Addonizio, Kim. The Poet’s Companion. W.W. Norton, 1997. -Stern, Jerome. Making Shapely Fiction. W.W. Norton, 2000. Web Sites:






The Academy of American Poets http://www.poets.org. Search for poets and poems. Poets and Writers magazine online http://www.pw.org/ Read articles on the writing life and interviews with authors. Ask questions of other writers in the Speakeasy Forum. Associated Writing Programs http://www.awpwriter.org/ Helpful for students looking for an MFA program.

Other Resources:
 

Best American Poetry and Best American Fiction anthologies, published every year and available at most bookstores. -Literary Journals. Tell students to check the periodicals at their school’s library, a local bookstore, or even online. (Note: Barnes & Noble and Borders don’t typically carry these small press publications.)

Using Metaphors in Creative Writing What is a metaphor? The term metaphor meant in Greek "carry something across" or "transfer," which suggests many of the more elaborate definitions below: Metaphor Table

Definition
A comparison between two things, based on resemblance or similarity, without using "like" or "as" The act of giving a thing a name that belongs to something else The transferring of things and words from their proper signification to an improper similitude for the sake of beauty, necessity, polish, or emphasis A device for seeing something in terms of something else Understanding and experiencing one thing in terms of another

Origin most dictionaries and textbooks Aristotle Diomedes Kenneth Burke John Searle

70
A simile contracted to its smallest dimensions Related terms Related Terms Table extended or telescoping metaphor: A sustained metaphor. implied metaphor: A less direct metaphor. mixed metaphor: The awkward, often silly use of more than one metaphor at a time. To be avoided! dead metaphor: A commonly used metaphor that has become over time part of ordinary language. simile: A comparison using "like" or "as" metonym: The substitution of one term for another with which it is commonly associated or closely related. The teacher descended upon the exams, sank his talons into their pages, ripped the answers to shreds, and then, perching in his chair, began to digest. John swelled and ruffled his plumage. (versus John was a peacock) The movie struck a spark that massaged the audience's conscience. tying up loose ends, a submarine sandwich, a branch of government, and most clichés Her face was pale as the moon. the pen is mightier than the sword, the crown (referring to a Queen or King), hands (referring to workers who use their hands) Joseph Priestly

synecdoche: The substitution of a part for the whole or vice versa (a kind of give us this day our daily bread metonym). Why use metaphors?


They enliven ordinary language. People get so accustomed to using the same words and phrases over and over, and always in the same ways, that they no longer know what they mean. Creative writers have the power to make the ordinary strange and the strange ordinary, making life interesting again.



They are generous to readers and listeners; they encourage interpretation. When readers or listeners encounter a phrase or word that cannot be interpreted literally, they have to think—or rather, they are given the pleasure of interpretation. If you write "I am frustrated" or "The air was cold" you give your readers nothing to do—they say "so what?" On the other hand, if you say, "My ambition was Hiroshima, after the bombing," your readers can think about and choose from many possible meanings.



They are more efficient and economical than ordinary language; they give maximum meaning with a minimum of words.

71
By writing "my dorm is a prison," you suggest to your readers that you feel as though you were placed in solitary, you are fed lousy food, you are deprived of all of life's great pleasures, your room is poorly lit and cramped—and a hundred other things, that, if you tried to say them all, would probably take several pages.


They create new meanings; they allow you to write about feelings, thoughts, things, experiences, etc., for which there are no easy words; they are necessary. There are many gaps in language. When a child looks at the sky and sees a star but does not know the word "star," she is forced to say, "Mommy, look at the lamp in the sky!" Similarly, when computer software developers created boxes on the screen as a user interface, they needed a new language; the result was windows. In your poems, you will often be trying to write about subjects, feelings, etc., so complex that you have no choice but to use metaphors.



They are a sign of genius. Or so says Aristotle in Poetics: "[T]he greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor." It is "a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars."

Creative ways to use metaphors Most books give rather boring examples of metaphors such as my father is a bear or the librarian was a beast. However, in your poetry (and fiction for that matter) you can do much more than say X is Y, like an algebraic formula. Definitely play with extended metaphors (see above) and experiment with some of the following, using metaphors... Uses of Metaphors as verbs as prepositional phrases The news that ignited his face snuffed out her smile. The doctor inspected the rash with a vulture's eye. as adjectives and adverbs Her carnivorous pencil carved up Susan's devotion. as appositives or modifiers On the sidewalk was yesterday's paper, an ink-stained sponge. Examples Metaphor Table Scratching at the window with claws of pine, the wind wants in. What a thrill—my thumb instead of an onion. The top quite gone except for a sort of hinge of skin....A celebration this is. Out of a gap a million soldiers run, redcoats every one. Imogene Bolls, "Coyote Wind" Sylvia Plath, "Cut"

The clouds were low and hairy in the skies, like locks blown forward in Robert Frost, "Once by the the gleam of eyes. Pacific" Little boys lie still, awake wondering, wondering delicate little boxes of James Wright, "The

72 dust. Undermining of the Defense Economy"

This resource covers how to write a rhetorical analysis essay of primarily visual texts with a focus on demonstrating the author’s understanding of the rhetorical situation and design principles. Visual Rhetoric: Analyzing Visual Documents Definition and Goals of Visual/Rhetorical Analysis Definition A visual document communicates primarily through images or the interaction of image and text. Just as writers choose their words and organize their thoughts based on any number of rhetorical considerations, the author of such visual documents thinks no differently. Whether assembling an advertisement, laying out a pamphlet, taking a photograph, or marking up a website, designers take great care to ensure that their productions are visually appealing and rhetorically effective. Goal The goal of any rhetorical analysis is to demonstrate your understanding of how the piece communicates its messages and meanings. One way of looking at this process is that you are breaking the piece down into parts. By understanding how the different parts work, you can offer insights as to the overall persuasive strategies of the piece. Often you are not looking to place a value judgment on the piece, and if there is an implicit or implied argument you may not be ultimately taking a side. It’s worth asking then: is rhetorical analysis of visual documents any different than this basic description? Yes and no. Sometimes you will encounter an interplay of words and images, which may complicate the number of rhetorical devices in play. Additionally, traditional schooling has emphasized analysis of certain texts for a long time. Many of us are not so accustomed to giving visual documents the same kind of rigorous attention. We now live in such a visually-dominated culture, that it is possible you have already internalized many of the techniques involved with visual communication (for example, every time you justify the text of your document or use standard margins, you are technically using visual rhetoric). That said, writing a rhetorical analysis is often a process of merely finding the language to communicate this knowledge. Other times you may find that looking at a document from a rhetorical design perspective will allow you to view it in new and interesting ways. Like you would in a book report or poetry analysis, you are offering your “reading” of the visual document and should seek to be clear, concise, and informative. Do not only give a re-telling of what the images look like (this would be the equivalent of stopping at plot summary if you were analyzing a novel). Offer your examples, explain the rhetorical strategies at work, and keep your focus on how the document communicates visually. Contributors:Mark Pepper, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli. Summary:

73
This resource covers how to write a rhetorical analysis essay of primarily visual texts with a focus on demonstrating the author’s understanding of the rhetorical situation and design principles. Elements of Analysis The Rhetorical Situation Introduction No matter what specific direction your essay takes, your points and observations will revolve around the rhetorical situation of the document you are analyzing. A rhetorical situation occurs when an author, an audience, and a context come together and a persuasive message is communicated through some medium. Therefore, your rhetorical analysis essay will consistently link its points to these elements as they pertain to the document under question. More general information about the rhetorical situation can be elsewhere on the OWL. The following sections deal with considerations unique to analyzing visual documents. Audience The audience is the group of people who may or may not be persuaded by the document. Analyzing the audience for a visual production may not be all too different from analyzing an audience for a solely textual work. However, unlike academic essays or short answers written on an examination, visual productions often have the potential to reach wider audiences. Additionally, unlike literature or poetry, visual documents are often more ingrained in our daily lives and encountered instead of sought. A website might potentially have an audience of anyone with internet access; however, based on the site, there are audiences more likely to end up there than others. A pamphlet or flyer may also technically have an audience of anyone who finds it; however, their physical placements may provide clues for who the designer would most like to see them. This is often called a “target audience.” Identifying and proving the target audience may become a significant portion of your rhetorical analysis. It’s best to think of audience analysis as seeking and speculating about the variables in people that would make them read the same images in different ways. These variables may include but are not limited to: region, race, age, ethnicity, gender, income, or religion. We are accustomed to thinking these variables affect how people read text, but they also affect how people interpret visuals. Here are some tips and questions for thinking about the audience of visual documents (they are also tips you can use when composing your own).


 

Different audiences have different taste for certain visual styles. For example, the quick cuts and extreme angles of many programs on MTV are often associated with the tastes and tolerance of a younger audience. People have drastically different reading speeds. In slide shows or videos with text, look for accommodations made for these differences. Whether by using controversial or disturbing imagery, sometimes documents purposefully seek to alienate or offend certain audience groups while piquing the curiosity of others. Do you see evidence of this and why?

74


Does the document ask for or require any background familiarity with its subject matter or is it referencing a popular, visual style that certain audiences are more likely to recognize?

Purpose Visual productions have almost limitless purposes and goals. Although all parts of the rhetorical situation are linked, purpose and audience tend to be most carefully intertwined. The purpose is what someone is trying to persuade the audience to feel, think, or do. Therefore, a well produced document will take into account the expectations and personalities of its target audience. Below are four categories of purposes and example questions to get you thinking about the rhetorical use of visuals. Note: a document may cross over into multiple categories.

Informational: documents that seek to impart information or educate the audience
Examples: Brochures, Pamphlets, PowerPoint presentations
  

How does the layout of the information aid readability and understanding? How do images clarify or enhance textual information? (Try imagining the same document without the visuals and ask how effective it would be). What mood or feelings do the visuals add to the information? How does that mood aid the effectiveness of the information?

Inspirational: documents that primarily inspire emotion or feeling often without clearly predetermined goals or purposes Examples: Photography, Paintings, Graffiti
  

What emotions are invoked by the document? How? Can you use color symbolism to explain how the artist created a mood or feeling? Has the image been framed or cropped in such a way to heighten a mood or feeling? Why?

Motivational: documents that spur direct action, attendance, or participation
Examples: Advertisements, Flyers, Proposals
  

How do images make the product look appealing or valuable? How do images help create excitement or anticipation in the audience? Is there text paired with the images that give the image added associations of value?

Functional: documents that aid in accomplishing tasks
Examples: Instruction Sets, Forms, Applications, Maps
 

How do pictures or illustrations clarify textual directions? How does layout aim to make the form easy to use and eliminate mistakes?

75


Has size (of text or the document itself) been considered as a way to make the document user friendly and accessible?

As you may see, analyzing how a document’s purpose is rhetorically accomplished to persuade its audience can involve many factors. Search the owl for more information on some of the concepts mentioned in these questions.
    

Visual Rhetoric HATS Using Fonts with Purpose Color Theory Slide Presentation Designing an Effective PowerPoint Presentation

Context Context refers to the circumstances of the environment where a piece of communication takes place. Sometimes the author has a measure of control over this context, like within the confines of a presentation (where, of course, there will still be some factors beyond control). Other times,a document is specifically made for an audience to encounter on their own terms. Either way, context is an important part of the rhetorical situation and can easily make or break the effectiveness of a document’s message. Below are some questions to get you thinking about the possibilities and pitfalls when analyzing the context of a visual document.


 

In a presentation setting with many people, has the document considered the size and layout of the room so that all participants have a chance of experiencing the document equally? Does the document use any techniques to draw attention to itself in a potentially busy or competitive environment? Linking is how websites get noticed and recognized. The sites that link to a web page or internet document can provide a context. Do the character of those links suggest anything about the document you are analyzing?

Contributors:Mark Pepper, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli. Summary: This resource covers how to write a rhetorical analysis essay of primarily visual texts with a focus on demonstrating the author’s understanding of the rhetorical situation and design principles. Organizing Your Analysis There is no one, perfect way to organize a rhetorical analysis essay. In fact, writers should always be a bit leery of plug-in formulas that offer a perfect essay format. Remember, organization itself is not the enemy, only organization without considering the specific demands of your particular writing task. That said, here are some general tips for plotting out the overall form of your essay. Introduction

76
Like any rhetorical analysis essay, an essay analyzing a visual document should quickly set the stage for what you’re doing. Try to cover the following concerns in the initial paragraphs: 1. Make sure to let the reader know you’re performing a rhetorical analysis. Otherwise, they may expect you to take positions or make an evaluative argument that may not be coming. 2. Clearly state what the document under consideration is and possibly give some pertinent background information about its history or development. The intro can be a good place for a quick, narrative summary of the document. The key word here is “quick, for you may be dealing with something large (for example, an entire episode of a cartoon like the Simpsons). Save more in-depth descriptions for your body paragraph analysis. 3. If you’re dealing with a smaller document (like a photograph or an advertisement), and copyright allows, the introduction or first page is a good place to integrate it into your page. 4. Give a basic run down of the rhetorical situation surrounding the document: the author, the audience, the purpose, the context, etc. Thesis Statements and Focus Many authors struggle with thesis statements or controlling ideas in regards to rhetorical analysis essays. There may be a temptation to think that merely announcing the text as a rhetorical analysis is purpose enough. However, especially depending on your essay’s length, your reader may need a more direct and clear statement of your intentions. Below are a few examples. 1. Clearly narrow the focus of what your essay will cover. Ask yourself if one or two design aspects of the document is interesting and complex enough to warrant a full analytical treatment. The website for Amazon.com provides an excellent example of alignment and proximity to assist its visitors in navigating a potentially large and confusing amount of information. 2. Since visual documents often seek to move people towards a certain action (buying a product, attending an event, expressing a sentiment), an essay may analyze the rhetorical techniques used to accomplish this purpose. The thesis statement should reflect this goal. The call-out flyer for the Purdue Rowing Team uses a mixture of dynamic imagery and tantalizing promises to create interest in potential, new members. 3. Rhetorical analysis can also easily lead to making original arguments. Performing the analysis may lead you to an argument; or vice versa, you may start with an argument and search for proof that supports it. A close analysis of the female body images in the July 2007 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine reveals contradictions between the articles’ calls for self-esteem and the advertisements’ unrealistic, beauty demands. These are merely suggestions. The best measure for what your focus and thesis statement should be the document itself and the demands of your writing situation. Remember that the main thrust of your thesis statement should be on how the document creates meaning and accomplishes its purposes. The OWl has additional information on writing thesis statements.

77
Analysis Order (Body Paragraphs) Depending on the genre and size of the document under analysis, there are a number of logical ways to organize your body paragraphs. Below are a few possible options. Which ever you choose, the goal of your body paragraphs is to present parts of the document, give an extended analysis of how that part functions, and suggest how the part ties into a larger point (your thesis statement or goal). Chronological This is the most straight-forward approach, but it can also be effective if done for a reason (as opposed to not being able to think of another way). For example, if you are analyzing a photo essay on the web or in a booklet, a chronological treatment allows you to present your insights in the same order that a viewer of the document experiences those images. It is likely that the images have been put in that order and juxtaposed for a reason, so this line of analysis can be easily integrated into the essay. Be careful using chronological ordering when dealing with a document that contains a narrative (i.e. a television show or music video). Focusing on the chronological could easily lead you to plot summary which is not the point of a rhetorical analysis. Spatial A spatial ordering covers the parts of a document in the order the eye is likely to scan them. This is different than chronological order, for that is dictated by pages or screens where spatial order concerns order amongst a single page or plane. There are no unwavering guidelines for this, but you can use the following general guidelines.
   

Left to right and top to down is still the normal reading and scanning pattern for English-speaking countries. The eye will naturally look for centers. This may be the technical center of the page or the center of the largest item on the page. Lines are often used to provide directions and paths for the eye to follow. Research has shown that on web pages, the eye tends to linger in the top left quadrant before moving left to right. Only after spending a considerable amount of time on the top, visible portion of the page will they then scroll down.

Persuasive Appeals The classic, rhetorical appeals are logos, pathos, and ethos. These concepts roughly correspond to the logic, emotion, and character of the document’s attempt to persuade. You can find more information on these concepts elsewhere on the OWL. Once you understand these devices, you could potentially order your essay by analyzing the document’s use of logos, ethos, and pathos in different sections. Conclusion The conclusion of a rhetorical analysis essay may not operate too differently from the conclusion of any other kind of essay. Still, many writers struggle with what a conclusion should or should not do.

78
You can find tips elsewhere on the OWL on writing conclusions. In short, however, you should restate your main ideas and explain why they are important; restate your thesis; and outline further research or work you believe should be completed to further your efforts.

Shakespeare: “[Let me not to the marriage of true minds] (646) Williams: “This is Just to Say” (740) Pastan: “love poem,” (620) Browning: “How Do I Love Thee?” and corresponding explication (619-622)

Blake poems "The Lamb" (pg 1006) “The Tyger” (pg 1007).).

Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow" (739) Pope’s "Sound and Sense” (776) Chasin's "The Word Plum" (773).

John Donne's "The Flea" (712) Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess" (1009).

Chapter 11: Speaker pg. 672 Thomas Hardy “The Ruined Maid” 672 Lyric, narrator, narrative poem, characters, typographic, stanza, refrain, dialect, theme, contrast, style of speech, functions

X.J. Kennedy “In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus One Day” (in the tune of sweet betsy from pike) pg 674

79 own voice, self descrption, bittersweet comedy,

Margaret Arwood “Death of a Young Son by Drowning” pg 675 Borrow character historical context, facts, historical facts, traditions, poem is lyric, first person The journals of susanna moodie: poems by Margaret atwood 1970 Speaker situation feelings, heroic, attractive.

Robert Browning “Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister” pg. 676 Dramatic monologue, dislike speaker, single, fictional speaker in a specific time (setting), place, and dramatic situation, like a character play. Characterization, unreliable speaker, perspective, parodies, mimics, attitudes, dislike, portrait, beast, exclamation points, roaring, ranting, despise, malicious, joke, habits, hatred, vengeance, no objective, tone of voice, author’s feelings, poem’s words the ones the author has given to the speaker Analyzing Speakers: An Exercise pg 679 Dorothy Parker “A Certain Lady” pg 679-680 Tone of voice, cynicism, world-weary posture, not self-revelation, poets create speakers who participate in a specific situation, strategies of characterization are used to present the person speaking in one way and not another. To whom does the speaker seem to be talking? What sort of person is he? Which habits and attitudes do you like least? How can you tell the speaker is not altogether happy about his conversation and conduct? In what tone of voice would you read the first twenty-two lines aloud? What attitude would you try to express toward the person spoken to? What tone would you use for the last two lines? How would you describe the speaker’s personality? What aspects of her behavior are most crucial to the poem’s effect? William Wordsworth “She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways” pg 681 Identifiable autobiographical details writer probably writing about a person, actual experience: characterizing himself in a certain way, emphasizing some parts of himself and not others. Speaker is a major focus of the poem feelings that the poem isolates and expresses. -------Value of beginning the reading of any poem with THREE QUESTIONS:

80 WHO IS SPEAKING? WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT HIM OR HER? WHAT KIND OF PERSON IS SHE OR HE? = Leads toward the central experience the poem offers, clarifies TONE OF VOICE, guidance to the LARGER SITUATION the poem explores. Audre Lorde “Hanging Fire” pg 682 What, precisely, do we know about the speaker? How does she feel about herself? How can you tell? Robert Burns “To a Louse” pg 683 What is the speakers attitude toward the louse? Toward Jenny? How do the speaker’s attitude and focus change in the last two stanzas? What lines best summarize the speaker’s main point? Gwendolyn Brooks “We Real Cool” 685 Who are “we” in this poem? Do you think that the speaker and the poet share the same idea of what is “cool”? Walt Witman [I celebrate myself, and sing myself] pg 686 Gender pg 688 What difference does the speaker’s gender make to your response to both the speaker and the poem? What difference does it make to the poem’s tone? Lyric is likely to portray the lost beloved

In the absence of definitive textual cues about a speaker’s gender, such assumptions using the knowledge of or about an author’s gender in determining a speakser gender is acceptable and conventional. Important to notice when we assign gender to the speaker of some poems, we are making an assumption- one that greatly affects our reading and response.==> Makes assumptions about sexuality and heterosexuality PAY ATTENTION TO ALL THE DETAILS A POEM GIVES AS WELL AS IT WITHHOLDS! LOOK FOR EVIDENCE that may complicate or overturn assumptions!

Richard Lovelace “Song: To Lucasta, Going to the Wars”pg 689 What might this poem imply about men’s and women’s attitudes toward love and war? Mary, Lady Chudleigh “To the Ladies” pg 689 What mightthe speaker mean when she says a husband “with the power, has all the wit” (line 20)? How might that statement multiply the meanings of the poem’s last line?

81 Wilfred Owen “Disabled” pg 690 How might you respond differently to this poem if the soldier himself were speaking? If the poem described the events of his life in order in which they happened? If the poem lack its last two lines? Amy Lowell “The Lonely Wife” pg 691 Elizabeth Bishop “Exchanging Hats” pg 692 Paulette Jiles “Paper Matches” pg 693 David Wagoner “My Father’s Garden” pg 694 Judith Ortiz Cofer “The Changeling” pg 695 Liz Rosenberg “The Silence of Women” pg 696 Marie Howe “Practicing” pg 696 Chapter 12 pg 701 Rita Dove “Daystar” pg 702 Linda Pastan “To a Daughter Leaving Home” pg 702 John Milton “On the Late Massacre in Piedmont” pg 704 Matthey Arnold “Dover Beach” pg 704 John Betjeman “In Westminster Abbey” pg 705 James Dickey “Cherrylog Road” pg 708

Brooks' "We Real Cool" (684) Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz" (734) as well as the corresponding questions and explication exercise Plath's "Daddy" (983) Johnson's "Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem" (962).

Olds' "Sex without Love" (736) Shakespeare's [That time of year thou mayst in me behold] (752) Dickinson's [Because I could not stop for death--] (886)

82 Donne's [Batter my heart, three-personed God] (757)

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Poetry Explication

    • 1045 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Samantha Ward Professor Amy Clukey English 300-03 Due Date: September 22, 2011 Most Painful Memories: An Explication of Edward Mayes’ “University of Iowa, 1976” Take a minute to imagine “Men looking like they had been/attacked repeatedly by a succession /of wild animals,” “never/ ending blasted field of corpses,” and “throats half gone, /eyes bleeding, raw meat heaped/ in piles.” These are the vividly, grotesque images Edward Mayes describes to readers in his poem, “University of Iowa Hospital…

    • 1045 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Poetry Explication

    • 639 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Kendra Hamilton Block 5 Mrs. Hodges 15 December 2015 Langston Hughes “Harlem” Poetry Explication The most obvious quality of Langston Hughes’ "Harlem" is the poem’s use of imagery. The imagery in this poem contributes to the image of the frustrating times of how dreams end up for African Americans during this time period. The speaker in the poem describes the fate of a dream being “deferred.” Langston Hughes uses several analogies to describe the image of a dream that might have happened but didn’t…

    • 639 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    Poetry Explication

    • 1037 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Poetry Explication The Lamb and The Tyger When Reading William Blake’s poems form the song of innocence and song of experience readers get how both links to each other to create a greater meaning. The Lamb from the song of innocence shows the innocence of god in a person, while The Tyger shows the experience of a person. Paired together, William Blake’s poem The Lamb and The Tyger uses biblical symbolism and diction to illustrate the perspective of religion both good and bad. The titles of…

    • 1037 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Poetry Explication

    • 467 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Poetry Explication 20 May 2012 Questions Entwined into “The Summer I Was Sixteen” Words often have meaning behind what is said, regardless of those particular words. Emotions can be extrapolated from statements. A close reading and analysis of the poem “The Summer I Was Sixteen’ reveals more to the reader than just what sits on the page. Whilst reading this poem, a feeling of unusual melancholy and normalcy arises from a point in time which should be a substantial amount more upbeat. During…

    • 467 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Poetry Explication Guidelines The following can serve as a general outline for your explications. You will have to add and organize your own subheadings, or you may have to delete some sections. You may also use other orders of ideas that may suit your particular content. Just be sure your explication is thorough and organized. I. Introduction a. (Include such items as what is the poem title, who is the author, and where did you get your copy? What is the theme and subject of the poem…

    • 1889 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Poetry Explication

    • 936 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Apology”. Although Bergmann’s poem was written just to ridicule Williams’ poem, the similar form of imagery used in both poems possesses more meaning and is more complex than they might seem at first sight. Also, the comparison of the two poems shows how greatly times have changed. The “Red Wheelbarrow” could be interpreted as a poem that focuses on the wheelbarrow and its function. It could also be interpreted as a poem that is portraying a clear image with the wheelbarrow as its focus because each…

    • 936 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Poetry Explication

    • 477 Words
    • 2 Pages

    and figures such as Jesus, Angel of God, and Grace of God (lines 14-15) even though the act of slavery is one of the most sinful systems in the eyes of these slaves and in the eyes of all decent human beings. Though a myriad of Lucille Clifton’s poetry is about survival, the people in the ships have barely survived, but more importantly, though many of them have not, a significant amount did despite the fetid, deadly, inhumane conditions. Lines 1-5 illustrate the terrible conditions of the ship…

    • 477 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Poetry Explication

    • 1130 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The Goose Fish by Howard Nemerov This poem dramatizes the conflict between appearance and reality, particularly as this conflict relates to the central symbol of the poem, the goose fish. The speaker relates the tale of two lovers who encounter a dead fish on the beach after sharing their affection with one another. While looking at the fish, the couple ponders the meaning of this fish. Taken figuratively, the goose fish occupies many roles. As the speaker overlooks the events taking place…

    • 1130 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Ven Additional Step-by-Step Method of Thoroughly Explicating a Poem In addition to the sections, which are mentioned in the basic explication de texte, please review these divisions to further assist you in the complex work of analysis. Meaning: can you paraphrase in prose the general outline of the poem? Do not simply answer yes or no; attempt a brief paraphrase. Antecedent scenario: What has been happening before the poem begins? What has provoked the speaker? "Poets make certain…

    • 4739 Words
    • 19 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Literature and Poetry

    • 1847 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Literature (from Latin litterae (plural); letter) is the art of written work. The word literature literally means: "things made from letters". Literature is commonly classified as having two major forms—fiction and non-fiction—and two major techniques—poetry and prose. Literature may consist of texts based on factual information (journalistic or non-fiction), a category that may also include polemical works, biographies, and reflective essays, or it may consist of texts based on imagination (such…

    • 1847 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Good Essays