Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Sonnets, Week 2

Let’s write some poetry!

This Tuesday and last we’ve been writing sonnets!

old woman

A. Introduction to Sonnets:
Why on earth would you want to write a sonnet?

I’m so glad you asked! It’s easy to hear the word “sonnet” and the phrase “iambic pentameter” and be thoroughly unimpressed. So here’s a list of why sonnets are a fantastic poetry form:

       Why sonnets?

  1. Because Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote pages and pages of sonnets, all in this magical meter called iambic pentameter (which I’ll explain later). Shakespeare, who wrote bucket-loads of plays, knocking the socks off theater-goers in England in the 15-1600’s, is still entertaining us today even after his death (although I’ll keep my socks if-you-don’t-mind).
  2. Because writing sonnets will help us appreciate sonnets. There are countless sonnets out there to enjoy. They also connect us to poets of the past and help us recognize the nuances of their creativity.
  3. Sonnets are like a puzzle to solve. They are the poetry version of  a crossword puzzle or a word search, except that you get to express yourself as you try to find just the right words that fit.
  4. They’re fun! You’ll have to experience this one for yourself. So, are you ready to dive in?!

B. Sonnet Examples

Sonnet III
Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose unear’d womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime: 
So thou through windows of thine age shall see
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time.
But if thou live, remember’d not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.
~William Shakespeare

Sonnet VII
O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,—
Nature’s observatory—whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
’Mongst boughs pavillion’d, where the deer’s swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin’d,
Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.
    ~John Keats, 1795 – 1821

C. About Sonnets

Note to Beginners: I recommend starting with “What is a sonnet” below. The goal is fun exposure to poetry and a chance to practice writing. Once you’ve got that first set down, try “What is a sonnet (part 2).”

As I explain all the parts of a sonnet, look at the examples above to help you process.

What is a sonnet?

  1. Sonnet means “little song.”
  2. A sonnet has exactly 14 lines.
  3. For simplicity sake, we’ll divide our sonnet into four groups, or stanzas:
    1. Four lines
    2. Four lines
    3. Four lines and
    4. Two lines.
  4. The example below is actually in one big stanza, which is the way William Shakespeare wrote. (It’s actually called a Shakespearian Sonnet. Hmm, wonder where it got that name!) Since we’re beginners, breaking up the stanzas will make it easier.
  5. Sonnets have a rhyming scheme. Within each stanza…
    ~The 1st and 3rd lines rhyme and
    ~the 2nd and 4th rhyme.
    ~The last two lines in the whole sonnet also rhyme.
  6. This rhyme scheme is often expressed this way:
    1. ABAB
    2. CDCD
    3. EFEF
    4. GG

(Are you lost yet? If it’s really confusing, this Youtube video I found explains it pretty well.)

What is a sonnet (part 2)?

  1. Many sonnets are written in something called iambic pentameter.
  2. Iambic words have a short sound followed by a stressed one.
    For example:
    exIST, beLONG, preDICT, aWAY, aBOVE.
  3. A group of words can be iambic as well:
    the ONE, we PLAYED, you KNOW.
  4. From our example:
    “Rough WINDS do SHAKE…” and
    “SomeTIMES too HOT
  5. Pentameter means 10 syllables per line. Every single time.
  6. (What’s a syllable? A syllable is a whole sound within a word. The word “Cat” has one syllable. Apple has two: “Ap-ple”. “Pine-ap-ple” has three! You can usually tell how many syllables a word has by how many time your chin drops when you say it!)
  7. Look at this line and count to ten: Shall I com-pare thee to a sum-mer’s day?
  8. Try reading through the poem and counting the syllables! Each line has 10.


D. Write your sonnet
Do you feel ready to write your own sonnet? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try four lines and then take a break. You can pick it back up after the break and write the next one!

Pleased with your poem? Share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Concrete (Shape) Poem

Poem Study Eletelephony by Laura Elizabeth Richards

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Sonnets

Let’s write some poetry!

The next two Tuesdays we’ll be learning about sonnets!

edit summer pretty-woman-1509956_1920 (1)

A. Introduction to Sonnets:
Why on earth would you want to write a sonnet?

I’m so glad you asked! It’s easy to hear the word “sonnet” and the phrase “iambic pentameter” and be thoroughly unimpressed. So here’s a list of why sonnets are a fantastic poetry form:

       Why sonnets?

  1. Because Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote pages and pages of sonnets, all in this magical meter called iambic pentameter (which I’ll explain later). Shakespeare, who wrote bucket-loads of plays, knocking the socks off theater-goers in England in the 15-1600’s, is still entertaining us today even after his death (although I’ll keep my socks if-you-don’t-mind).
  2. Because writing sonnets will help us appreciate sonnets. There are countless sonnets out there to enjoy. They also connect us to poets of the past and help us recognize the nuances of their creativity.
  3. Sonnets are like a puzzle to solve. They are the poetry version of  a crossword puzzle or a word search, except that you get to express yourself as you try to find just the right words that fit.
  4. They’re fun! You’ll have to experience this one for yourself. So, are you ready to dive in?!

B. Sonnet Example

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed;
But they eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st:
    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
~William Shakespeare

C. About Sonnets

Note to Beginners: I recommend starting with “What is a sonnet” below. The goal is fun exposure to poetry and a chance to practice writing. Once you’ve got that first set down, try the next section!

As I explain all the parts of a sonnet, look at the example above to help you process.

What is a sonnet?

  1. Sonnet means “little song.”
  2. A sonnet has exactly 14 lines.
  3. For simplicity sake, we’ll divide our sonnet into four groups, or stanzas:
    1. Four lines
    2. Four lines
    3. Four lines and
    4. Two lines.
  4. The example below is actually in one big stanza, which is the way William Shakespeare wrote. (It’s actually called a Shakespearian Sonnet. Hmm, wonder where it got that name!) Since we’re beginners, breaking up the stanzas will make it easier.
  5. Sonnets have a rhyming scheme. Within each stanza…
    ~The 1st and 3rd lines rhyme and
    ~the 2nd and 4th rhyme.
    ~The last two lines in the whole sonnet also rhyme.
  6. This rhyme scheme is often expressed this way:
    1. ABAB
    2. CDCD
    3. EFEF
    4. GG

(Are you lost yet? If it’s really confusing, this Youtube video I found explains it pretty well.)

What is a sonnet (part 2)?

  1. Many sonnets are written in something called iambic pentameter.
  2. Iambic words have a short sound followed by a stressed one.
    For example:
    exIST, beLONG, preDICT, aWAY, aBOVE.
  3. A group of words can be iambic as well:
    the ONE, we PLAYED, you KNOW.
  4. From our example:
    “Rough WINDS do SHAKE…” and
    “SomeTIMES too HOT
  5. Pentameter means 10 syllables per line. Every single time.
  6. (What’s a syllable? A syllable is a whole sound within a word. The word “Cat” has one syllable. Apple has two: “Ap-ple”. “Pine-ap-ple” has three! You can usually tell how many syllables a word has by how many time your chin drops when you say it!)
  7. Look at this line and count to ten: Shall I com-pare thee to a sum-mer’s day?
  8. Try reading through the poem and counting the syllables! Each line has 10.


D. Write your sonnet
Do you feel ready to write your own sonnet? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try four lines and then take a break. You can pick it back up after the break and write the next one!

Pleased with your poem? Share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!


Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Five Senses Poem

Poem Study:  Summer in the South by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks, Week 2

Let’s write some poetry!

Edward_Lear_More_Nonsense_06
Edward Lear’s Young Lady in White

The next two Tuesdays we’ll put on our creative caps and write some Limericks!

A. Introduction to Limericks
What’s a limerick? They sound a little like this …

Let’s all try to write a new limerick.
I bet you can all learn it really quick!
Just try to engage
As you read down this page
And soon you’ll be writing them— pretty slick!

B. About Limericks
Here are some facts about limericks:

  1. A limerick has 5 lines.
  2. Limericks rhyme:
    The last words of lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme
    The last words of lines 3 and 4 rhyme
  3. They have set syllables:
    Lines 1, 2, and 5 have 7-9 syllables
    Lines 3 and 4 have 5-7 syllables
  4. Fun fact: There’s a town in Ireland named Limerick that probably has nothing to do with the poems
  5. They’re usually kind of silly and often start with “There once was a…”
  6. Edward Lear made them popular in his book: A Book of Nonsense

C. Limerick Examples

There was a young lady in white,
Who looked out at the depths of the night;
But the birds of the air,
Filled her heart with despair,
And oppressed that young lady in white.
~Edward Lear

There was an old person of Brill,
Who purchased a shirt with a frill;
But they said, ‘Don’t you wish,
You mayn’t look like a fish,
You obsequious ol person of Brill?’
~Edward Lear

Hickory dickory dock.
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
And down he run.
Hickory dickory dock.
    ~Unknown

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!–
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!”
~Edward Lear

D. Write your own Limerick
Feel ready to write your own limerick? Great! Follow the guidelines above and see what you can create! 

Happy with your poem? Remember to share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!

 

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Limerick fill-in-the-blank

Poem Study The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks

Let’s write some poetry!

Edward_Lear_More_Nonsense_03
Edward Lear’s illustration of his Young Person in Green

 

The next two Tuesdays we’ll put on our creative caps and write some Limericks!

A. Introduction to Limericks
What’s a limerick? They sound a little like this …

Let’s all try to write a new limerick.
I bet you can all learn it really quick!
Just try to engage
As you read down this page
And soon you’ll be writing them— pretty slick!

B. About Limericks
Here are some facts about limericks:

  1. A limerick has 5 lines.
  2. Limericks rhyme:
    The last words of lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme
    The last words of lines 3 and 4 rhyme
  3. They have set syllables:
    Lines 1, 2, and 5 have 7-9 syllables
    Lines 3 and 4 have 5-7 syllables
  4. Fun fact: There’s a town in Ireland named Limerick that probably has nothing to do with the poems
  5. They’re usually kind of silly and often start with “There once was a…”
  6. Edward Lear made them popular in his book: A Book of Nonsense

C. Limerick Examples

There was a young person in green,
Who seldom was fit to be seen;
She wore a long shawl,
Over bonnet and all,
Which enveloped that person in green.
    ~Edward Lear

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!–
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!”
~Edward Lear

Hickory dickory dock.
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
And down he run.
Hickory dickory dock.
    ~Unknown

There once was a kind man named Terry,
Who’s manner was jolly and merry.
He made lots of bread
Then sat down and said,
“Oh dear, I’ve forgotten to marry!”
~My children (with a little help)

D. Write your own Limerick
Feel ready to write your own limerick? Great! Follow the guidelines above and see what you can concoct! 

Happy with your poem? Remember to share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Analyzing Poems

Poem Study:  The Arrow and the Song by Henry W. Longfellow

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Ballads Week 2

Let’s write some poetry!

This Tuesday and last we’ve been learning about Ballads!

woman-2887280_1920 (1)

A. Introduction to Ballads
Ballads are regular, repetitive, and musical. Most songs you hear on the radio would be considered a ballad of one kind or another.

B. What is a Ballad?

  1. It often has four lines per group, or stanza. (The example below actually has 6 lines per stanza, and that’s okay too)
  2. The 1st and 3rd line in each stanza has four accents, or stresses
  3. The 2nd and 4th lines have either 3 stresses or 4 stresses, but it needs to be the same throughout the whole poem. (see example below)
  4. Ballads rhyme. Often the 1st and 3rd lines rhyme and the 2nd and 4th lines rhyme. (This is called an ABAB pattern). This is flexible, but again, the pattern needs to be the same throughout the whole poem!
  5. Repetition is important in a ballad. Sometimes a poet will make the last line of each stanza the same.
  6. Ballads often tell some kind of story, often a story about how someone died.
  7. Example of stresses: (Read the capital letters in the lines below a little louder than the other letters.)

The SUN was SHINing ON the SEA
See how there are 4 stresses?
SHINing with ALL its MIGHT
And then 3? 

C. Ballad Example

Bridal Ballad

The ring is on my hand,
And the wreath is on my brow;
Satins and jewels grand
Are all at my command,
And I am happy now.

And my lord he loves me well;
But, when first he breathed his vow,
I felt my bosom swell—
For the words rang as a knell,
And the voice seemed his who fell
In the battle down the dell,
And who is happy now.

But he spoke to re-assure me,
And he kissed my pallid brow,
While a reverie came o’er me,
And to the church-yard bore me,
And I sighed to him before me
(Thinking him dead D’Elormie),
“Oh, I am happy now!”

And thus the words were spoken,
And this the plighted vow;
And, though my faith be broken,
And, though my heart be broken,
Here is a ring, as token
That I am happy now!—
Behold the golden token
That proves me happy now!

Would God I could awaken!
For I dream I know not how,
And my soul is sorely shaken
Lest an evil step be taken,—
Lest the dead who is forsaken
May not be happy now.

~Edgar Allen Poe

D. Write your ballad!
Are you ready to write your ballad? Great! Come up with your story and write it in verse form, following the guidelines above. If you’re happy with it, remember to share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!


Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Acrostic Poem

Poem Study:  The Sun Has Set by Emily Jane Brontë, or Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Ballads

Let’s write some poetry!

The next two Tuesdays we’ll be learning about ballads!

walrus and the carpenter
Lewis Carroll’s Walrus and the Carpenter

A. Introduction to Ballads
I love ballads. When I learned about ballads for the first time, I had already been writing them for years without knowing it. They’re regular, repetitive, and musical. Most songs you hear on the radio would be considered a ballad of one kind or another.

     Fun fact: Did you know that rap is actually a contemporary ballad?

B. What is a Ballad?

  1. It often has four lines per group, or stanza. (The example below actually has 6 lines per stanza, and that’s okay too)
  2. The 1st and 3rd line in each stanza has four accents, or stresses
  3. The 2nd and 4th lines have either 3 stresses or 4 stresses, but it needs to be the same throughout the whole poem. (see example below)
  4. Ballads rhyme. Often the 1st and 3rd lines rhyme and the 2nd and 4th lines rhyme. (This is called an ABAB pattern). This is flexible, but again, the pattern needs to be the same throughout the whole poem!
  5. Repetition is important in a ballad. Sometimes a poet will make the last line of each stanza the same.
  6. Ballads often tell some kind of story, often a story about how someone died.
  7. Example of stresses: (Read the capital letters in the lines below a little louder than the other letters.)

The SUN was SHINing ON the SEA
See how there are 4 stresses?
SHINing with ALL its MIGHT
And then 3? 

C. Ballad Example

Walrus and the Carpenter
(lines 1-18), from
Through the Looking Glass

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright —
And this was odd, because it was
 The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done —
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun.”

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead —
There were no birds to fly.

~
Lewis Carroll 

D. Write your ballad!
Are you ready to write your ballad? Great! Come up with your story and write it in verse form, following the guidelines above. If you’re happy with it, remember to share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!


Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Alliteration Poem

Poem Study: Bear in There, by Shel Silverstein

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Odes, Week 2

Let’s write some poetry!

This week and last, we’ve been learning about Odes!

tuna in the market

A. Introduction to Odes:
An ode is a poem that celebrates or appreciates something or someone.

For example…
John Keats wrote an Ode to a Nightingale.
Pablo Neruda wrote an Ode To Sadness.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote an Ode about France.
There is an Ode to Silence, by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
William Wordsworth wrote an Ode to Duty.
There’s even an Ode To My Socks by 
Pablo Neruda, who’s known for writing odes to unusual subjects.

Here’s part of an ode written by Pablo Neruda about a large fish in the market:

Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market
(Translated by Robin Robertson)

“Surrounded
by the earth’s green froth
—these lettuces,
bunches of carrots—
only you
lived through
the sea’s truth, survived
the unknown, the
unfathomable
darkness, the depths
of the sea,
the great
abyss,
le grand abîme,
only you:
varnished
black-pitched
witness
to that deepest night.”


B. All About Odes

  1. An ode is about loving, appreciating, or celebrating someone or something
  2. An ode is full of emotion, strong images, and descriptive words
  3. An ode can rhyme
  4. An ode is usually quite serious but it can be silly if the ode is more of a joke

C. Reading Odes
As you read the following excerpts, ask yourself:
~What is the poet celebrating or admiring?
~Does the poem rhyme?
~Does it have strong imagery?

The (Brooklyn) Bridge
(excerpt)

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,
Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
Over the chained bay waters Liberty—

Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes
As apparitional as sails that cross
Some page of figures to be filed away;
—Till elevators drop us from our day…
~Hart Crane

The Fire of Driftwood
(excerpt) 
We sat within the farmhouse old,
Whose windows, looking o’er the bay,
Gave to the sea-breeze damp and cold,
An easy entrance, night and day.

Not far away we saw the port,
The strange, old-fashioned, silent town,
The lighthouse, the dismantled fort,
The wooden houses, quaint and brown.

We sat and talked until the night,
Descending, filled the little room;
Our faces faded from the sight,
Our voices only broke the gloom.
~Henry W. Longfellow

D. Writing An Ode
Your turn to write an ode!

~Think of something or someone that you love and want to celebrate!
~Try writing a short one to start (5 lines or so) and then grow it to 7 or 10 as you have more to say.
~If you’re a more experienced writer, see if you can make it 15-30 lines!
~If you like rhyming, go for it, but remember that not every ode has to rhyme.

E. Advanced: More About Odes:
For the purposes of this quick, fun, introduction, I’ve only talked about odes in general, but if you’re interested, look into the specific kinds of odes:
Pindaric
Horatian
Irregular

There are also different  ode parts:
The strophe
The antistrophe
The epode

Pleased with your ode? Share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Fill-in-the-blank poem

Poem Study: The Brook, by Alfred Lord Tennyson