This packet reviews:
- Writing poetry
- Analyzing poetry
- Reading poetry
- Free verse
Poetry makes full use of the range of sensory emotion afforded to us by language. This packet will attempt to help guide students in reading, writing, and analyzing some of the world's best-loved poetry (from the highly-structure haiku to the literal "free" verse).
Defining poetry is like grasping at the wind. Once you grasp it, it's no longer wind.
Merriam-Webster provides a technical definition of poetry, captured to the right. While the definition address the basics of poetry, the truth is that poetry is many things to many people:
This packet will brush the surface on how to read and analyze two very different types of poetry: free verse, which is pretty much what it sounds like, and haiku, which is a highly-structured form of Japanese poetry.
Though the packet only addresses two forms, you'll find that the methods used reading and analyzing for free verse and haiku are universal and interchangeable.
Free verse is a type of poetry that doesn't follow the "normal" pattern of poetry--it doesn't use rhyme, or a discernable rhythm--but it follows the ideas of using evocative language to inspire a specific feeling or emotion.
Though some consider free verse a somewhat lesser form of poetry--noted American poet Robert Frost compared writing free verse poetry with playing tennis without a net--there are some poets who use free verse to great effect. Chilean poet Pablo Neruda is an example of a poet who used free verse very effectively. Read the aptly-titled poem (translated from Spanish) below:
Poetry - by Pablo Neruda
And something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire, line 5
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing, line 10
and I suddenly saw
Even though Neruda's "Poetry" doesn't seem to have a structure on the surface, can you sense the other means that Neruda uses to convey meaning? Consider
Source: Memorial of Isla Negra [Memorial de Isla Negra] (1964), Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda [Houghton Mifflin, 1990, ISBN 0-395-54418-1] (p. 457)
The Japanese art form of haiku is a 3 line poem. Despite its seeming simplicity, a Japanese proverb says that haiku takes a moment to learn, but a lifetime to master.
This MS Powerpoint presentation on haiku gives examples of haiku as well as the history and examples of this poetic structure.