Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Poetry Analysis Guidelines

Here I'll post about a few things we went over during the first session. As I did mention...it was very lecture oriented, but thus is the beginning of a writing workshop. I go over the basic fundamentals of poetry associated with commonly used terminology, form, style and structure. Also, I briefly discussed the workshop texts I'll be using. I provided links for those (and a few other good poetry anthologies) on the right blog module. Jessi H. took great notes on my whibbly white board ones :).

With this first session, I went over the first half of the Indie poetry ppt presentation, guidelines and terminology for poetry analysis and provided a handout containing some Indie poetry.      

Processing Poetry: What to Consider During Analysis 
These are the guidelines we'll use when discussing the handout poems, and some things to think about when commenting on poetry we post.

  1. Read the poem several times through for its content:
    1. Initially, read the poem through without making any notes.
    2. The second time through, scan for general absorption and to look over text you might not have fully considered. Move on to the next step once you feel the poem begin to “sit” with you, and that you have an overall understanding of it.
    3. Make notes of provocative elements in each stanza, giving attention to details that seem to define the content’s meaning or purpose.

  1. Anywhere between the second or third time through, assess the structure of the poem:
    1. Consider its overall textual or visual design on the page.
i.  Is the poem a thin shape with short lines or does the text stretch horizontally across the page?
ii.Is the poem typographical or does it incorporate mixed media such as photographs or other elements of visual design?
    1. Note the number of stanzas presents in the poem; how many are there and does th author use them consistently? (see next)
    2. Examine the length of each stanza; is the author deliberate with the number of lines present in each stanza? Make note of them and also consider numbering each line which can be incredibly helpful for referencing things later.

  1. Attempt to identify the poem’s form and style:
    1. A poem can adhere to more than one form, exhibiting attributes that may indicate several categories. In this case, which form is implied and is there a form present that is expressed more clearly?
    2. Is it a lyrical poem? Lyrical poems will often emit a sense of emotional value and an outpouring introspective thoughts or feelings. It can appear abstract in element and may be built upon a set of complex images.
    3. Is it a narrative poem? Narrative poems often revolve around depicting small moments in time; they have a tendency to unwind slowly although they sometimes focus on an event that has occurred within a couple of seconds. Does the author consider one moment, or a series of events?
    4. Does the poem resemble a specific form like prose? Prose is characterized by its lack of line breaks and is not structured with a familiar use of stanza but instead appears as large blocks of text on the page. Prose is often void of complex visual design and feels conversational in nature. Though it may resemble a moderate essay of 1-4 pages, its content remains poetic and has aesthetic qualities such as: consonance, alliteration, provocative imagery or metaphor.
    5. Consider the author’s voice or persona:
i.  Is the tone of the poem somber, joyful, aloof?
ii.Does the poet’s style of writing mimic that of another writer?
iii.                      What would you consider, or who for that matter, the persona of the poem to be?
1.      The persona of a poem indicates the speaker or “who is doing the talking.” It often resembles a speaker in the first person point of view.
iv.                      Consider the speaker’s perspective or point of view; from what position do they speak and what message might they be trying to evoke?
  1. Mixed Media and Interdisciplinary attributes
    1. If the poem contains mixed media elements such as photographs or collage, it could be considered a visual poem.
    2. Did the poem contain a visual design that was constructed out of text? It could be considered a concrete poem.
    3. It could be difficult to differentiate between the two, but the consideration isn’t incredibly problematic since these forms of poetry are closely related; it is often debated which one truly came first—concrete poetry, or visual poetry. It’s occasionally questioned which form exists as a sub-genre.

    1. Consider also:
i.  The poem’s rhyme scheme: is there a significant pattern, or does the rhyme occur intermittently? The blue-print of a rhyme can be labeled by minor lettering, e.g., ababcdcdee.

  1. What stands out in the poem or what makes it unique?
    1. Feel free to identify unconventional attributes associated with style, form, structure and content.
    2. What makes a poem unique could be its most commodified element; it’s possible an author will approach a topic that has much notoriety but does it in an unusual way.

Shiny white-board notes
Feel free to comment if you have any questions or would like to add anything :) Also, check the syllabus for new assignments :D 

For next session: 
1) Look over Indie poetry handout #1 and take some notes for discussion posts. Feel free to follow the analysis guidelines or assess anything you feel might add to the discussion. 
2) Write 1-2 poems or look for work you already have that you are willing to post on the blog. You can title the posts under "Workshop 2," and your name, but for formatting purposes, we can always get to it later. 

Good luck!

1/3, poetry analysis
2/3, poetry analysis

3/3, poetry analysis

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