Poetry and Paragraphs: a 16-Week Course of Integrated Literature, Research, and Paragraph Writing for Middle School and Early High School

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Homework Day 1
Copy the above imformation about types of poetic feet into your notebook’s Notes section.

Homework Day 2
Find a copy of the poem “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” by William Shakespeare. Read the poem, and copy it into copywork, marking the iambic rhythm with X and /, as shown in the notes on iambic feet. The poem should have 14 lines with 5 iambic feet per line.
Homework Day 3
Paraphrase “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?”. After your paraphrase, list any instance of the following literary elements in the poem, just as you did in last week’s literary analysis.
Revise your paraphrase following these criteria:
My paraphrase has a title

My name and the date appear in the top RIGHT corner

My paraphrase has a topic sentence

My paraphrase contains at least 3 supporting details

My paraphrase contains at least 4 sentence if am 10, and one more for each additional year of age

My paraphrase is free of errors in spelling/apostrophe use

My paraphrase contains no more than 2 forms of “to be”

My paraphrase contains no errors in grammar

Continue revising until your poem meets all of the grading criteria.

Week 12: Those Feet Sure Have Rhythm

Show your homework to your teacher.
Remember way back near the beginning of the course, when we talked about free verse, blank verse, and rhymed verse? After all the poems we have studied, I hope you agree that all of these types of poetry have their good points. However, I know you like rhyme. When rhyme is done right, it just sounds so wonderful.
Despite the great sound effects rhyme lends to poetry, rhyme doesn’t always work. As you read in an earlier chapter, rhyme can lead poets away from their intended meaning, and sometimes, rhyme sounds silly and light when the poem needs to sound more serious. Fortunately, poets have a huge number of tools for creating sound effects. Even in Shakespeare’s time, poets and playwrights ended lines without any rhyme at all when doing so suited their purposes.
Now that you know about meter, you have the key to using one of the other great sound effect tools. Controlling meter is one more way to make a poem sound like…a poem.
When a poem is written with a regular meter, or even a regular number of syllables per line, readers should suspect that the poem follows a prescribed form, even if the poem doesn’t rhyme. One common form in English, at least for the past 500 years, is blank verse.
A blank verse poem can be any length, from one line on to infinity (but not beyond). But most lines in a blank verse poem consist of unrhymed iamic pentameter, with a few variations thrown in to keep the poem lively. In our example, You will note that every now and then, an irregular rhythm pops in because the poet uses something besides an iamb or throws in an extra unaccented beat at the end (this is called a feminine ending). Sometimes, poets add or drop a foot because a change in line length draws attention to important ideas (we talked about this trick way back when we looked at line breaks—it works for formal and informal poetry).
Below, I have scanned the meter of several lines of blank verse from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (in these lines, the speaker, Theseus, the villain of the play, considers how our imagination at times tricks us):
X / | X / | X /|X / | X /

More than cool reason ever comprehends

X / |X /| X /| X X / |X /

The lunatic, the lover and the poet 

X /| X / |X /|X / | X /

Are of imagination all compact:

X / | X /|X / |X / | X /

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold, 

X / | X / | X / |X / | X / | X /

That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,

X / | X X / | X /|X / |X /

Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:

X /|X / | X / | X / | X /

The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,

X / | X / | X X / | X / |X / X

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; (feminine iamb)
X / |X /|X /|X / |X /

And as imagination bodies forth 

X / |X / | X / | X / |X /

The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen 

X / |X / |X / | X / |X X /

Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing

X / |X /|X /|X / | X /

A local habitation and a name.

X / | X / |X / |X / X

Such tricks hath strong imagination.

HW: Blank verse to scan, analyze, and paraphrase

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