Poetry Analysis TP—FASTT
Poetry Terms to Know
Alliteration—the repetition of beginning consonant sounds.
Allusion—a reference to a mythological. literary. or historical person. place or thing.
Apostrophe—a form of personification in which the absent or dead are spoken to as if present and the inanimate as if animate.
Assonance—the repetition of vowel sounds in a series of words.
Blank Verse—iambic pentameter unrhymed.
Conceit—very elaborate comparisons between unlikely objects. The metaphysical poets such as John Donne were criticized for "yoking" together outrageous teams.
Consonance—the repetition of a consonant sound with a series of words to produce a harmonious effect.
Diction—word choice. Is the poet using formal or informal language? Does the poetry hinge on slang or a dialect? If so, what is the purpose?
Enjambment—the running-on of one line of poetry into another.
Free Verse—verse free of meter and, generally, rime. Depends on rhythmical units, repetition, and parallelism.
Hyperbole—a deliberate, extravagant and often outrageous exaggeration. It may be used for either serious or comic effect.
Iambic Pentameter—a line of ten syllables using the pattern of unstressed/stressed.
Imagery—the use of words to represent things, actions, or ideas by sensory description.
Irony—the discrepancy between appearance and reality.
Verbal irony is the result of a statement saying one thing while meaning the opposite. Its purpose is usually to criticize.
Situational irony occurs when a situation turns out differently from what one would normally expect, though often the twist is oddly appropriate.
Dramatic irony occurs when a character says or does something that has more or different meanings from what he thinks it means, though the audience and/or other characters do understand the full ramifications of the speech or action.
Metaphor—an implied comparison.
Metonymy—the name of one object for another with which it is closely associated.
Onomatopoeia—the use of words in which the sounds seem to resemble the sounds they describe.
Oxymoron—a form of paradox that combines a pair of contrary terms into a single expression. This combination usually serves the purpose of shocking the reader into awareness.
Paradox—a situation or action or feeling that appears to be contradictory but on inspection turns out to be true or at least to make sense.
Personification—a kind of metaphor that gives inanimate objects or abstract ideas human characteristics.
Rhyme—similarity of sounds, usually at the end of lines.
Perfect—identical sounds (dead/red)
Slant (Near, Off-)—sounds that are close but not identical (down/then)
Eye—words that look as if they sound alike (move/love)
Rime Scheme—the riming pattern found in a poem
Sarcasm—a type of irony, often bitter (or nasty) whose purpose is to injure or hurt.
Sonnet—a fixed form of fourteen lines of iambic pentameter
Italian (Petrarchan)—two-part structure consisting of an octave and sestet (determined by rime scheme)
English (Shakespearean)—four-part structure consisting of three quatrains and a couplet (determined by rime scheme)
Simile—a comparison of two different things or ideas through the use of the words like, as, or than.
Symbolism—the use of one object which stands for something else.
Synecdoche—a form of metaphor which substitutes a part for the whole
Understatement—the opposite of hyperbole. It is a kind of irony that deliberately represents something as being much less than it really is.
DETAILED SUMMARY FOR USING TPFASTT
Directions:Mark the poem as you read, and make notes on the following:
Ponder the title before reading the poem; predict what the poem may be "about."
Put the poem into your own words. Focus on one syntactical unit at a time, not necessarily on one line at a time, or write a sentence or two for each stanza of the poem.
Examine any and all poetic devices, focusing how such devices contribute to the meaning, the effect, or both, of a poem (What is important is not that you can identify poetic devices so much as you can explain how the devices enhance meaning and effect). Especially note anything that is repeated, either individual words or complete phrases. Anything said more than once may be crucial to interpretation.
Observe both the speaker’s and the poet’s attitude (tone). Diction, images, and details suggest the speaker’s attitude and contribute the meaning.
Rarely does a poet begin and end the poetic experience at the same place. As is true for most of us, the poet’s understanding of an experience is a gradual realization, and the poem is a reflection of that epiphany. Trace the changing attitudes of the speaker from the beginning to end, paying particular attention to the conclusion. To discover shifts, watch for the following:
key words: but, yet, however, though
punctuation: dashes, periods, colons, ellipsis
stanza and/or line divisions: changes in line or stanza length or both
irony: sometimes irony hides shifts
effect of structure on meaning, how the poem is "built"
changes in sound that may indicate changes in meaning
changes in diction: slang to formal language, for instance, or positive connotation to negative
NOTE: Mark all these items carefully on the copy.
Examine the title again, this time on an interpretive level.
In identifying theme, recognize the human experience, motivation, or condition suggested by the poem.