Just as when you read fiction (short stories), there are elements of poetry that can be applied to individual poems. With this lecture, I am hoping to

provide you with just an overview of basic points. In short, this should provide you a road map by which to guide you when reading these poems and all

others we will read and discuss during our poetry unit.
Here’s some vocabulary to know and be familiar with when reading and discussing these poems:
Tone: a poem’s attitude toward its theme
Speaker: the narrator, a character – not necessarily the author
Context: what’s going on
Setting: time and place
Language: word choice, diction
Imagery: the pictures created in our heads by the words we read on the page
Figurative language: language used to create imagery (types of figurative language are metaphors and similes)
Symbol: something that means or stands for something else (for example, love may be symbolized by red roses:
Sound: the way words play on the tongue Form: stanzas, sonnet, epic, free verse, limerick
Alliteration: when several words (often in the same line of poetry or prose) begin with the same consonant sound (for example, peck of pickled peppers)
Meter: the recurring pattern of stressed (accented or long) and unstressed (unaccented or short) syllables in a line of poetry
(A few more you might look up just to be familiar with them are onomatopoeia, iambic pentameter, iambic tetrameter, and terzarima)
Often when we read poetry, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details rather than seeing the beauty of the words on the pages. Try to see the beauty!

Consider the following things in your study of our poetry unit:
o • Primarily, what’s the difference between poetry and other genres of literature (fiction and drama)? The use of rhyme and meter, condensed

word play and focused meaning.
o • What is imagery?
o • How is meaning created in poetry? Through the use of imagery and word play.
o • Do metaphors make meaning?
o • Most modern poets throw caution to the wind regarding the use of rhyming words and meter.
What do you feel is the reason for this?
Something I want you to remember when studying poetry is imagery. What is it? What are some examples of it in the poems we read for this week? What are

some things you notice and can explain about the images in the poems we studied this week? Abstract or concrete? Tangible or intangible? How is meaning

created in a poem?
Here are some things to think about with the poems we read and studied this week. Remember – take notes when you read!
Simon Ortiz “My Father’s Song” – There is some great imagery in this poem – or at least I think there is! The loss of the author’s father is a big

deal; however, note how he uses one very small shared moment between father and son to focus our attention.
T.S. Eliot “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” – Okay, I absolutely LOVE this poem! Eliot employs the use of so much imagery in this poem. I would

suggest you read all the way through it once. Then, read through a second time, just making note of all the images. Remember how you identify images or

imagery: words that create pictures in your head. If you feel as though you are missing things in this when you read through it, don’t worry! I usually

find something new every time I read it over again! Remember…….don’t get bogged down. Try to see the beauty!
Billy Collins “Divorce” – Short, sweet and straight to the point! This one is all about metaphor and tone.
Langston Hughes “Harlem” – This poem is chock full of a bunch of similes that create one big metaphor. It’s beautiful! I believe it’s of those that’s

fairly simple and straight forward, but I do recommend you read about the Harlem Renaissance: http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/harlem-

renaissance http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_events_harlem.html https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/brief-guide-harlem-renaissance
W.H. Auden “Stop All The Clocks…..”– This one is beautiful in a very different way. It’s poignant and sad but mesmerizing. I’m fascinated by the

author’s use of imagery. Pay attention to his use of clocks and sound in this one!

Read the attached poetry (The love Song). Explain what you liked about it and what you didn’t like about it using element terms like figurative

language, imagery, tone, language, and / or symbolism at the very least