Poetry Lesson


Poetry Lesson. There are so many different ways to define and describe poetry. I can give you examples of what poetry is but it also helps to notice what poetry is not. I like to define poetry as power packed lines because poetry is usually the shortest creative genre. Each line has to be skillfully crafted. Each line should say something important or affect the reader in some way. The tools used by poets are things like rhyme, rhythm, repetition, sound, imagery, and form. So what is poetry? Well, it’s not prose. Generally poetry is more concise, shorter in length. And poetry should look and feel different than prose. So we can see side-by-side some of the differences between poetry and prose. Rules don’t usually apply to poetry, but if a piece of writing has at least one of these items you see on the left, it may be considered to be poetry. A poem may be as simple as a creative description or an intense image; or it can be a rhythmic rhyming song. Rhythm. There was a woman who lived in a shoe. We learn meter, or rhyme, from a young age. We all can understand the beat of a poem or song. Rhyme. It’s not as popular in poetry as it once was but rhyme definitely adds power to lines and poems. We naturally remember lines that rhyme over lines that do not. Poets love to create memorable lines, and rhyme helps us as a mnemonic device. It’s easy to spot poetry by the line breaks or line arrangement. If you look at this piece it’s obvious that the short lines, one word lines, and odd punctuation represent poetry. Repetition is quite important for making memorable lines in a poem. Look at these examples first from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, “Dream Within a Dream.” It would have been easy for him to write something else in that last line (like “on the beach while I weep”); but he draws attention and adds emotion by repeating the words, “while I weep, while I weep.” And the famous lines from Frost’s poem may be as commonly quoted as any modern poem. There’s a significance added by repeating the line, but we are forced to remember it by repeating it. “And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.” And finally here is an example of a poem that is just a quick observation or description; but the starkness of the image forces the reader to think about the meaning of the words. The strength of the image makes this more than just eight lines; it makes the reader write the backstory.

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